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Morristown Plein Air Festival encourages interaction with artists


MORRISTOWN - The first-ever Plein Air Festival held by the Morristown Public Library is slated to begin Aug. 2 and promises an engaging celebration of the arts and Morristown’s artistic heritage.

The Plein Air (French for “open air”) Festival will be centered around more than 20 artists from across the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada.

Setting up at sites throughout Morristown, the artists will be painting landscapes and encouraging members of the public to watch them – respectfully – while they work.

“We’ve been working our tails off since January [to get artists],” Library Director Bridget C. Whalen-Nevin said.

When people arrive at the library on Friday they will be met with a map of where artists are working.

“You have to get the public mingling with the artists while they’re painting,” Ms. Whalen-Nevin said.

In order to encourage visitation, the library has a host of door prizes for those who visit all the artists.

The prizes include a basket of wine and accessories from Bella-Brooke Vineyard and Winery, a black walnut end table from Jamie Henderson and jewelry by Deb Montieth. Other prizes are on display at the library.

At 6 p.m. Friday there will be hors d’oeuvres and wine (for $4 a glass) served at the Bella-Brooke Vineyard and Winery in Hammond.

At 8 p.m. at the winery Joe McDonald will present a lecture on Charles S. Chapman, the Morristown native who rose to national artistic fame.

An exhibit of Chapman paintings will be on display courtesy of Mr. McDonald and Gloria Scoot Johnson.

On Saturday artists will continue working on their landscape pieces, and a book sale will be held at the library from 9 a.m. until noon.

A meet and greet chicken barbecue will be hosted by the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department at 6 p.m. Saturday with the artists. The meal costs $9 in advance or $10 at the door.

Entertainment at the barbecue will be provided at 7 p.m. by Juggling Josh. “This guy is entertainment for everyone,” Ms. Whalen-Nevin said.

Sunday’s activities will begin at noon, Ms. Whalen-Nevin said, with a silent auction. Each artist will have up to three paintings included in the auction and judging.

Door prizes will be drawn throughout the afternoon and Yellow Moon – a three person band from the Adirondacks – will provide live music.

The paintings will be judged by artist John Morrow, Ogdensburg, at 1 p.m.

In addition to the judging by Mr. Morrow, there will be a people’s choice award and an artist’s choice award.

Ms. Whalen-Nevin said artists are encouraged to register for the event up until Aug. 1.

“This is quite the little artist colony in Morristown,” Ms. Whalen-Nevin said.

The artists registered to participate in the event at this point include Sarah White and Bell Chevigny of New York City; Judy Soprano and Diane Bellenger of Rochester; Frederick J. Holman of Brant Lake; Lisa Noviasky and Kate Long of Syracuse; Janet Marie Yeates of Northville; Kathleen Kelly, Ethel Slocum and Mary Ann Evans of Morristown; Jay Byington and Linda McCausland of Clayton; Donna Glahn of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania; Robert P. Hedden of Wellesley Island; Bomette Shine of Brier Hill; Lisa Hacket of Baltimore, Maryland; Emily Conger of Lansdowne, Ontario; Scott Ouderkirk and Jacqueline Washburn of Hammond; and Lori McCall of Liverpool.

More information about the festival, which is open to the public from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4, is available by calling the library at 375-8833 or visiting

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