European Artists to Gather For Plein-Air Painting in Wheeling

Susan Johnston, first president of Artworks Around Town, will once again welcome artists from around the world to Wheeling this summer for a week of plein-air painting.

WHEELING — The first week of July will see artists from all over Europe gathering in Wheeling for a weeklong plein-air painting experience.

For more than 20 years, painters from Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, the United States and France have gathered to paint in a different host country each year. The “Journees de Peinture” is all about painting, sightseeing and fellowship.

Artists are housed by local residents who are often artists themselves. This year’s event is under the leadership of Bobbie Priebe and her committee, who have been working on plans since last summer. The amount of work involved is monumental and required months of behind the scenes work by chairman Priebe. She has met regularly with her committee, Meg Geroch, Sandra Hadsell, Pat Jacobson, Bob Sako, Greg Siegwart, Janet Sheehan, Janet Wang, Donna Hall and Anne Foreman

Priebe explained that plein-air painting means the artists paint outside. Setting up their portable easels, they paint the scenes in front of them, whether the Alps or the Ohio River bridges, these talented artists portray their interpretation of what they see. According to Priebe, this year’s locations include: Wheeling and Oglebay parks, Raven Rocks near Bethesda, New Vrindaben near Moundsville and Wheeling locations, including the Heritage Port and other Ohio River views. Painters will gather on June 30 and paint all week until Friday, July 5.

According to the first president of Artworks Around Town Susan Johnston, “The Journees de Peinture began in Seysell, France by a restaurant owner named Jacques who wanted to develop activities that would bring activities to the community and support local businesses.”

Painters who participated in the late 1990s were from Carouge, Suisse and Tain/Tourons, France. In the summer of 2000, James and Kathleen Keegan of Bethany, who owned a house in Seysell, arranged to have their neighbor, Susan Johnston participate in the week of painting in Tournons. During Susan’s stay, the artists expressed an interest in painting in the United States.

The next summer, she organized the event here in 2001. Every year since then, artists have met at host countries which have included, France, England Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. This year’s group includes three artists from France, one from Switzerland, two from Germany, two from England and eight from the United States. Next year, painters will meet at Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, England.

Artworks Around Town is pleased to provide space for this assembly of international artists. While not directly involved in preparation of the event, Artworks is honored to welcome these artists to their gallery. Many of the United States painters are members of Artworks. The rich and varied scenery of the Ohio Valley should give the artists many opportunities for stunning artwork.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, June 30, painters, hosts and visitors will enjoy a free reception at Artworks Around Town. This event as well as all painting opportunities are open to the public. There is a charge for meals during the week for anyone participating in the sessions. Deadline for meal reservations is June 11. Price, schedules and registration forms are available at the desk at Artworks Around Town, 2200 Market St., Wheeling.

There is a nominal charge each day for food provided by various venues. For a more detailed list of times and locations, meal reservations and any questions pertaining to the week, contact Chairman Bobbi Priebe by email bjpriebe@yahoo.com. Painting Schedule: Monday, July 1, New Vrindaben; Tuesday, July 2, Wheeling Suspension, Port, Island, etc.; Wednesday, July 3, Ravens Rock, Beallsville; Thursday, July 4, Martins Ferry School Campus (giving good views of the river); Friday at Oglebay.

A farewell dinner and reception will take place at Artworks on Friday evening and will be catered by Undos with dessert from Oliver’s. Reservations must be in by June 11. Participating artists will hang their work for a week in the new Studio Gallery at the north end. Some of the work will be for sale.

The regularly scheduled First Friday Gallery Hop will be held the following Friday at Artworks, July 12.

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