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The 15th Annual Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival kicked off on May 7, 2023 with the arrival of 32 juried, nationally recognized and emerging artists who have come to Wayne, Pennsylvania to capture the cool atmosphere and ephemeral, lush greens of spring in the Delaware Valley. En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air”, and refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view.

Throughout the week, painters work on locations in the surrounding areas, a locale robust with colorful and varied landscapes. From quaint small towns filled with period architecture to rolling hills dotted with livestock, to the dynamic skyline views of Center City Philadelphia and its surrounding waterfronts, including the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, there is no lack of inspiration or subject matter. A guide to area locations is provided. A week of intense work culminates in an entirely fresh exhibition of more than 300 paintings, which was celebrated with a Collectors’ Preview Party and Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 12th.

Photos by Brenda Carpenter

The Preview Party was the first opportunity for guests to see these freshly-painted works and make bids to purchase their favorite works. Guests perused the galleries which were full of local spots, from Strafford Train Station to Downtown Wayne. Live jazz by Phyllis Chapell and Dave Posmontier billowed throughout the galleries. Welcome champagne and other beverages were available, including Martinis, like the ‘Van Gogh Mango,’ which were served through a Plein Air Fesitval ice luge provide by Rob Capone. We butlered hor doeuvres such as smoked duck breast on grilled pineapple and warm brie croquettes.

As the night progressed, guests were treated to grazing stations with roast beef sandwiches, Nashville hot chicken sliders, asparagus flatbread, and more. Outside in perfect weather, we also served a Valencia-style Paella with chicken, shrimp, sausage and peas.

As one of the premier plein air events in the country, Wayne offers the unique opportunity to showcase work created during the festival in spacious, light-filled and state-of-the-art galleries during an exhibition that hangs until June 24, 2023. Pay them a visit! 

Photos by Brenda Carpenter

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