Summit Artspace Gallery and guest curator Brian Shellito are organizing a unique outdoor art experience this summer for both artists and the public. Streetscapes: Akron in Plein Air will, for the second time, bring together talented local artists to paint urban landscapes along downtown Akron streets. Spectators will be encouraged to visit the creative work sites and witness the process.
Plein Air is a French term meaning “open air.” Painting in plein air refers to painting out-of-doors, a practice of landscape painters for 500 years. On July 27, 28 and 29, participants in the Streetscapes: Akron in Plein Air competition will set up their easels in designated sites downtown to produce paintings. The artworks will be turned in at Summit Artspace at the end of each day for consideration by specially selected judges for inclusion in a gallery show Aug. 10 through Sept. 15.
Shellito, an illustrator for the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper, came up with the urban plein air idea. An application form with more details will be available online at www.akronareaarts.org or by calling (330) 376-8480.
"I have enjoyed viewing other plein air shows and competitions around Northeast Ohio that were focused on rural landscapes,” Shellito said. “As an artist who likes to paint people and buildings, I felt it would be great fun to bring this approach to an urban setting in Akron."
Summit Artspace, a growing downtown art center, is a project of the Akron Area Arts Alliance in cooperation with Summit County government. It also houses a second gallery called The Box and several artist studios. Summit Artspace is located at 140 E. Market Street, one block east of the Akron Art Museum.
Regular Summit Artspace Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday noon to 5 pm. Admission and parking are free. It is currently showing Why Art’s Alive in Akron!, works by the eight Visual Arts Award Winners of Arts Alive! Awards from 2001 - 2011.
The Arts Alliance is a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes the value of a strong, diverse and vibrant arts and culture community in Greater Akron. Its membership includes 47 organizations plus 70 artists and arts supporters. It is supported by the Akron Community Foundation, Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, Knight Foundation, OMNOVA Foundation and Ohio Arts Council.