Brush Creek Art Walk Inspires Friendly Painting Competition

In a nod to art inspired by nature and music, this painting competition near the Country Club Plaza includes all three.

During September 13-15, art lovers can enjoy newly completed walkways along Brush Creek while local musicians perform and plein air artists paint from sunrise to sunset. For this friendly painting event dubbed the Brush Creek Art Walk, artists will have three days to complete paintings entirely on-site along the creek.

Plein air is a French term simply meaning “in the open air” and is used to describe the practice of painting outdoors. Local artist and event co-organizer Anne Garney regularly paints outdoors while visiting tropical locales around the world as well as scenic views of Kansas City.

For this competition, artists can set up in one of four “zones” designated along the scenic creek. The nearly four-mile area spans the Country Club Plaza, the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kauffman Legacy Park, Swope Park Tennis Courts and east along Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard to the Brush Creek Community Center and Spirit of Freedom Fountain.

The Brush Creek Art Walk began in 2012 and resulted in a spectacular exhibit of 81 paintings selected from 108 entries. Recently, the board of directors of the Arts Council of Metropolitan KC (ArtsKC, a 501 C-3, non-profit organization) has agreed to serve as the event’s fiscal sponsor.

“Early last year, Steve Lampone from Kansas City Parks and Recreation came to me with the idea of getting artists and musicians down along Brush Creek,” says Garney of the event’s origin. “They were just finishing up new walkways and wanted to encourage the public to visit and see the new improvements, nearly four miles of walks through beautiful trees and parkland. I asked artist Greg Summers to participate and together we decided on a three-day painting event and concert, the Brush Creek Art Walk.”

Last year, Paul Dorrell of the Leopold Gallery acted as the juror reviewing completed artwork from over 65 artists. Selected works from this year’s Brush Creek Art Walk will be on display with a reception on October 3, 2013, 5-8 p.m. at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center.

Music is also a key aspect of the event. “Music Director Patricia Gray helps put together the Sunday outdoor music concert at Theis Park Amphitheater along with a lot of support from Heidi Downer at KC Parks and Recreation,” Garney says. “Last year we had a wonderful lineup of bands including Barclay Martin Ensemble, Howard Iceberg and the Titanics, Hidden Pictures, Roger Pitts, Bob Walkenhorst and Jeff Porter. We are planning an equally great show this year and the bands will be posted on the website soon.”

The exhibition runs through October 29. The public is invited to view the juried paintings of Brush Creek. Prizes will be awarded to winning artists and paintings will be for sale.