Suffolk hosted artists from all over the city to put the unique landscape in perspective.
Suffolk is hosting its first Plein Air Festival this weekend, with events from 9th to 12th September. This event was presented by a partnership between the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, the Suffolk Art League and Suffolk Tourism.
The festival was planned for last year but has been postponed due to COVID-19. This gave the organizers the opportunity to advertise in Plein Air Magazine, which promoted artists across the country.
“Our overall goal is to educate the public about Plein Air and its unique art style,” said Sandy Waters, assistant exhibition director at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.
Plein Air is a special painting style where the artists go outside to paint the landscape in its natural light and capture the scene as they see it.
Around 38 artists from all over the east coast came to take part in the festival. Many were locals from Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina. Others came from further afield, including other parts of Virginia, Maryland and Orlando, Florida.
Betty Huang, artist and owner of the Studio B Art Gallery, traveled from Easton, Maryland. Having never been to Suffolk before, she looked forward to painting these new and beautiful landmarks and helping another group of plein air artists.
“It is wonderful that Suffolk is holding its first Plein Air event,” said Huang. “The event will bring a lot of art and culture to the city and hopefully more people will come to see the art at the Cultural Arts Center.”
The artists spent the weekend across town painting the unique natural and urban scenes that Suffolk has to offer. On Friday, many went to Johnson and Sons Seafood off the Dogwood Trail to paint the boats on Chuckatuck Creek. Others went to other locations, including Sandy Point on Pitchkettle Road, Decoy’s Marina, and the Fishing Station on Lake Cahoon, to conquer the Suffolk waterways.
You haven’t forgotten the scenery of downtown Suffolk as many artists have reserved this place for the Quick Draw competition during Taste of Suffolk on Saturday. The competition wasn’t just open to festival participants to spend two hours completing a plein air painting that was to be judged wet.
Festival attendees submitted two of their paintings, which will be on display at the BB&T and the Norfolk Foundation at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, for a $ 3,000 award. According to Waters, with nearly 80 paintings, the galleries will be the busiest you have ever seen.
Suffolk Center Marketing Manager D’Arcy Weiss said the community had come together to support the festival. Some private individuals donated as well as corporate sponsors.
“This is a good economic boost for the community,” said Waters. “As it grows, more will come and eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and sleep in our hotels. It could really make Suffolk a travel destination. “