This year, Kilby is set to see its biggest Plein Air Festival yet.
On Friday, Aug. 16, painters from all across the Lower Mainland will descend on the historic site to set up their easels for a weekend of art.
So far, according to museum director Jo-Anne Leon, 25 artists have already signed up for the weekend event. (She expects more may sign up before the Aug. 10 closing date.)
“These artists that have already registered are from all over the Lower Mainland; some from North Vancouver, other local ones from around here,” she said.
“But the fun thing about this event, it really isn’t about how good you are. It’s open to all ages and all skill levels.”
The art festival has been happening each year at the Kilby Historic Site since 2014. Artists arrive on the Friday to set up their easels and begin working on their paintings. The artists are stationed throughout the heritage property throughout the weekend to focus on their art. Sunday finishes in a 3 p.m. awards ceremony.
“We have a five-acre place, so the grounds include lots of heritage gardens, and farm animals, and buildings,” Leon said. “They’ll pick a vista that they want to paint, and they may paint two or three different scenes over the course of the days.”
“It’s fun to watch them,” she continued. “It’s probably one of my favourite events here at the site.”
The popularity of the event has continued over the years likely because of its rarity for artists, Leon said. There are not many Plein Air events in the Lower Mainland, so that attracts some artists who want to paint out in the open air.
But it’s also popular for visitors too.
“It’s so neat to see all these artists with their easel and these bags of brushes and paint all over the floor,” Leon said. “It’s a beautiful event.
“And the artists are so fun, they always like talking with the visitors,” she added. “I’ve seen a lot of people be inspired to paint from this painting festival. It’s almost like the artists really encourage painting and getting them set up.”
The Plein Air Festival will be going on from Friday, Aug. 16 to Sunday, Aug. 18. The festival will finish with the 3 p.m. awards ceremony, which will see painters honoured for the work they produced over the weekend. Awards will be given out by judges, as well as a People’s Choice award from museum-goers.
After the awards, people can purchase their favourite paintings from the weekend. All proceeds from painting purchases will go to support the Fraser Heritage Society, which runs the Kilby Historic Site.
Anyone interested in participating in the Plein Air Festival is asked to call the Kilby Historic Site at 604-796-9576 or to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is $20, and closes Aug. 10.