Show Preview | Zion Plein Air Invitational

Zion National Park, UT
Zion Human History Museum, November 11-12

Suze Woolf, Kinesava, watercolor, 11 x 15.

Suze Woolf, Kinesava, watercolor, 11 x 15.

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Zion National Park is a vast repository of treasured natural resources, beauty, and wildlife, from its coral-pink canyons, Fremont cottonwoods, and emerald ponds to scenic tributaries, natural springs, and thriving herds of bighorn sheep. Efforts to share and preserve this spectacular wilderness area are at the heart of the ninth annual Zion Plein Air Invitational. Beginning Monday, November 6, two dozen nationally recognized landscape painters gather in the park for the event, including John D. Cogan, Bill Cramer, Mary Jabens, Aaron Schuerr, and Paula Swain. Over the next four days, the artists paint among the canyons, capturing Zion’s splendor in their signature styles and mediums. More than 150 paintings—including fresh plein-air pieces and two studio works from each artist—are on sale at the Human History Museum beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 11, through 2 p.m. on Sunday.

During the week, each artist completes one painting demonstration, and thus park visitors can observe up to six demonstrations on any given day. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, all 24 artists gather for a final paint-out at Zion Lodge, where they portray panoramic views of the canyon from the front lawn. Those works are sold off the easel, and within the lodge, the artists’ 24 demonstration pieces are up for bid in a silent auction.

In years past, as the park’s nonprofit partners, the Zion Natural History Foundation and Zion National Park Foundation have sponsored the invitational. Recently the two groups merged to form a single entity called the Zion Forever Project. “Although the name is different, the mission remains the same,” says executive director Lyman Hafen. “The Forever Project allows people to understand immediately what we stand for. We’re here to support the park and to create a margin of excellence that will ensure its future.”

Proceeds from artwork sales help fund initiatives in the park, including educational programs for youth. Such funding has become especially vital in recent years. Visitor traffic in Zion has increased by 60 percent since 2010, while federal funding has decreased, notes Hafen. “The Forever Project is here to help make up that difference,” he says. “The plein-air invitational has become the park’s signature annual event, and it’s the hub of our fundraising efforts.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
435.772.3264
www.zionpark.org

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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