In early November, artists joined together to paint outside at the Annual Moss Point Plein Air Festival sponsored by the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.
Don Smith, a retired art teacher who volunteers to run the festival, said the event is a local version of larger, worldwide plein air competitions and brings art to Moss Point.
“We wanted to find ways to bring art to Moss Point and show how beautiful it is here,” Smith said. “Not only for the artists, but for non-artists, too.”
An annual event started in 2015, Smith said a steady flow of both professional and up-and-coming artists have participated in the event each year. The competition gives artists the opportunity to find anywhere in the area to paint outside within a certain time limit on the day of the event.
On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Audubon Center will begin to showcase about 20 paintings created at the 2017 Plein Air Art Festival with an opening reception. As a juried art show, a judge selected certain pieces to be on display. The opening reception, set from 6 to 8 p.m., will also name the first, second and third place winners of the competition.
The reception is free and open to the public and will offer refreshments. Smith said it’s also an opportunity for people to check out the Audubon Center if they’ve never been.
“The event lets people visit the Center during nighttime, which is a nice change of scenery,” Smith said. “Attendees can also meet the artists of the work on display.”
Artwork selected for the gallery will be available to view through February 10.
In the long term, Smith said he hopes to work on expanding the festival in a number of ways, including partnering with local boat tours to take participating artists on the water and also seeing the art gallery travel to other Audubon centers. In addition, he said he hopes to see the festival impact more than just the art scene.
“We hope there’s some compounded interest there,” Smith said. “Between the artists, those who live in the area, even impacting nature tourism in the area and along the Mississippi Coast.”
For more information call 228-475-7887.