Show Preview | Escalante Canyons Art Festival

Escalante, UT
Various locations, September 21-30

Lewis Williams, Just Leave It Alone, oil, 10 x 20.

Lewis Williams, Just Leave It Alone, oil, 10 x 20.

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

The 14th annual Escalante Canyons Art Festival opens this month in the heart of Utah’s Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. For six full days beginning on Friday, September 21, more than 100 artists from around the country gather to paint in downtown Escalante and throughout the nearby wilderness. On any given day, visitors can find the artists working throughout a three-county region extending from the Dixie National Forest to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. From red-rock country to alfalfa fields to mountain lakes, “there’s plenty to paint while here,” says plein-air event coordinator Ruthanne Oliver.

Billed as a working-artist festival, the event offers attendees an intimate peek into “all the ways artists make art,” says Oliver. Numerous artists’ demonstrations are scheduled throughout the week, including an all-women plein-air demonstration at Escalante Community Center on Friday, September 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. In addition to painting, visitors can view artists demonstrating collage mosaics, fiber art, printmaking, and more. “I think it’s exciting because there are a lot of ways to do plein-air,” says Oliver. “That’s the beauty of art. It can be anything you want it to be.”

The painters themselves work in a variety of styles and mediums, including oils, watercolors, pastels, and mixed media. This year’s participating artists include Lyn Boyer, Gail Denton, Bonnie Griffith, Jill Simkins, and R. Gregory Summers. As many as 50 artists are also expected to take part in a weeklong nocturne competition. And, on Tuesday, September 25, many of the artists gather for a special paint-out along historic Scenic Byway 12 to help raise funds for the Scenic Byway 12 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and beauty of the route. “We wanted the artists to be visible to passersby, and so many people travel the highway,” says Oliver. When drivers stop at the scenic overlooks, she adds, they can find artists painting the views.

As many as 150 plein-air works created during the event are available for sale at the community center beginning on Friday, September 28, including paintings completed during the nocturne competition and Highway 12 paint-out. The sale concludes with an awards ceremony and reception on Saturday at 6 p.m. Artworks shown here were created during last year’s event. —Kim Agricola

contact information
www.escalantecanyonsartfestival.org

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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