If you stand on the floor of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park, the sandstone cliffs soar in all directions above your head. They're perfect for picturing -- either with your camera, or with paint and brush.
Painters will be plentiful in the canyon this week, too, as the Zion National Park Foundation hosts its Fifth Annual Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational from Monday through next Monday.
The event celebrates the role art has played in the creation and history of the park by hosting 24 of the country’s finest landscape artists for a week of painting and teaching in the park. The artists will paint plein air (on location) throughout the week in many of the same locations that iconic artists such as Thomas Moran painted when this landscape was first exposed to the American public.
Park visitors during the week will have many unique opportunities to watch great artists at work in the park, as well as attend daily painting demonstrations and lectures.
An exhibit of samples of the artists’ studio work will hang in the Zion Human History Museum from September 16 to November 11.
This coming Friday evening the Zion Nature Center will be transformed into an art gallery as more than 150 paintings produced during the week are hung for a gala reception and sale to invited guests. The wet paint sale opens to the public on Saturday morning and runs through Sunday and Monday, November 9-11, at the Nature Center.
From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, a lively Paint Out event will be held on the lawn in front of the Zion Lodge, beneath Zion Canyon’s towers of stone. During the Paint Out visitors can purchase the amazing paintings produced by the invitational artists as they are being painted. All artists, young and old, beginner and master, who are in the park that day are welcome to join the Paint Out. A silent auction in the Lodge Auditorium of the demonstration pieces produced during the week by the invited artists will take place concurrent with the Paint Out.
Event proceeds go to the Zion National Park Foundation to support important projects in the park, including the successful Zion Youth Education Initiative, making it possible for children throughout the area to visit the park and have a potentially life-changing educational experience.
“This is an amazing event that partners the community with the park and combines art and philanthropy,” said Lyman Hafen, the Foundation's executive director. “Art has a very firm place in the history of Zion Canyon and in the story that led to it becoming a National Park. Today, artists, donors, sponsors and visitors continue that rich tradition, preserving the wonder that is Zion National Park for future generations, and enhancing the experience of everyone who comes here.”