Over 100 artists from far and near were in town for the inaugural Plein Air Festival Aug. 1 through Aug. 3, painting Sylvania scenery and its historic buildings. Many artists could be found on Main Street in Sylvania capturing the likeness of downtown business establishments. Others found historic homes on Erie, Main, and Summit streets to paint. There were artists scattered throughout the Sylvania Historical Village while others chose to paint in Harroun Community Park, Olander Park, and Toledo Memorial Park. The Lathrop House, Harroun Barns, and Lourdes University attracted artists as did sites along 10 Mile Creek.
There were a total of 13 establishments and homeowners who offered purchase prizes in advance, which drew the attention of many artists.
Artists could paint as many scenes as they wished during the three days. Registered artists had the opportunity to turn in up to three pieces of art completed outdoors during the festival for jurying by internationally recognized watercolorist and Toledo DeVilbiss High School graduate, David Rankin. Over $9,500 in cash prizes were awarded during the Red Bird Art Walk on Aug. 4 to artists in professional, emerging, and youth categories.
The Best of Show award was earned by professional artist Mary Tallman of Jackson, Mich., for her painting of the Millron House, 5916 N. Main St. Her painting of Sylvania Area Federal Credit Union building and beyond, earned a second-place award. Professional artist Wendy Fleury of northern Kentucky was the first-place winner for her painting of the Millron House. Sylvania artist Larry Golba’s painting “Inside the Five” merited a third-place award.
Emerging artist Rex Russell of Perrysburg received first place for his painting of the Udell building entitled “US Post Office Retired.” Ty Zimmer’s artwork entitled “Green” was a second-place winner.
Youth winners included Hannah Dieter for her painting of the Millron House, 5916 N. Main St. Amanda Fansier received second place honors for “Madison Jaune,” and Isaiah Zuithoff took third place with “Eats & Arts,” a painting of Element 112 and Art Supply Depo.
According to one of the organizers, Dani Fuller, of Fuller Art House, the response from artists and the community has been outstanding. “Artists continue to tell me what a wonderful experience they had and how much they enjoyed learning about and being in Sylvania. They cannot wait to come back next year.”
Winning paintings and accepted art will be on display at Fuller Art House, Hudson Gallery, and Art Supply Depo through Aug. 16.
“Plein Air” is a French term that means “painting outdoors.” Plein Air can also refer to painting in an indoor location if desired as opposed to painting in an artist’s studio.
The practice goes back for centuries but was truly made an art form by the French Impressionists. Artists take portable easels and set up outside and paint in nature for a few hours at a time. There is both a competitive and educational element to the event.
The Sylvania Plein Air Festival is a Red Bird Sylvania production.
For more photos visit Seen in Sylvania on this website.