Plein Air Smokies 2023 scheduled for Sept. 24-30

April 26, 2023

Plein Air Smokies 2023 logo

In celebration of National Park Week, Friends of the Smokies announced the selection of 20 nationally-acclaimed artists for the 2023 ‘Plein Air Smokies.

Christine Lashley paints in Cades Cove during Plein Air in the Smokies 2022
Christine Lashley paints in Cades Cove during Plein Air in the Smokies 2022.

The outdoor art event will, once again, provide a unique and moving opportunity for visitors to experience the creation of one-of-a-kind art through in-park painting demonstrations at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) September 24-30, 2023.  

Invited Artists for 2023

The 2023 Plein Air Smokies artists are: Marc Anderson, Suzie Baker, John Caggiano, Henry Coe, Vlad Duchev, John Eiseman, Bill Farnsworth, Martin Geiger, John Guernsey, Charlie Hunter, Shelby Keefe, Christine Lashley, Chuck Marshall, Charles Newman, Kathie Odom, Karen Philpott, Richard Sneary, Richie Vios, Stephen Wysocki and Jing Zhao.

Artists will be located throughout the national park painting ‘en plein air,’ which is the practice of painting outdoors.

Friends of the Smokies invites the public to learn more about the artists and the event at PleinAirSmokies.org. The website will be continually updated with details about the event and information about the artists.

Capturing and sharing the beauty of the Smokies

Dana Soehn, the new president and CEO of Friends of the Smokies, said, “This event celebrates the longstanding tradition of artists capturing and sharing the beauty of the Smokies in a way that meaningfully connects people to this special place.” 

The one-of-a-kind paintings will be available for purchase at the ticketed Collector’s Soiree, September 29 and at the public sale September 30.

Funds raised support GSMNP

Proceeds benefit Friends of the Smokies, the official nonprofit philanthropic partner of GSMNP, to support the park’s efforts to preserve and maintain the park.

Neal Huges paints at Plein Air in the Smokies 2022
Neal Huges paints at Elkmont during Plein Air in the Smokies 2022. The 20 invited artists will paint in Elkmont during Plein Air Smokies 2023, which will be open to public viewing.

“We at Friends of the Smokies take great pride in being stewards for this remarkable park that we call home to help ensure a healthy future for our park for decades to come,” said Soehn, who previously worked at GSMNP for more than 30 years.

This year, acclaimed artist, Marc Hanson, will judge the competition.  A naturalist at heart, Hanson has won many awards for his talents, including several Plein Air awards. He has shown his work in galleries and museums nationally and internationally since the early 1980s. Marc currently teaches landscape painting workshops across the country.

New student art event

New to this year’s Plein Air Smokies, a limited number of selected students from two area schools will participate in the event through a pilot education program.

The middle and high school students, selected by their schools, will spend a day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park creating their own artwork with instruction from plein air artists on techniques unique to outdoor painting.

For more information about the event, visit Plein Air Smokies. 

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