If you see artists setting up easels on Reid Ave. you’ll know that it’s plein air season in Port St Joe.
Plein air is a French term meaning painting in open air. And that’s why you’ll see artists everywhere, capturing our coast, salt marshes, marina, streets and neighborhoods in oils, water colors, and pastels.
Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, America’s Great Paint-out, runs from May 3-12, in eight communities including Carabelle, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Apalachicola, Indian Pass, Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach.
Now in its 14th year, Forgotten Coast en Plein Air is among the world's most prestigious plein air events.
Our recent disasters have made the 2019 Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event significant, possibly more now than ever in its history.
"This is an important time to document what has happened and how our communities are recovering," said Joe Taylor, President of the Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition. While some venues have been adjusted, there will be many new vista's to paint.
"Artists always find beauty, even in the most interesting and challenging situations," Taylor added. “The event will provide opportunities to showcase the resilience and reborn beauty of the region.”
“One role of plein air painting is to record what is here now so that when things change—and they always do—we can look at this incredible body of art and remember how this area used to look. Normally, change happens slowly, but Hurricane Michael and the Eastpoint fire changed the coast radically,” said Cheryl Ploegstra, Event Co-Chair for Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition.
"As a part of our event this year we will take an opportunity to look back fondly via art. Our exhibit Unforgettable Forgotten Coast: Plein Air Remembers, will showcase paintings of our area by current and past invited artists."
The exhibit will hang at The Joe Center for the Arts in Port St. Joe from May 3-11, with a free reception at 6:30 p.m. ET May 9.
This year’s event will focus on the natural environment, specifically on recovery. Acclaimed Emerald Coast artist, Joan Vienot, came to the Forgotten Coast several times for an extended residency and will be presenting her work in an exhibit called Hope: Recovery and the Natural Environment.
The art Joan created during her residency will be exhibited at the Cal Allen Coastal Fine Art Gallery & Studio in Carrabelle from May 3-9. Ms. Vienot will present her work with a free reception at 6:30 p.m. ET on May 7.
Nationally recognized art appraiser, Leslie Hammond, will be this year’s judge. She will judge the QuickDraw paint-out and lecture on what judges look for when evaluating art. The Quickdraw will be held on St. George Island on May 4, with an evening reception at The Plantation.
The invitational features 20 internationally acclaimed artists, as well as, four "Florida's Finest en Plein Air" artists.
New artists coming to the Forgotten Coast this year are Poppy Balser (Canada), Ginny Fergus, Trey Finney, Michelle Held, Terry Miura, Stewart White, and last year’s Quickdraw winner, Kendall Portis.
Seven exhibits, a Collectors' Forum, distinguished guest speakers, lunch-and-learns, and painting stations where you can sign up to experience painting yourself, are all in the making!
Highlights of the event include an Opening Luncheon on Friday as well as the QuickDraw paint-out on St. George Island, Plein Church on the Apalachicola riverfront on Sunday, Student Art day in Port St. Joe on Wednesday, nocturne (night) painting on Wednesday in downtown Apalachicola and Port St. Joe, and big days at the Wetroom in the Ft. Coombs Armory in Apalachicola on Saturday and Sunday.
There will be artists painting throughout the area, daily demonstrations and location art receptions in St. George Island (Saturday), Cape San Blas (Sunday), Eastpoint (Monday), Carabelle (Tuesday), and Mexico Beach (Thursday).
All of these events are free and open to the public. For details, please visit the www.forgottencoastenpleinair.com website.
Immediately after Forgotten Coast en Plein Air closes, the Plein Air South artists’ convention begins, running from May 12-16.
Plein Air South brings another 160 artists to the area, and will leave behind a plein air exhibit at The Joe Center for the Arts in Port St. Joe.