This painting was originally created by Dennis Zieminski for a Lasseter Family Winery wine label.
Join us for the 2023 Sonoma Plein Air Gala at the Justi Creek Railway Estate in Glen Ellen on Friday, September 15th.
Tickets are now on sale for the annual Sonoma Plein Air Gala - where you will see the "best of the best" art created by our 30 world-renowned artists, and have the opportunity to bid by silent auction to take your favorite home!
The gala location will stop you in your tracks...and the event will be emceed by The Singing Auctioneer, Ellen Toscano, with catering by Park Avenue Caterers.
Meet Sid Chapin, 2023 recipient of the Lewis E. Cook III Scholarship
Sid shared a lovely hand-crafted Thank You note along with few thoughts on what receiving this scholarship means to them: "Art and creativity as a whole has always been very important to me, and I am happy to be ever closer to achieving my dream of sharing my art and stories with the world. I am extremely grateful to have received this scholarship and will put it to use to pay for my tuition. I hope to make Sonoma and the whole valley proud of me as I continue my education and my passions, and I will always be looking for a way to properly repay the graciousness of the town that raised me."
Sid will be attending Wheaton College in Massachusetts in the fall studying film and creative writing but plans to continue to pursue visual arts as well.
About the Cook Scholarship: In 2011, Lewis and Susan Cook of Glen Ellen, CA created this scholarship in their son's memory in honor of his time spent at Sonoma Valley High School. Each year, a deserving senior from SVHS receives a monetary grant to help them in their pursuit of the arts in any form. The scholarship funds are granted by the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley becomes a new grantee of Sonoma Plein Air Foundation
This year Sonoma Plein Air Foundation provided a grant to help the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley (BGCSV) fund their robust summer camp programs. BGCSV has seven locations in Sonoma Valley where they provide exceptional youth development programs for kids between the ages of 6 - 18. They currently serve over 1,800 youth annually.
Our 2022 Festival week celebrating Sonoma Plein Air's 20th year was one for the record books - stay tuned for news about 2023!
Our generous donors celebrated under a full September moon in the oak grove site of our very first gala in 2002. During a week of historic heat, our artists painted amazing local scenes to display on a perfect fall day at the Art Show & Sale on Sonoma Plaza. Excellent sales and happy artists and patrons culminated in a fund raising success for this year's Sonoma Plein Air Foundation grants program.
Read on to see where the Festival funds raised are going to foster student creativity this current school year...
Sonoma Plein Air Foundation Board awards grants to public schools and local arts community partners for 2022-23 school year.
On the heels of a very successful 2022 Sonoma Plein Air Festival in September, the Board began the next process of allocating funds raised by reviewing and approving grant requests from schools and community partners across Sonoma Valley.
With over $150,000 raised thanks to the generosity of our patrons, donors, artists and art buyers, the Board approved grants in early November 2022 to 14 schools & non-profit organizations for programs and supplies to support K-12 arts in education and creativity development for our Sonoma Valley children and youth for this school year. Recipients list follows below.
Student projects and Art Shows popped up around Sonoma this year funded by Sonoma Plein Air Festival patrons
Sonoma Plein Air Foundation Grant recipients for the current school year are listed below for your reference. Grantees came to us with wonderful ideas and goals! You can visit our website for details on each grant.
Sassarini, Sonoma Charter School, Woodland Star Charter School,
El Verano & Flowery Schools under program grants to Art Escape
Adele Harrison and Altimira
Sonoma Valley High School
Creekside High School
Arts Guild of Sonoma
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
Sonoma Community Center
Sonoma Plein Air is here to help students experience creative ways of thinking through art. Art empowers a student to become stronger and build confidence that can last a lifetime.
There will be a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at the Sonoma Plein Art Show & Sale at the Sonoma Plaza on Saturday,September 10. As a volunteer you will benefit as well by participating in one of the most fun & beautiful fundraisers in Sonoma Valley. You will meet nationally acclaimed talented artists, see glorious plein air paintings and talk to art enthusiasts from the Bay Area and beyond. Anyone who is interested can help!
On Friday, September 9, we will come full circle and gather at a beautiful private Sonoma vineyard - the site of our very first Sonoma Plein Air Gala in 2002. We'll celebrate in the open air, surrounded by heritage oaks under the Sonoma sky.
Tuesday, September 6: Quick Draw Event at the Farmer's Market
Plein Air artists set up easels around the Plaza on Farmer's Market Tuesday and have 90 minutes to complete a painting, frame and display it for immediate sale. Visitors watch the artists paint and can acquire their favorite on the spot!
5 p.m. Artists paint around square - walk around and watch them paint
6:30 p.m. Artists bring paintings to plaza for framing and pricing
6:45 p.m. Painting sale begins of SE quadrant of Plaza
7:00 p.m. Sale ends
Saturday, September 10: Art Show and Sale on Sonoma Plaza, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FREE ADMISSION to the art show, artists demonstrations, live music and hands-on art activities for children of all ages.
Purchase a painting and support arts education!
11:00 am Painting Demonstration - Keith Wicks
1:00 pm Painting Demonstration - Camille Przewodek
Carol Devereaux, Geoff Allen and Randall Stauss are among the acclaimed artists who will join us in September for the Sonoma Plein Air Art Show & Sale - other artists participating include some new names and many long-time favorites.
Carol Devereaux, originally from Memphis, Tennessee, is a figurative and landscape painter living in Dallas, Texas. Her preferred mediums are oil and pastel, she enjoys working from life and "en plein air" finding inspiration in the patterns of light touching and defining form.
Carol tells us that plein air painting has brought much joy into her life. She is widely traveled and has painted across the United States, New England, Tennessee, to Florida beaches, New Mexico, Colorado to California. Being able to travel abroad to paint in France and Cuba were special experiences. Painting in Sonoma County will open up a wide range of new vistas - from the hills and valleys to the river and coast. We are looking forward to seeing her artistic interpretations of our countryside!
"When I set up to paint, I am stationary for a few hours. This allows observation of not only location, but of the nature surrounding. I’m often visited not only by various curious people but by animals, including many squirrels, chipmunks, and of course bugs (which I could do without!). I’ve had dolphins surface and play while painting on the beach, cows and donkeys approach to check me out. In Colorado, elk herds have run past on their way to water. The most frightening, I had two coyotes run past at arm’s length, on their way to join their group hunt. Thankfully I wasn’t on their menu! Everyday painting plein air is a great day, whether or not my painting turns out, I’m having fun, smiling and pushing paint!"
Geoff Allen joins us from a coastal town north of San Diego, and the boatyards of Southern California offer him great opportunity and inspiration. Will he head to Bodega and the Sonoma Coast to paint? We are excited to find out!
"As an artist, plein air painting allows my art to showcase two of my greatest passions: my enthusiasm for the outdoors and the beauty of watercolor. Plein air painting both lends focus to my work while promoting spontaneity. While I have worked in many media, for me watercolor is the most immediate. By embracing the water's independence, I find that it is both medium and metaphor, and at times both a curse and a blessing. I love that aspect of art making- something that is out of my control and a challenge. My journey in watercolor is to learn how to conjure the water into abstraction, in other words to allow the water to do the work."
Geoff was the featured artist in Summer 2022 edition of Watercolor Artist magazine.
Randall Stauss’s paintings have captured life on the West Coast for over 40 years. A third generation Oregonian, Randall began drawing and painting at an early age, studying at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.
'"I am both a studio and plein air painter. But truth be told, it is plein air that is the crown jewel. Seemingly endless benefits befall the outdoor artist, not the least of which is an expanded sense of presence at the place one has so carefully and intuitively chosen."
What places will he chose in Sonoma? We look forward to find out in September!
The Sonoma Plein Air Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization and 40 percent of each painting's purchase price is a donation to support arts and creativity education for youth in the public schools and community organizations in Sonoma Valley.
Artist Keith Wicks shares the origin story of Sonoma Plein Air.
“Dad, we don’t have art in class.”
When Keith Wicks’ young daughter announced that her Sonoma public school had art just once a month, by a teacher who visited all the schools with boxes of crayons and craft materials, he said, “Well, that’s not right, because I had art every day in school, and that’s why I am an artist!” And then he did something about it.
In the early 2000s, funding for arts programs were minimal, and Keith knew that if he (and other like-minded parents and community members) wanted art in schools, the task at hand was to reach out to the community and fund it themselves.
As a signature member of the California Art Club, Keith was experienced at attending Plein Air events in Southern California, and knew he could put on an event in Sonoma to raise money, but he needed funding to get the idea off the ground.
Here was the pitch: “Listen, I’m going to bring a whole bunch of talented artists to our town, and we are going to paint the landscape for a week. We are going to create all this work and then we’re going to do one big one day sale. And then we’ll use all that money and fund all the art programs in the schools.” Community members responded with their checkbooks.
Judy Vadasz thought that was a great idea, offered seed money and helped create the first Sonoma Plein Air Festival in 2002. Her founding partnership encouraged volunteers and patrons throughout Sonoma Valley to join the cause. A casual fundraising event was held in her family’s vineyard – an event that will come full circle –this time with a 20th anniversary gala dinner at the Vadasz estate on September 9.
Filmmaker John Lasseter, who was a collector of Keith’s art, said he would get involved – inspired by a parent who was an art teacher. He underwrote the printing of sets of notecards featuring paintings by all the participating artists. Half the artists participating in the first festival came from Pixar Studios where John was, at that time, chief creative officer. He gave them all a week off from work to be a part of the first Sonoma Plein Air. One of those artists was Paul Kratter, who loved the experience so much, he became a full-time plein air painter. Paul has been a regular at Sonoma Plein Air ever since.
Keith invited artists he had met at other festivals and some of the best artists in the country agreed to make the trip. Housing was offered by generous host families – a tradition that carries forward to this day. Keith created an atmosphere of camaraderie, not competition, between artists. Unlike other art festivals, there is only one award, with a small monetary prize and bragging rights. The “Artists’ Choice Award” is one where peers choose what they believe is the best painting of the week. Each artist selects their personal best and presents it for silent auction at the Friday night gala. All the remaining paintings are brought to the Sonoma Plaza on Saturday for the one day show and sale, attended by locals and art collectors throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
The artists who are selected by jury each year for Sonoma Plein Air gladly support that 40% of the sales price of their work goes to the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation which distributes all the funds to arts education in the community. Each year, the all-volunteer board distributes grants to elementary schools, middle schools, the high school, charter schools, the Sonoma Community Center, The Arts Guild, Art Escape and the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.
Bartholomew Estate Winery will be featuring a solo exhibit of the work of Sonoma Plein AIr Founder Keith Wicks this week. A portion of the proceeds from art sales from this exhibit will be donated to the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation. If you are in Sonoma, be sure to stop by!
We couldn't be prouder of Sonoma Plein Air Board member Pat Meier-Johnson! She was selected the 2022 Treasure Artist in the City of Sonoma. A reception is being held in her honor June 9 at Vintage House.
"Art has a value that doesn't test the same way that math and science do...I took as many art classes as I could but I actually did better in my other subjects as well because I was so happy."
– Chester Arnold, Artist, Sonoma, CA
We are passionate about our mission to ensure every student has access to art in every grade. One reason why? Research shows that students who study creativity and the arts have higher test scores across the board in every subject area.
The past two years have presented major challenges in educating public school students at all grade levels, in all subjects. Our steadfast goal is to ensure teachers and local arts organizations have access to funds to support art education in and outside the classrooms.
In this newsletter, meet the artists who help make this possible by designating 40% of their art sales during the Sonoma Plein Air Festival, and enjoy watching the inspiring Chester Arnold, who offers his take on why art is so important for children.
Meet the Artists of Sonoma Plein Air 2022!
It's the 20th anniversary of Sonoma Plein Air and we are delighted to invite new artists and returning favorites. Here are the juried artists who will join us in September:
Eric Fe Guan
Alison Leigh Menke
W. Jason Situ
Robert G. Steele
Please visit our website for full-size images and links to each artist's website!
Art in school makes a difference in people’s lives, and in the third of our video series, The Community Speaks, we meet Chester Arnold, Sonoma Treasure Artist and longtime art instructor whose work is currently featured in a retrospective "Reports to the Contrary: A Persistent Vision" at the Fresno Art Museum.
The artist jurying is complete - and in just a few weeks we will be able to release the names of all participating artists in the 20th anniversary Sonoma Plein Air Festival!
Our all-volunteer foundation is busy planning the events and keeping in touch with our grant recipients. Read on for the heartwarming comments from the kids who benefit from the programs our donors fund, and watch a video from a Sonoma public school graduate who built a life around his art.
Sonoma Plein Air teams with Art Escape to keep art alive during challenging times...
Flowery School Art Experiences Flourish
Though pandemic distancing restrictions reduced the number of students that could participate, Art Escape was able to schedule classes in October, Novmeber and December 2021 for Flowery's After School Wednesday program. Third through fifth graders joined in two-hour sessions filled with diverse art projects. In fall, students participated in printmaking, bookbinding, collage and more. Through the generous support of Sonoma Plein Air donors, these classes are now scheduled throughout the school year!
Sonoma Teens Explore Art in the City
During pandemic restrictions, teems everywhere have been seriously impacted by the loss of socialization and independence. Sonoma Plein Air provided the primary funding for two field trips of 10 Sonoma teens each to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
Here’s what some of the participants had to say:
"This trip was cool and special. It was my first time going to the city and now I know how different it is from Sonoma. I also made some new friends that I've never met before."
"It was the BEST day ever. I got to know new people who ended up being new friends. I also have a new favorite painting."
"My favorite part of today was walking around the museum. I loved it because of all of the different types of art we got to see. Lunch was also amazing, and it was fun to talk with new friends."
"Going to the art museum in the city was an amazing experience. I enjoyed the car ride and seeing all the fabulous artwork.”
"I think if Art Escape gets the funding they should do a trip like this again! It was really cool being able to go around the city and museum. I would never have had the chance to go there without this trip. Thank you so much for inviting and including me in this super awesome experience!"
A special thanks to all our donors who make experiences like this possible.
Art in school makes a difference in people’s lives, and in the second of our video series, The Community Speaks, we meet local businessman and artisan Steve Chiurco, who designs and fabricates custom metalwork projects. Influenced by a couple of wonderful art teachers in junior high and high school in Sonoma, Steve created Steel Geisha Designs with his wife, Anastatia, in 2006.
Steve is a firm believer in the importance of arts education for kids. He told us, “I was better at using my hands than my mind, and then eventually got better at using my mind over my hands.”
He added, “When you are happy doing something, it just seems that other opportunities, like making money at it, may fall into place.”
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th
The 20th Anniversary Sonoma Plein Air Festival Art Show & Sale
In 2022, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sonoma Plein Air Festival! The support of generous donors, art buyers and artists have allowed us to fund $1.7 million dollars of arts education for public school students in Sonoma Valley. The impact on students is profound. Read on as Middle School Art Teacher Cheryl Coldiron shares her student work, and is interviewed about the importance of art in our schools.
I wanted to let you know about our most recent art project at Adele and Altimira MIddle Schools.
We just completed a multi-day integrated curriculum project about Endangered Species. Students were given time to research an animal of their choice; then conduct additional research about what the animal looks like, their habitat, what they eat, how and where they live, unusual facts, an so on.
They were taught how to create a mini-book, where they wrote about their animal and drew small illustrations on the pages. Finally, using earlier lessons about color and composition, they created their Endangered Species Painting. (All students are eligible to enter their paintings in a National Contest as well).
Thank you very much for the funding to purchase the painting paper, paint supplies, brushes and more!
In Sonoma, we are well-attuned to the impact the pandemic has had on tourism and how wineries and restaurants have pivoted to different business models. While less visible, the arts and cultural sector of the economy may have been hit the hardest of all – not only have artists lost employment but people have lost in-person access to cultural events.
In June, we received full permission from the City of Sonoma to plan the Sonoma Plein Air Art Show and Sale on the Plaza. With safety top-of-mind, our all-volunteer board is hard at work planning and promoting the events, hosts are readying accommodations for the artists, and 34 nationally-renowned artists will soon be on their way to Sonoma for a week to paint the natural beauty of the area.
Now, more than ever, is the time to support artists, the arts and art education!
Put these events in your calendar!
Quick Draw at the Farmer’s Market: Tuesday, September 7
Gala Dinner and Auction at Jacuzzi Vineyards: Friday, September 10
Art Show and Sale in Sonoma Plaza; Saturday, September 11
Important Information about the 2021 Sonoma Plein Air Gala
The evolving nature of COVID means we will continually monitor the latest medical advice and protocols so we can come together at Jacuzzi Vineyards in a gala setting in about 6 weeks. For now, this means we will require that all gala attendees are fully vaccinated. Following restaurant models, meals will be individually plated and service staff will have shown proof of vaccination and wear masks. Dining tables will be appropriately spaced and, as always, we will do our best to honor all dinner seating arrangements.
We hope this will give you the confidence to join us for this all-important fundraiser. In past years, the gala has raised 60% of the annual funds for the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation. The youth of Sonoma Valley are headed back to the classroom – some for the first time in over a year of distance learning. What kind of learning environment do we want for them?
One that is safe, supportive, engaging and challenging.
One that prepares them for adulthood with an appreciation for creative expression.
They need our support to keep art education alive – because the arts nourish all our hearts and souls.
The Sonoma Plein Air Foundation Board of Directors Cathy Good & Cheryl Shimek, Co-Presidents
Barbara Wells, Treasurer
Pat Meier-Johnson, Secretary
Keith Wicks, Founder
Gerry Brinton, Irene Cook, Gretchen Gardner, Judy Hallden, Ellen Hoover, Nancy Evers Kirwan, Nikki Parr, Nancy Pollock, Linda Rosso, Dana Simpson-Stokes
We will follow the most up-to-date requirements provided by the City and County of Sonoma with regards to physical distancing and numbers of people permitted in the Sonoma Plaza art show area at any one time. Currently, masks are not required outdoors for vaccinated people.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED for SONOMA PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL EVENTS!
Week of September 6-11
Distribute marketing materials around town, set-up and take-down, decorations, artists' assistants, and other fun jobs at an Artists' Reception, Quick Draw, Gala and Festival.
Happy July! Before you head into the holiday weekend, we wanted to share the good news that Sonoma Plein Air 2021 is a GO! We are excited to be back to share art with the community and raise funds for art education in Sonoma Valley. We also want to introduce you to a talented young artist that reminds us why art is so important to young people, and how they can make a difference!
This year's Sonoma Plein Air Gala theme is "Under the Sonoma Sky," inspired by this painting by Anton Pavlenko, the recipient of the 2019 Artists' Choice Award.
Join us on Friday, September 10th atJacuzzi Family Vineyards, where we will celebrate art and raise funds for art education for the youth of Sonoma Valley. Tickets are available on our website.
The gala is a delightful celebration of art where art lovers mingle and dine and view the "best of the best" paintings created during the Sonoma Plein Air week. The artists hold a peer vote for the best painting of week, and gala attendees bid at silent auction to take home their personal favorites. You can see the award winners from past festivals on our website.
We are able to gather on the Sonoma Plaza
With COVID-19 restrictions removed, we have been given the go-ahead to present the Sonoma Plein Air Festival, including a Quick Draw event during the Tuesday Night Farmer's Market. September 7, and the Art Show and Sale on the Sonoma on Saturday, September 11. Here are the participating artists. We look forward to seeing you there!
Meet the Artist: Elsa Winter
Class of 2021 Sonoma Valley High School
Lewis E. Cook Scholarship Winner
Each year, a deserving senior from Sonoma Valley High School receives a $1,000 grant to help in their pursuit of the arts in any form. This grant is made from a fund established by former board member Susan Cook in honor of her late son. We are delighted to announce Elsa Winter, the 2021 Lewis E. Cook III Scholarship Winner.
Elsa uses art as a tool to elevate her other passions. Since Elsa was young, she has been surrounded by an artistic atmosphere and has immersed herself in different creative ventures. After taking her first art classes at Sonoma Valley High School, she fell in love with the power of art and applied her creativity to a variety of pursuits; starting a club to turn recycled materials into jewelry and art pieces, designing and selling Black Lives Matter t-shirts to donate the proceeds to the Innocence Project, interning in graphic design to develop her skills in the digital space, and collaborating with the Campus Beautification Club to create and execute an 800 square foot mural. She will attend UC Santa Barbara as an Environmental Studies major in the fall, and plans on both focusing on bringing a creative perspective to the environmental movement and possibly minoring in Art & Design. She believes that art serves as a catalyst to create a more innovative future, and is excited to continue devoting her creativity to fuel the greater good.
Elsa Winter's pencil illustration of Mother Nature, created from the prompt, “Stop,” in her AP Art class at SVHS.
Click the image to see the mural Elsa created in coordination with the Sonoma Valley High School Campus BeautificationClub.
We are thrilled that our friends at Bartholomew Estate have been able to re-open the Sonoma Plein Air Gallery, located within their historic, mission-style winery building. Come view the exhibition of Sonoma Plein Air artists’ works by reserving a private time. Stroll through the exhibit to enjoy the art and perhaps fall in love with a piece to bring home. 25% of the proceeds from art sales are a tax-deductible donation that directly supports art education in local public schools and community organizations, something near and dear to our hearts!
For your safety and social distancing, they are now accepting reservations for 30-minute private viewing sessions in the Gallery, for single party groups of up to six people, Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is complimentary. While you are there, make a reservation for a seated, outdoor tasting of their beautifully crafted, estate wines from organically farmed vineyards.
Art Rewards the Student (A.R.T.S.) program brings, free to the schools, experienced teaching artists to Sonoma fourth and fifth grade students. In school classrooms, and in the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, students experience art-making projects themed to the Museum’s current exhibition that spark creativity and critical thinking. This year, all lessons were taught virtually and the program explored how art can connect people, build communities, and help create a kinder, more tolerant world.
Sonoma Plein Air helps to fund this important program and exhibition which this year is a mix of online and in-person at SVMA, The Arts Guild of Sonoma, and El Verano Elementary Schools.
The Arts Guild Show, was exhibited at the Guild at 140 E Napa St, Sonoma.
While we are waiting for final approvals, we are planning and have faith we will be able to gather once again for Sonoma Plein Air Festival week - with Quick Draw, a Gala on Friday, September 10 and the renowned Art Show and Sale on Saturday, September 11. Please check our website for future announcements!
Spring has arrived and with it comes not only the beautiful colors of our annual mustard bloom but also the promise of a decline in Covid-19's impact on our lives as the population of vaccinated individuals continues to expand. It has been a trying time for all and we wish you all health and happiness in the coming months.
Our March newsletter features the work of the young artists of Sonoma Valley High School during the 2020-2021 school year who continued to create despite the challenges of distance learning. We also have some announcements from our Board and peek into the future for 2021. As always, we thank you for supporting valuable art programs and experiences for the youth of Sonoma Valley over the past 20 years.
Art in the Time of Covid
@Sonoma Valley High School
Several months ago, the arts education faculty used the remaining 2020 SPAF grant funds to create take-away student art supply kits for projects that involved painting, sculpture and textiles. These kits were then distributed in the now familiar drive-by approach. With the kits and a large amount of creativity, along with the help of the SVHS Visual and Performing Arts staff, these young artists engaged, explored and experimented in a range of media. Enjoy the results of their efforts by clicking to see their work!
Changes on the SPAF Board
We are pleased to announce that Barbara Wells has joined the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation Board of Directors! Many of you may recognize Barbara as she has been a key member of our Festival Gala event team over the past years, managing the onsite activities related to the Silent Auction purchases and your generous donations.
Barbara will be mentored by longtime Board Member Gerry Brinton to take on the role as Treasurer, as Gerry remains on the board as an at-large director.
And Will the Show Go On??
At the start of this year, we were asking ourselves this question again and again. To help us answer it, we conducted surveys of Board members and Artists and kept a very close eye on all information and updates Covid related.
Everyone responded with cautious optimism and a strong desire to be part of a Sonoma Plein Air Festival in 2021.Given that, we are happy to announce that the Board is planning on holding our Festival from September 6th to 11th, 2021. Due to Covid considerations, the Festival may look a little different but we anticipate seeing many of you in person come September.
Watch for details in upcoming newsletters and on our website in the coming months.
The Sonoma Plein Air Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that funds youth art education in community organizations and public schools in Sonoma Valley.
Autumn in the Sonoma Valley brings cooler temperatures and (fingers crossed) the need to get out the umbrella and the rain boots. This newsletter features an update on the activities of one of Sonoma Plein Air's partners, Art Escape, along with the remembrance of a favorite Festival Artist and a review of our September event, #SonomaPleinAir2020. As always, we thank you for supporting valuable art programs and experiences for the youth of Sonoma Valley over the past 18 years.
Art to Gogh: Art Escape Sonoma
Starting in September and continuing through December, Art Escape's mobile art studio, Art Van Gogh, is delivering a variety of free art projects to the children of Sonoma Valley. September's projects included a Mini Weaving Kit and a Clay Kit. In October, demand increased for projects such as the Doodle Kit and the Sugar Skull kit. Each kit comes with all needed supplies along with instructions in both English & Spanish.
Response to date has been great -- many community families are taking advantage of these creative non-screen related projects. Art Escape expects to distribute an additional 360 kits in November and December, ranging from Leaf Rubbing Journal kits to Finger Puppet kits to Snowflake and Popcorn Garland Kits just in time for the holidays.
Greg LaRock, Landscape Artist
On October 11th, we lost a well-loved member of the Sonoma Plein Air family, artist Greg LaRock. His wife Laurie shared the following on social media:
"In the most heartbreaking day of our 27 years together, Greg passed away last Sunday afternoon. Two days prior, he and I were rollerblading in our neighborhood, something we loved to do. In an instantaneous and tragic turn of events, Greg fell hitting his head which resulted in a traumatic brain injury precipitating his passing. The loss is both inexplicable and unimaginable. I will miss my lifelong partner, husband, and soulmate as I know many of you will miss your friend, teacher, and mentor. Greg knew compassion like no other man I have ever known and gave it without hesitation. His spirit lives on in those of us who knew and loved him and in his timeless and beautiful paintings. In a final act of kindness and compassion, Greg had designated himself an organ donor and we know he will live on in others who never even knew him."
The photo below captures Greg at the 2017 Sonoma Plein Air Festival with his Artist Choice Award winning painting. He left an incredible body of work -- many of which were seen and enjoyed at our Festivals over the years. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and many friends.
And The Show DID Go On...
37 artists teamed up with us to bring you a virtual online festival -- the artwork in the show was beautiful and the opportunity to 'click thru' to purchase a painting and visit each artist's website added another dimension to getting to know these talented individuals. We look forward to seeing them and all of you in person at the 2021 Sonoma Plein Air Festival in early September next year.
Monday, September 7th at 10 am
and 37 artists are waiting for you...right here!
The 2020 Sonoma Plein Air Festival on the Plaza has been cancelled...but the show goes on!
We've all been going through challenging times during the pandemic, and it's tough to predict what our future will look like. But we know one thing for sure: ART MUST BE A PART!
We are not giving up on art education! Schools and the community organizations serving them will be able to carry over funds, and we have limited funds available for new grants to keep art alive for the youth of Sonoma.
We are here to support the professional artists who make our annual festival a success. Many have traveled to Sonoma for nearly two decades! All of the artists have lost opportunities to sell their work this year.
August 2020 (Update 09/22/2020: If you would like to learn more about the Tree Of Possibilities project, please click here and you can view their latest video.)
As August draws to a close, this month's newsletter features a very special announcement and highlights summer activities funded by Sonoma Plein Air and conducted by three of our community partners. Each unique project enabled Sonoma Valley youth to experience art and self-expression during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We thank you for supporting valuable art programs and experiences for youth over the past 18 years.
Tree of Possibilities: Teen Services Sonoma
Outside Operation Bicycle in Vailetti Plaza on Highway 12 in The Springs, you will find a unique, wonderful sculpture made from recycled bicycle parts and culinary items representing two social enterprises at Teen Services Sonoma, Operation Bicycle and Lovin' Oven. Metal sculptor Marty Munson, with assistance from teens Alondra Perez and Leila Whitney, designed and built the 13-foot kinetic sculpture incorporating flattened spoons and metal leaves imprinted with words about hopes and dreams for the future created by teenagers from across Sonoma Valley.
Sonoma Plein Air Board member and fine artist Pat Meier-Johnson functioned as the Project Coordinator, bringing the Tree to fruition despite an interruption by Covid-19. The Tree of Possibilities was funded by Creative Sonoma and Sonoma Plein Air Foundation.
Home Art Kits: HeART of Sonoma
Over 250 home art kits were assembled and distributed to children in Sonoma so they could create a heart and participate in the latest HeART of Sonoma initiative sponsored by the Sonoma Valley Arts Task Force. The hearts are now on display around Sonoma so keep an eye out for these colorful creations -- they will brighten your day and make you smile!
Virtual Arts Camps: Sonoma Community Center
Over the summer, kids and teens were offered Virtual Arts Camps by the Sonoma Community Center in lieu of onsite experiences that had been planned.
Two Virtual Fiber Arts Camps for youth ages 10-17 years old were held in July featuring celebrated fiber instructor Pia Andersson, who came to the Center for class lessons in the Fiber Arts Studio. Camp was live online using ZOOM video conferencing. Participants learned specific hand sewing, macrame and weaving techniques while completing a fun range of fiber art projects and crafts. All supplies & materials were provided via curbside pick-up.
A Virtual Clay and Art Camp took place the end of July. Children explored the world of clay, fiber and multi-media art through a combination of guided pre-recorded videos and live ZOOM video conferencing. Projects aimed to provide a positive, energy filled studio experience at home and the follow-along camp workbook was available in both English and Spanish.
The Show Must Go On...
On Monday, September 7th, the artists of Sonoma Plein Air would have started painting. On Tuesday, September 8th, the Quick Draw would go on at the Farmer's Market in Sonoma Plaza. On Wednesday and Thursday, you might have spotted an artist painting along Fifth Street, or Highway 12, or tucked into a private vineyard. On Friday night, you could have been dining under the stars at a gala dinner. And on Saturday, September 12th, you would be in the Plaza, scouting out the beautiful paintings. But not THIS year.
THIS YEAR, by special arrangement, 37 artists have teamed up with Sonoma Plein Air to bring the show online in a virtual festival coming to YOUR screen.
Last month we shared with you what two of our community partners, Art Escape & Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, did to support art education for children in our schools. This month we introduce you to 4 young artists from the art program at Sonoma Valley High School along with connecting you to the 2020 Film Festival created by the Media Arts program. We want to highlight some of the creative young people who benefited from generous donations to the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation and thank you for your interest in and support art education for the next generation.
Sonoma Valley High School ARTISTS
Angelina Carabini (Class of 2020)
"Creating art whether it's in the classroom or out has become an outlet for expressing my love and curiosity towards nature and its animals."
Ronaldo Castillo Mendoza (Class of 2021)
"Art for me means a way to express everything you feel, to let off steam, to give your point of view of something through images and colors, and personally when I draw I relax a lot, because it is something that I love."
Zanett Velzaquez (Class of 2020)
Zanett has always harbored a passion for creativity in a variety of media including painting, photography, origami, drawing, embroidery and knitting.
Elsa Winter (Class of 2021)
Ever since she was a young child, Elsa has been interested in art -- influenced by her graphic designer mother. She has created jewelry, painted jeans and continues to fill up an abundance of sketchbooks.
2020 SVHS FILM FESTIVAL
The Media Arts Program at SVHS provides a doorway into the digital arts through filmmaking classes, animation, scriptwriting, film theory and story telling. Each year several hundred young people are introduced to the process of making films -- the results are dozens of student shorts many of which you can see by clicking this link.
Lewis Cook, Jr. Scholarship
In 2011, Lewis and Susan Cook of Glen Ellen, CA, created this scholarship in memory of their son, Lewis E. Cook III, who died unexpectedly that year. Since then, each year, a deserving senior from SVHS receives a $1,000 grant to help in their pursuit of the arts in any form. We are grateful to the Cook family and proud to announce the 2020 Scholarship recipient:
Luisa Perez Aceves
Luisa is a dedicated student who is the first in her family to go to college. She was an active student on campus, participating in the AVID program, athletics and clubs during her four years at Sonoma Valley High School. She is considering an Art major when she attends UC Santa Cruz in the fall.