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Plein Air show opens at art center

Awards ceremony begins at 5:30

The Columbia Center for the Arts, in Hood River, hosts its second annual plein-air painting and writing event "Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2006: Painting Outdoors from the Mountains to the Sea."

At least 40 artists from the Gorge and other communities throughout the Northwest, and approximately 20 prominent Gorge writers, are participating in the event. The event began on Aug. 24 with a five-day painting competition and write-out, when artists and writers captured impressions in five artistically inspiring locations throughout the Gorge.

Award winning plein-air painter and instructor Susan Diehl, from Arizona, is judging the paintings. Winning paintings and works of invited writers will be on display at the Columbia Art Gallery for one month, beginning with the show opening on Friday, Sept. 1.

The public is invited to the opening, which features an artist awards ceremony at 5:30 in the center's gallery, and a special reading by the writers of their works, in the theater from 6 to 8. Wine and hor d'oeuvres will be served in the gallery throughout the evening.

About the writing component, Rehfeld says, "It's unique." She said that while plein-air painting events are quite popular throughout the country, especially in beautiful places like the Gorge, "We don't know of any other place than here in the Gorge where a writing event is included. We see it as just one more benefit of being involved with arts in the Gorge."

Diane Allen, a poet from White Salmon and organizer for the writing event says: "This is an amazing opportunity for artists and writers to share an experience. We all have eyes, and we all look at things, but we all see things differently. It will be very interesting to see how all these artists and writers look at pretty much the same scenes, and then come up with so many different interpretations of them."

Joanie Thomson, executive Director for the Columbia Center for the Arts, sums it up by saying: "The breathtaking vistas and scenic diversity of the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River Gorge region make it an ideal place to do plein air painting and writing. On account of that, we believe that this show has the potential to be one of our premier shows for years to come."


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