Village of Shorewood Seeks Artists for Plein Air Art Festival

June 13, 2013

The Village of Shorewood is pleased to announce its first annual plein air festival, “Plein Art Shorewood,” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 19-21. This exciting, interactive juried event will feature 50 professional artists who will paint outdoors throughout the Shorewood community. Paintings created during this 3-day weekend will then be offered for sale at a Saturday night, September 21, reception and auction at the Village Center/Shorewood Public Library (3920 N. Murray Ave.).

“Plein Air Shorewood” is open to any professional painter, and an application can be downloaded at with a due date of July 15. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by August 1.

“Plein air” means “painting outside.” Shorewood is fortunate to offer an extensive selection of outdoor venues to paint – from private homes to businesses to our schools, handsome parks and lakefront. The State of Wisconsin is the leader with the most number of plein art events taking place each year, and Shorewood proudly joins the ranks of other plein art events held statewide.

According to James Hempel, a Shorewood resident and professional plein air artist who will be participating in the event: “As artists, we will be exploring the entire landscape of Shorewood, seeking to capture the most beautiful, interesting and evocative views, from the stony beaches of Lake Michigan to neighborhoods of bungalows and quaint storefronts, to the wooded river park land. Because we create our work on the spot, out in public, I believe plein air is the perfect bridge to bring art to the community.”

Wendie Thompson, President of the Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Association, elaborates: “I believe that plein air is one place that has the ability to make a major impact on the arts in Milwaukee. Research indicates that most people feel intimidated when entering an art gallery or museum – but not so when they happen upon an artist who is painting outdoors. They see and enjoy the process and while chatting with the artist, all of the intimidation is lifted. And they learn that it could take 15 years of study to create a 2-hour painting!”

“Plein Air Shorewood” is being presented by Shorewood’s Public Art Committee. Founded in 2007, the committee is comprised of dedicated volunteers with extensive backgrounds in art, architecture and/or urban planning. The committee first undertook the task of selecting and coordinating the Village’s first major public art acquisition, “Spillover II,” by internationally known artist Jaume Plensa. “Spillover II” was permanently installed and dedicated in September 2010 at Shorewood’s Atwater Park (Lake Dr. and Capitol Dr.). This year’s “Plein Air Shorewood” coincides with the third anniversary of the Plensa sculpture acquisition.

In addition, the Public Art Committee is seeking sponsors for the event. A variety of sponsorship packages are offered, including underwriting for artists’ receptions and awards, musical entertainment and the end-of-event gala. Volunteers are also being solicited to help during the event weekend – and all inquiries can be made to

Each day of the event will include opportunities to meet and greet the artists as they paint outdoors, as well as during after-hours social settings. For example, on Thursday night, residents and guests can meet the artists at a dinner reception at Hubbard Park Lodge along the Milwaukee River in Shorewood. And on Friday night, artists will participate in a Happy Hour social at one of Shorewood’s restaurants (location to be announced). Details about the Saturday night reception and auction at the Village Center/Shorewood Public Library are currently being developed/finalized.

Wendie Thompson adds that “people who may never have considered purchasing original art all of a sudden enjoy the hunt of a plein air acquisition. The communities that host these events develop a collected history of their community in paint. These works travel to other areas and are beautiful reminders of the place they were made!”

Shorewood is thrilled to offer this unique painting exhibition in September 2013, and encourages local professional painters to apply by July 15. Corporate sponsors and volunteers are also needed. There are a myriad of opportunities for anyone interested in the arts, especially public art, to participate and promote plein air throughout the state.

The Shorewood Foundation is the Major Presenting Sponsor of “Plein Air Shorewood.” Since 1964, the Shorewood Foundation, a 501 (c)3 charitable organization, has provided a way for Shorewood residents and friends to support the community’s institutions, facilities and services with their donations. Additional support is being provided by a variety of community organizations and groups including the Shorewood Marketing Program, the Shorewood Woman’s Club, the Shorewood Business Improvement District and more.

For more information about "Plein Air Shorewood," e-mail or visit

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