Zion Plein Air Artists Selected for 2016 Centennial Edition

Schedule of Plein Air Events | 2016 Studio Paintings Exhibit | Featured Artist: John Cogan

Planning and preparations for the annual Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational have become a year-round process in the offices of Zion Natural History Association. The artist selection committee, made up of 15 representatives of ZNHA, Zion National Park, and the local and regional art community, recently completed the artist selection process for this year’s event. The result of their efforts was the naming of 24 excellent artists who will paint in Zion Canyon during the week of November 7-13, 2016, celebrating the role art played in the creation of Zion National Park, and this year, the added celebration of the influence of original art in the founding of the National Park Service one hundred years ago.

Among this year’s selected artists are several long-standing favorites, a few who have been away for a while, as well as six brand new artists to the event. There are 16 oil painters on this year’s slate, three watercolor artists, two who work in acrylic, and three pastel artists. This year’s featured artist, selected as last year’s Foundation Award Winner, is John Cogan of Farmington, New Mexico. Cogan’s painting, “Waters of Evening” is being used in all of this year’s promotional materials, including national ads appearing in major art publications.

As part of this year’s “Centennial Edition” of Plein Air, each artist is invited to submit one studio painting of a national park other than Zion. Those paintings, along with one other studio painting by each artist, will hang in the Zion Human History Museum beginning September 14th through the end of the Plein Air week. The studio paintings are on sale as soon as they are hung. The plein air paintings produced during Plein Air Week will go on sale Friday evening, November 11, at an invitation only preview event for art buyers. Then, beginning Saturday morning at 9 am, the show opens to the public and will remain open, 9 am to 5 pm through November 28, 2016.

As has become tradition, each artist will give a free one-hour painting demonstration during the week on the patio of the Zion Human History Museum. You may also interact with artists throughout the week as they paint at various locations in the canyon.

Saturday of Plein Air Week has become one of the most fascinating days of the year in the park as all 24 artists participate in a Paint Out and Sale which is held up-canyon on the lawn of the Zion Lodge. Between 11 am and 2 pm, you can watch each of the artists paint in fairly close proximity and if your heart settles on a particular painting, you can put your name on it and claim it for purchase, even before it is completed. In the meantime, a silent auction of the paintings produced for the demonstrations during the week will be ongoing in the Lodge Auditorium. When the bell rings, each painting will go to the highest bidder on the bid sheet.

This year’s Centennial Edition of Plein Air will also feature a special slate of free lectures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, as well as a presentation by Zion Canyon Field Institute Director Michael Plyler on the role of art in the creation of the National Parks.

If you can only spend a few days, or even one day, in Zion National Park this year, we suggest you make plans for that visit in early November when the air is inspiringly crisp, the leaves are golden, and the artists are at work.

For a schedule of events, visit https://zionpark.org/admin/about/zion-national-park-plein-air-art-invitational/.

Photo: John Cogan at Saturday paint out by Karolee Dennett