The side roads offer surprising painting subjects, the farmers a wave and a smile, the cattle a curious gaze, the mountains waves of blue, the hay rolls a study in ochre and greens. ~ Peggy Prugh, Jackson, WY.
The 8th Annual Driggs, Idaho Plein Air Art Festival takes place July 24 – August 4, 2019 at the Driggs City Center in downtown Driggs. If you’re familiar with Jackson Hole, you’re certain to be familiar with the Driggs-Victor community just to the west of Jackson, over Teton Pass. In fact, there’s a wave of people choosing to make the area their home. Spend just a day in the area and you’ll see why. Homes are beautiful and more affordable. It’s great for families. Gorgeous scenery and and public trails abound. Camping, biking, hiking, fishing, wildlife (I have beavers in my pond!), forests, the Teton River, wildflowers, open space, golfing, shopping, culture, restaurants…it’s all there. The sunsets are to die for, and the people are friendly.
With all that to offer, you know the Teton Valley area where Driggs and Victor lie is beginning to boom. Get here early. And get here for this summer’s great calendar of events drawing people from around the country, starting with the Driggs Plein Air Art Festival!
This year 75 artists will participate in the Driggs Plein Air Exhibition and Sale. The two-week art celebration includes family friendly free events, gallery spotlights, tent sales, artist receptions, quick draws, paint outs….and of course an Awards Ceremony. Judges for this year’s event are John Poon and Scott Christensen. Poon and participating artist Susan M. Rose are offering workshops, but at this writing those workshops are FULL.
Rose, based in Victor, is a Driggs Plein Air participant. A deep believer in plein air, she says the art form and its festivals are simply good for communities.
“There are beautiful areas all over Teton Valley, wonderful to paint,” says Rose. “People love watching artists paint, love to ask questions, and get so much out of seeing the landscapes they’re enjoying come to life under an artist’s brush. Such experiences are central to our understanding and valuation of place. Through plein air we support conservation and preservation; this festival brings great vibrancy to downtown Driggs and the surrounding area. Artists are drawn to this festival because they know there will be expert eyes on their work. It’s a huge honor and and benefit to have someone like Bill Sawczuk, Ned Mueller, Jim Wilcox, Christensen or Poon critique your work.”
I have seen people get emotional, inspired and awestruck. ~ Bill Rietscha
Artists come from around the country to take part; the event has grown that much. A selection of accomplished Jackson Hole area artists compete, too.
Jackson’s Peggy Prugh notes that she is drawn every year from Jackson Hole, over the mountain and through the valley to paint here, largely because of Downtown Driggs Association Executive Director Alison Brush’s efforts. Brush, she says, “invites and encourages, plans and executes, organizes and works to make Driggs Plein Air a tempting feast for the eye and the paint brush.” As good managers do, Brush has the event on her mind year round. As the day for Driggs Plein Air approaches, she puts her plans into action.
“And then there is the sirens’ call of the valley,” adds Prugh. “I most enjoy the early morning search for the perfect spot to stop my car, to set up my easel and to dodge the farm equipment weaving along the byways. The side roads offer surprising painting subjects, the farmers a wave and a smile, the cattle a curious gaze, the mountains waves of blue, the hay rolls a study in ochre and greens. There is a peacefulness in the Teton Valley that shuts out the clamor of the news and fractious world and gives pause for another close look at the part of life that counts the most.
Utah artist and mountain man culture enthusiast Stephen Henry agrees that it’s the landscape and history of Teton Valley that is so special. The site of the famed 1832 Mountain Man Rendezvous, Teton Valley is also known as “Pierre’s Hole,” named for Pierre Tivanitagon, Hudson Bay trader of Native American ancestry. He was killed in battle with Blackfoot Indians in 1827. John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is said to have discovered the area.
“It feels good to be there,” says Henry. People are incredible and work hard to showcase the festival artists, make it competitive. They go out of their way to attract collectors.”
Bill Rietscha, Chairman of the Board for the Downtown Driggs Association, notes that each artist produces unique and wonderful art pieces that capture the spirit of Teton Valley.
“Seeing the valley through the eyes of the artists has really enhanced my appreciation of this special place,” adds Rietscha. “From iconic scenery like the Tetons, to glimpses into our local culture like old barns, to unique views such as a mud puddle or a barley field, each artist interprets the magic of this valley in their own personal style. I love watching the people view the finished products. I have seen people get emotional, inspired and awestruck. The Driggs Plein Air is a wonderful experience for all who attend. We are proud to sponsor this event that certainly enriches a lot of lives.”
Brush, an experienced artist and arts non-profit development expert, agrees. Collectors and spectators consider this their favorite plein air festival, she says. It’s the singular Teton Valley landscape and local history inspiring plein air enthusiasts to return year after year.
When we take ourselves outdoors to paint, we see the land in a completely different way. That’s the mission of plein air: to help people view our precious landscapes in ways that spark imagination and action. There is simply no better way to import, for keeps, the message that interacting with nature via creative pursuit nourishes the soul for a lifetime.
The 8th Annual Driggs Plein Air Festival (On the West Side of the Tetons!) kicks off July 24th and runs through August 4, 2019. All are welcome. For event schedules, rules, award info, a COMPLETE LIST OF ARTISTS and more, visit https://www.driggspleinair.org . The Downtown Driggs Association is the parent organization of Driggs Plein Air! See you there!
The Jackson Hole Art Auction is actively seeking your fine Western art consignments. This important Western Art auction takes place September 13 & 14th, a finale to Jackson’s famed Fall Arts Festival. A host of important works by deceased and contemporary masters have already arrived. Last year’s auction brought in the second highest sales total to date: $8.4 million, and over 90% of lots sold. Fifteen new world auction records were set. Represented artists this year include Thomas Hart Benton, Bob Kuhn, Logan Maxwell Hagege, Robert Lougheed, Oscar E. Berninghaus, Albert Bierstadt, Tucker Smith and more.
Materials are provided and class convenes in the Photography, Video and Digital Arts Studio at the Center for the Arts. Create direct-exposure images by laying objects on photo paper under an enlarger, then developing the images. Learn concepts of exposure, composition, and the chemical process of developing in this fun, one-night class. The class’ date is almost here, so check for availablity. Cost: $35/members, $42/non-members. To register, click here.