Heritage Days was picture perfect in downtown and on the riverfront..
The Art Center of Burlington held its first ‘Plein Air Painting’ event during Burlington Heritage Days this year. Officially “en plein air,” French for “outdoors” or “in the fresh air,” is the act of… you guessed it… painting outdoors.
Given the beautiful time of year, the endless scope for creativity and imagination around town and the rich history of the Burlington/West Burlington area, the event fit in perfectly with the Heritage Days festivities.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, artists picked their sources of inspiration and set to work, capturing the crooked curves of Snake Alley, the winding Mississippi River, downtown architecture and other scenic streets and sights.
Jane Shank, an artist from Wayland, was one of this year’s participants.
Shank, who was working on an oil and cold wax painting of Snake Alley, has done three other plein air painting events this summer. She heard about the event through other Southeast Iowa artists she keeps in touch with, a group that keeps each other informed about such events.
“Plein air events, and others like it, are one of the ways we have fun and improve our skills,” says Shank.
There were nine participants this year, submitting paintings to be judged at the Heritage Days event on Saturday. Prizes were awarded for ‘best of show’ (Rebecca Vorkapich), second place (Susan Reinier) and third place (John Preston).
During the judging, a “Quick Paint” competition took place, with artists displaying their talents in real time around the event grounds, giving Heritage Days goers a chance to see them in action.
“This is our first year doing this, and we’re excited about the artist interest and participation,” said Heidi Merrick, artist market manager at the Art Center of Burlington.
All of the artwork was for sale during the Heritage Days event. The paintings uniquely showcased the beauty of Greater Burlington, making them little pieces of heritage themselves. Featured were the Des Moines County Heritage Center Museum, the Burlington depot, The Great River Bridge, and of course, Snake Alley, among others.
“What a beautiful community that we live in.” — The Art Center of Burlington.
The paintings were only a small part of the two days of activities associated with the Heritage Days Festival.
The day began with music and beer with breakfast. The also was a pet beauty contest, a big screen to watch the Hawkeyes play the Cylcones and more musical fun.
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