Art in the Open: Plein Air Paintings from Wexford, Ireland
Culturally, Wexford, Ireland is perhaps best known for its international opera festival and in Maryland perhaps, for its historic maritime link as the birthplace of Commodore John Barry, sometimes described as ‘Father of the American Navy’. Art in the Open Plein Air Painting Festival has become one of Wexford’s main arts festivals since it was begun 6 years ago. Now, it has become a nine-day event, bringing an international group of 180 artists to paint in scenic locations throughout Ireland’s south-east. The organizers’ aim has been to spread awareness of the practice and pleasure of painting outdoors and in seeking a model for the event, they were excited to find that Wexford’s sister city of Annapolis had a similar event, ‘Paint Annapolis’ and a vibrant organisationz in the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters’ Association from which to draw inspiration. Through contact with Mayor Cohen’s office, the group were able to approach MAPAPA Chairperson, David Diaz who has been a generous mentor and regular visitor to Art in the Open. Increasingly, experienced artists from all over the USA and Europe have traveled to Wexford to take part. In August, the Wexford climate is temperate and some artists combine their trip with a visit to relatives or a tour of Ireland.
Wexford’s countryside is rolling and gentle with summer hedgerows and small farms, some historic 18th century homes and some castles dating to the Norman invasion in 12th century. Being surrounded by coastline, there are fishing villages, beaches and cliffs. These are some of the places Art in the Open artists like to visit and try to record in their paintings. The festival culminates in a large exhibition with awards. The overall (Mayoral Award) winner this year was Valerie Craig of Pennsylvania. The organizers are delighted to share with the people of Annapolis this selection of 41 paintings from this year’s full Art in the Open exhibition and grateful to Maryland Hall for hosting it. We hope it conveys an impression of Wexford to those who have never visited and that it makes a further contribution to the friendship and regard between our two communities.
Tony Robinson, Chair, Art in the Open.
For further information on Art in the Open festival: www.artintheopen.org