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Plein air artists put on a show with art display in Ashcroft

Nearly 40 artists spent a weekend painting in and around Ashcroft, and their works were on display on June 9

Ashcroft and the surrounding area played host to nearly 40 artists over the weekend of June 7, when the ninth annual Plein Air paint-out event took place.

All weekend artists and their easels could be seen in and around Ashcroft and throughout the region, as they sought to capture the quirky buildings and desert landscapes of the area. Several took advantage of the shade in the Heritage Park on Railway Avenue on a cloudless Saturday when the temperature reached 31 C, while others picked spots with sweeping views of the Thompson River valley. Some artists ranged as far afield as Spences Bridge to the south and Historic Hat Creek Ranch to the north.

The event kicked off with a "meet and greet" reception on Friday evening, and the artists were also treated to dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday, with coffee and snacks available at St. Alban's Church hall throughout the weekend. The food drew universal praise, from the appetizers on Friday night through the Sunday salad buffet.

Local artist and historian Esther Darlington was at the Friday evening reception, and presented a cheque for $1,500 to the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society, which has hosted all nine plein air events going back to 2012. The weekend also featured history and art walks through Ashcroft.

The artists came from all over the province, with many coming from Vancouver Island, and there were several new faces. Two local students were also able to take part in the weekend, sponsored by Desert Sands Community School.

Nearly 100 works were on display at the "wet art" show and sale on Sunday afternoon, which was attended by several dozen people who had an opportunity to meet the artists. Many of the works at this year's show featured the Thompson River and the valley landscape; the fields at Desert Hills were also popular, as were several of Ashcroft's buildings and landmarks.

"The artists come here for the food and the vistas, and to reconnect with others," said organizer Jessica Clement, noting that there were quite a few new faces at this year's event.

"Everyone had a fantastic time, but they were thankful the weather was a bit cooler on Sunday."