by Phillip Manning
“Plein Ol’ Talkeetna,” that’s p-l-e-i-n, is opening this week with a reception on Saturday, August eleventh at 5:00 pm at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar.
What makes this opening unique is not only the style of painting, but the community contributions to the exhibition. KTNA spoke with Emily LaPorte, Operations Manager at the Denali Arts Council, who elaborated on how “Plein Ol’ Talkeetna came about.” She explained that the Council had received grants for a youth-led event from the Alaska School Board. After considering the options, the staff at the Council decided to opt for a en plein air community-participation project.“En plein air” painting is a French phrase to describe paintings done in the open, outside air, and, as LaPorte explained, “It makes you look at your environment in a different way.” The style focuses on natural light, and was an important facet of the French Impressionism school of painting. With its historic buildings, lush summer flora, and incomparable views of the Alaska Range, Talkeetna seemed an ideal spot for painting outdoors. As LaPorte put it, “What better place to do [this] than Alaska?”
The Denali Arts Council purchased canvases and acrylic paints with the grant funds, and invited anyone who wanted to participate to come down to the Hangar. Unfortunately, the chosen painting day in late July was rainy, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the participants, who reportedly “aged from two to eighty.” Paintings of landscapes and downtown Talkeetna were produced on-site, and additional works were have been solicited by the Council for those who wished to contribute, but were unable to attend on the invitational day.
Much of the promotion for the event was carried out by some of Talkeetna’s younger artists, including Nova Papasidora and Haley Loper, both of whom will be acting as curators for the reception on Saturday the eleventh. The drop-in reception will run from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. Plein Ol’ Talkeetna will run through the second week of September, when KTNA’s Art Auction pieces will be displayed.
The flying squirell is getting in on the second saturday action with a month-long show featuring Photos from Southcentral to Southeast by Jim Trump.