The 2019 Southport Air Festival has something for everyone! On Friday and Saturday, June 14-15, artists from throughout the region will be coming to Southport to paint in our beautiful town. If you had ever thought you would try your hand at outdoor painting, en plein air, now is the time to sign up! Registration is $30 until May 31, then increases to $40 up to and including the day of the festival. More details are available at https:/upyourarts.org/plein-air-2019/
Up Your Arts and the City of Southport are co-hosting the festival this year. We have planned a variety of activities to please both residents and visitors who are interested in the artful goings on around town. All are free and open to the public.
Join us Friday afternoon, June 14, at Doc Meridian Winery on Howe Street to start your walking tour of Southport’s gallery district. Plan to visit Franklin Square Gallery, Ricky Evans Gallery, and Lantana’s Gallery & Fine Gifts within two blocks, then return to Doc Meridian for the opening night reception from 4-6pm.
We will be greeting participating plein air painters at the reception and showcasing our very own group of mega-talented artists, who have agreed to act as judges at the close of the festival. Cash bar, appetizers on the house, good conversation in the winery’s cozy courtyard, and jazz musician Dr. Ronnie Weinstein will accompany. Local artist Joseph Bardani will also be on hand to demonstrate the fine art of palette knife painting.
Many local restaurants are offering plein air specials this weekend and artists are encouraged to set up their easels and paint the sunset from the deck of American Fish Company, a popular watering hole down at the yacht basin. The Wet Paint Sale judges will also be exhibiting their artwork at several locations around town, including the Wine Rack, the Frying Pan, Cafe Koa, Dry Street Pub & Pizza, and Silver Coast Winery.
On Saturday, June 15, bring your appetite and your kids to Keziah Park at the corner of Lord and Moore streets. Joe Loves Lobster Rolls food truck will satisfy your taste buds all day while children of all ages exercise their painting passions from 10am-2pm under the guiding hand of art teachers Jen McCarthy and Patty Webb, or test their inner Piccasso with 2nd Story Art & Music School owners, Ginger Hedblom and Laurie Russ. Live music in the Keziah Park gazebo is in the air all day.
Also on Saturday afternoon, the city is hosting its 1st annual spring kitchen dessert tour, “Savor the Sweet Life in Southport.” Visitors and members of the Southport Historical Society will be strolling downtown streets nearby dressed in period costume to promote a “new” cookbook of recipes circulated at the turn of last century. The author of Hominy Muffins and Oyster Pie will autograph copies for sale next to Keziah Park when the tour ends. More information and tickets are available at https://www.southporthistoricalsociety.org/event/southports-1st-annual-spring-kitchen-tour/
When the plein air artists have wrapped up for the weekend, their freshly painted work will be on display at Keziah Park from 4-6pm. Come meet the painters during this Wet Paint Sale, discuss their techniques, and buy their art! You will be delighted to own some of the finest depictions of Southport landscapes and scenery available — many of the plein air artists have painted our town before and know precisely how to capture its charismatic charm. Don’t miss this opportunity –- you may get lucky and purchase an award winner! Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their work.
The Awards Ceremony starts at 4:30pm Saturday, during the Wet Paint Sale. City of Southport Mayor Jerry Dove will share top billing with Jeremy Truett, our Master of Ceremonies and very own entertainment ambassador. Mayor Dove’s top pick among plein air painters will receive his famous Mayor’s Award, and Jeremy will introduce our distinguished group of artist judges, whose favorite choices will reflect their individual tastes. You will have the opportunity to do the same by voting for the winner of the People’s Choice Award. The ballot you cast may be for the very same painter whose work is featured at the 2020 Southport Plein Air Festival!
The Up Your Arts Plein Air Committee was honored to have the support this year of local art legend Jim McIntosh, who graciously allowed us to feature his artwork in our festival literature. Jim has been instrumental to the success of this and previous plein air events in Southport and we look forward to doing him proud in years to come.
We also look forward to seeing you out and about in Southport on June 14-15, celebrating art, music, and fun on another beautiful day in paradise!