Twenty-four invited artists will paint in Zion Canyon during the week of Nov. 7–13 to celebrate the role art played in the creation of the park. This year’s Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational is being billed as the Centennial Edition, celebrating the influence of original art in the founding of the National Park Service 100 years ago.
Among this year’s selected artists are longstanding favorites, a few who have been away for a while, and six artists brand-new to the event. There are 16 oil painters, three watercolor artists, two acrylic artists, 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 new painting, “Waters of Evening,” is featured in this year’s advertising and promotional materials.
As part of this year’s Centennial Edition of the Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational, each artist is invited to submit one studio painting of a national park other than Zion National Park. Those paintings, along with one other studio painting by each artist, hang in the Zion Human History Museum through the end of the second week in November. The studio paintings are on sale as soon as they are hung. The plein air paintings produced during the event will go on sale the evening of Nov. 11 at an invitation-only preview event for art buyers. Then, beginning Nov. 12 at 9 a.m., the show opens to the public and remains open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 28.
Keeping with tradition, each artist will give a free one-hour painting demonstration during the week on the patio of the Zion Human History Museum. Visitors may also interact with artists throughout the week as they paint at various locations in the canyon.
Saturday of the Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational 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 on the lawn of the Zion Lodge. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., visitors can watch each of the artists paint in fairly close proximity, and if their heart settles on a particular painting, they can put their 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 goes to the highest bidder on the bid sheet.
This year’s Centennial Edition of the Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational will also feature a special slate of free lectures in the evenings of Nov. 8–10 as well as a Nov. 11 morning presentation by Zion Canyon Field Institute director Michael Plyler on the role of art in the creation of the National Parks.