Plein Air Smokies

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Presented by:

September 21-28, 2024

‘Plein Air Smokies,’ will once again bring 20 nationally acclaimed artists to paint “en plein air” (outdoors) throughout the national park. Artists will be positioned across the park throughout the week, with locations such as Cades Cove on Monday and Elkmont on Tuesday and Wednesday.

These one-of-a-kind paintings will be available for sale at a Collectors Soirée on Sept. 27th in Downtown Knoxville at Regas Square Events. Proceeds benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Whether you’re a first-time art buyer or a long-time collector, this event has something for every Smokies enthusiast.

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2024 Plein Air Smokies Artists

For the 2024 event, artists were selected through a juror process. Over 100 artists across the country applied and 18 were selected to join last year’s Best in Show and Quick Draw winners, for a total of 20 participating artists.

Plein Air in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

National Parks provide an inspiring place for artists to paint ‘en plein air.’ Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), located in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, is “world-renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.” It is America’s most-visited national park. Weather and light composition can change rapidly in Great Smoky Mountains National Park so painting outdoors will be a challenge for the artists. Join us for the adventure as these world-renowned Plein Air artists travel to our beloved park to capture the energy and soul of the Smokies!

Proceeds Benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Proceeds from the event will help fund several projects and programs that support the park’s efforts to preserve the historic and natural resources of the Smokies while providing a safe, enjoyable experience to millions of annual visitors.

Neal Huges paints at Plein Air in the Smokies 2022
Neal Huges paints at Elkmont during Plein Air in the Smokies 2022.

What is ‘Plein Air’ Painting?

Plein Air painting, in its strictest sense, is the practice of painting landscape pictures outdoors. The purpose is to create intense impression of the open air (French: “en plein air”) in a landscape painting.

En plein air painting was essential for the Impressionist Movement to take place. Impressionism is the painting of what the artist interprets as taking place at a certain place at a certain time. It is the changing of the shadows, the shimmering of the water and the movement of people. Impressionists start and finish their paintings outdoors to be able to depict what they would later be so famous for – capturing their impression of life.

Sponsorship Opportunities!

Sponsorship provides recognition for your support of Friends of the Smokies and offers additional benefits. Learn more about the benefits each level of sponsorship provides.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Lauren@friendsofthesmokies.org