(Pictured: Sienna Ferguson)
On Oct. 14 from 3 to 6 p.m., downtown played host to the Asheville Area Arts Council’s annual plein air festival, City of 1,000 Easels, “a self-guided walking tour of visual artists at work in outdoor locations in downtown Asheville,” according to AAAC’s website. “Visual artists working in any media are invited to set up a miniature outdoor studio to create work live in front of an audience of passers-by.”
Painters of varying ages and styles raised temporary studios on downtown sidewalks and in parks. Attentive pedestrians got a passing look (or two or three if they stayed downtown long enough) at local artists in situ. Some portrayed their surroundings with a landscape or still-life; others took a more abstract, imaginative approach, depicting the non-figurative elements of the afternoon. Easel Rider, the city of Asheville’s mobile arts lab, ran a children’s area, where kids made encaustic-style pictures with melted crayons. At the center of the event — the center of downtown, at the Vance Monument — artist Jonas Gerard conducted one of his patented dance-meets-painting performances.
The resulting works from the Easels event were offered for sale via silent auction.