Painting the River Towns En Plein Air

Sixty local and regional artists are taking their work outdoors to capture the beauty of the Susquehanna River and surrounding river towns as part of this year’s River Towns Plein Air. The purpose of painting en plein air, which is French for “in the open air,” is to capture a landscape or scene as it appears at that moment without the aid of reference pictures. Artists started painting on April 18 and have until April 27 to create up to four submissions. The 10-day painting period culminates in an art exhibit and sale which will open on April 29 at Studio 264 in the Marietta Community House.

Artists start with a blank canvas and the method of their choosing, whether it be oil, watercolor, charcoal, pastel or pencil. They can choose to work at any time of day or night anywhere along the designated area of the river or at any of the suggested painting sites, such as John Wright Restaurant, the cherry blossoms along Front Street in Marietta, the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, Washington Boro Community Park and Chickies Creek Day Use Area. The painting sites were selected with the Susquehanna River in mind, but artists are also encouraged to paint the historic architecture, street scenes, wildlife and people found in the area. The public is welcome to watch artists as they work from a safe and respectful distance. For a map of possible painting locations, click here.


The best time for the public to watch the artists as they work will be on April 23 during the Quick Draw Paint Out, where artists will be challenged to finish a painting within two hours. The event, which starts at 10 a.m., will take place within a few blocks of Downtown Marietta. After the artists are finished painting at noon, the art will immediately be displayed for award selection by juror Matt Allyn Chapman. The artwork will also be available for purchase. For more information on the Quick Draw, visit mariettaartalive.com/qd.

Starting on April 29, the public will be able to admire the artists’ creations from the 10-day painting period at Studio 264. The public will also be able to purchase artwork and vote for their favorite painting as part of the People’s Choice award. Over $4,000 in prizes will be awarded to winning artists. Landscape artist Lou Shellenberg will serve as the juror of awards for this year’s exhibit. Thirty percent of art sales will benefit the Marietta Community House and Rivertownes PA USA.

The art exhibit and sale will be open on April 29 from 5-9 p.m., April 30 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and May 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Studio 264 is located at 264 West Market Street, Marietta. For more information, visit mariettaartalive.com/rtpa.

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