Art goes outdoors for new weeklong festival

July 15, 2014

By David Hayes

ArtEAST and the Issaquah Highlands Council have separately done their parts to support and enliven the local arts community. Now, the two groups have combined efforts to present the area’s first ever Art Outside festival.

The weeklong festival that started July 11. It combines five events from the two organizations and lasts through July 20. ArtEAST Executive Director Karen Abel said combining forces with the Issaquah Highlands Council for the festival is a match made in heaven.

“ArtEAST has always been about supporting artists getting involved with the community and the Highlands Council wanted a way to get the community involved with art at their annual festival,” Abel said.

One of the artists participating in the Plein Air Paint Out is Arlon Rosenoff, who painted this painting, ‘Sun dress.’

One of the artists participating in the Plein Air Paint Out is Arlon Rosenoff, who painted this painting, ‘Sun dress.’

The summer weather and Issaquah’s location played into accomplishing both groups’ goals.

“We are lucky to be blessed with incredible scenery that is exceptionally accessible,” Abel added.

The Art Outside festival kicked off last week at the July ArtWalk. It continues into artEAST’s annual Rookery Nest Project, which runs through July 18.

The Rookery Project, an annual event featuring art inspired by Washington’s indigenous great blue heron, was established to build community around art. This year’s Rookery Project invites local residents to help with the construction of large-scale nests woven from branches collected from the surrounding landscape.

Each weekday, environmental artist Karen White will lead a team representing an Issaquah group or organization from 6-9 p.m. at the Village Green Park, 26th Walk Northeast and Park Drive in the Issaquah Highlands. Participating teams include AtWork!, the Issaquah School District’s !MPACT youth program, the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and the Highlands Youth Advisory Board.

The Outdoor Festival continues with the Plein Air Festival July 18-20 at locations throughout Issaquah.

Plein air, or open-air painting, is a centuries old tradition of painting outdoors, on location, using colors and techniques to capture the effects of natural light. The Highlands Council has lined up about 50 participating outdoor painters from the Puget Sound region. The schedule of free demonstrations is:

  • July 18

— Plein Air Paint Out, Cougar Mountain Zoo, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

— “Plein Air Landscape Painting Critique,” 4:30 p.m.

— Artist reception and History of Plein Air Painting Lecture, 6 p.m.

  • July 19 — Plein Air Paint Out, Grand Ridge Plaza, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Prestigious Northwest artists will be outdoors painting all day, including Dorothy Bonneau, Betsy Dahlstrom, Phil Jensen, Diana Grant, Arlon Rosenoff and Carol Ross. In addition, artist Ricco diStefano will paint to music all day at the plaza next to Big Fish Grill. The day culminates with a free family-friendly concert at 4 p.m. by Levi Ware.

  • July 20 — Plein Air Paint Out, Issaquah and Issaquah Highlands, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (maps will be available of participating locations)

Finished paintings will be available for purchase during Highlands Day, July 20.

Among the festivities, artEAST will debut two new art exhibits, with two opening receptions:

  • “Northwest Landscapes — Grand,” 6:30-8 p.m. July 18 Blakely Hall, 2550 N.E. Park Drive. This exhibition features “grand works” of paintings larger than 16-by-20 inches.
  • “Northwest Landscapes — Intimate,” 6:30-8 p.m. July 19, artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N. The “intimate” works are paintings smaller than 16-by-20 inches.

Both exhibitions will be on display through Aug 27.

The weeklong festival culminates at Issaquah Highlands Day, from 3-7 p.m. July 20 at three locations — Blakely Hall, Village Green Park and the Issaquah Highlands.

This year’s annual, free festival adds an arts emphasis to familiar festival events. Residents are encouraged to express their own creativity by participating in hands-on art projects and in Nature on Parade, a costume parade inspired by favorite plants, animals and insects. In addition, there will be exhibitions, rides and inflatables, entertainment, vendor booths and food.

See a complete schedule of events of the Art Outside festival here.


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