Augusta Plein Air Art Festival

The 17th Annual Augusta Plein Air Art Festival brings artists and art-lovers to the great outdoors in Missouri Wine Country

By Brett Auten

From April 24 through May 5, the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce hosts the 17th Annual Augusta Plein Air Art Festival with over 100 artists from multiple states expected to attend.  Throughout the towns of Defiance, New Melle and Augusta artists will be doing their best to capture all that is scenic and inspiring.

For the art lovers, the Augusta Plein Air Art Festival is unique in that the public is invited to observe art being created right before their eyes each day at events hosted by local businesses and neighboring communities.

Being outdoors and having a leisurely day appreciating culture is a terrific way to start the spring and the festival is a unique opportunity to step behind the canvas and watch an artist’s eye in the moment and see something that maybe you see every day – or take for granted – evolve and unfold into a work of art.

Plein Air, meaning “in the open air,” is a form of art created outdoors. Plein Air goes back to 19th century Europe and it’s when an artist listens to their senses, paying particular attention to the light. Focusing on the scenery around them, they listen to the sounds, take in the atmosphere, and feel the climate, which inspires them to express their vision on canvas.

For the artists, the festival is open to all levels. The Augusta Plein Air Art Festival provides them with the opportunity to expand their markets, to enhance their skills with on-site workshops and to receive recognition for their art, all while in the company of other artists, several of whom are nationally recognized.

Lynn Buchheit is a committee member for the festival. Buchheit said that there are a record number of workshops available this year.

“We will have workshops for all levels and all mediums,” Buchheit said. “The workshops are open to the public. You do not have to be an invited artist to attend them.”

Picture the vineyards cascading with green foliage, the dogwoods in bloom, the lush colors of redbuds, lilacs, tulips and irises with a green backdrop, and tones of brown and green making up the quilted patterns of the fields viewed from the Missouri River bluff,  giving each moment of the day its own unique beauty. This is what the plein air artists will be expressing on canvas

Tammie Dickerson is an avid plein air painter, daily painter, Urban Sketcher and blogger who has attained numerous awards in regional shows. Dickerson lives just outside of Kansas City and has been attending the Augusta Plein Aire and Art Festival for nearly 15 years.

“The first time I came, a friend had to twist my arm,” Dickerson said. “It was rainy and the weather was miserable and we were painting in the back of a minivan with the back up, but I just fell in the love with it. There was something about being outside and we had a view where I had never seen such lush green. We don’t have these kinds of rolling hills on our side of the state. I could feel it. I was immersed in it. I was hooked. I felt so much more invigorating and was able to put those feelings down on the canvas.”

With a community-focused mantra and its dedicated committee behind it with an army of volunteers, the festival has grown as it nears 20 years.

“It is a fun experience for the artists,” Buchheit said. “So many, who dabble like me, are stuck working in our hiding hole. But it’s always fun to get outside.”

Dickerson echoed Buchheit’s sentiments. 

“I do a lot of plein aire festivals and Augusta is really good to the artists,” she said. “You don’t have to be a pro, just get out in the fresh air and paint.”

Unique events will be featured each day during the festival at a variety of locations from local wineries to historic sites, with specific days in surrounding towns. The Sip ‘N’ Paint events are perfect for those looking to have a little fun. Spectators can grab a beverage and work on a masterpiece of their own. The Sip ‘N” Paints will be at either Augusta Winery on April 27 or Kate’s Coffee on April 30.

Along with special events, there will be a Pop-Up Art Gallery at the Harmonie-Verein/American Legion Hall for viewing art and purchases daily.

Art completed during the Annual Augusta Plein Air Art Festival will be on display and available for sale each day of the festival at the Harmonie-Verein/American Legion Hall in Augusta as well as on location at each event. Judging and awards and the Final Sale will take place May 5 at 11 a.m. at Mount Pleasant Estates and on that final day, a Youth Paint Out will take place at 1 p.m. 

However you slice it, it’s a great chance to escape to Missouri Wine Country where not only will you watch art being created but also have the chance to purchase the art straight from the easel.  Whether you are a serious buyer or someone who just appreciates a swath of colors or a naturalistic scene, it’s unique in that you get to know the artists all while enjoying small town hospitality and soaking in the beauty of spring in Missouri.

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CUTLINE: Submitted photos From April 24 through May 5, the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce hosts the 17th Annual Augusta Plein Air Art Festival with over 100 artists from multiple states expected to attend.