“It was such an honor to immerse myself in the iconic scenes of the Smokies and to interpret the feelings I experienced when viewing the craftsmanship of the early Appalachian Mountain settlers,” Newman said.
Students from Fulton and Gatlinburg-Pittman high schools were also provided an opportunity to create plein air style paintings onsite at Elkmont after receiving instruction from professional artists. The sale of their artwork generated $2,000 in revenue to support park projects. The following students received awards: 1st Place Student Award: Ava Jensen from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School; 2nd Place Student Award, Rocio Valenzuela from Fulton High School; and 3rd Place Student Award Raven Walker from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.
“I’m really grateful to be here and experience this because I can paint without stressing out too much because nature is relaxing me. I’m so grateful to take all these images in and put into a painting in my own perspective that I can choose because I can change it. This field trip is different from others because instead of learning and looking, I’m using my mind to take in the image and translate it in my head in an artistic way. Instead of just looking at it I actually get to create it,” said Fulton student Maria Elena Mendez Aquino.
Plein Air Smokies also provided opportunities for regional artists to participate in a live, two-hour ‘quick draw’ painting experience alongside the 20 juried artists in downtown Maryville. The following artists received awards at this event. In the juried artist category, Charlie Hunter won 1st Place, to be followed by John Guernsey in 2nd Place and Shelby Keefe in 3rd Place. In the open category, Susan Duke Waters won 1st Place, to be followed by Donna Brumbergs in 2nd Place and Alex Eisenzopf in 3rd Place.
The park has long been recognized as a place of inspiration for artists, and in turn, the art they produced then and now, helps inspire visitors to connect, care and practice stewardship. The presenting sponsor for the event was Toyota Knoxville and Lexus of Knoxville. Plein Air Smokies was also sponsored by Anakeesta, Home Federal Bank, RT Lodge, Blount Partnership, Arrowmont, Vienna Coffee Company, The District Gallery, Plein Air Magazine and Maryville College.