‘Plein Air in the Smokies’ Art Event and Gala in Maryville Will Benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Twenty nationally acclaimed artists are coming to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) to paint “en plein air,” an outdoor painting practice and style, throughout various park sceneries.

Friends of the Smokies is a nonprofit that “assists the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness, and providing volunteers for needed projects,” according to its website.

During the week of September 26, the artists will be stationed around the GSMNP at popular park sites – such as Cades Cove and Elkmont – to paint en plein air. On Friday, September 30, the Plein Air event’s art sale will take place at the Clayton Center for the Arts, located on the Maryville College campus. The pieces painted by the artists will be judged and go on sale during a ticketed gala on Saturday, October 1. Then, a public sale of the pieces will follow on Sunday, October 2.

In addition, a ‘Quick Draw’ competition will be held Saturday morning, October 1, in downtown Maryville and Jack Green Park. The competition is open to all artists over the age of 14.

“National parks, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and Zion, are venues for plein air competitions, so it only makes sense that we bring an event like this to the country’s most visited national park,” Tim Chandler, executive director and CEO of Friends of the Smokies, said in a statement. “We are excited to include the city of Maryville, nestled in the foothills of the Smokies, and provide a unique opportunity to connect the Maryville community with the park.”

The Plein Air in the Smokies event is sponsored by Toyota of Knoxville and Lexus of Knoxville. Forever Places, a fund created by Friends of the Smokies to support the park’s efforts to preserve and maintain historic cabins, churches, mills, and barns throughout the park, will be benefited by funds raised from the sponsorships and the sale of the plein air artists’ paintings.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Great Smoky Mountains National Park” by AppalachianCentrist. CC BY-SA 4.0.




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