12th annual Art in the Open festival is best one to date
The easels have been packed away and the artists departed for another year, but the organisers of Europe's biggest plein air festival, Wexford Art in the Open, already have their sights set on 2020 when the lucky 13th event will be held.
'2019 really was the biggest and best festival yet. The artists were so happy with the paint out venues that most of them want to return next year', said event organiser Alma Hynes, who thanked the participants, the public and the sponsors for contributing to the success of the nine-day event.
The festival attracted 220 professional and amateur artists from all over the world, many of them repeat visitors, who came here for the stunning south east landscapes and the typically friendly welcome from locals who have every reason to approve of an internationally-recognised event that doesn't cause noise or disturbance of any kind but in the words of Ms Hynes is 'colourful, friendly, fun and creative and brings a major tourism boost to the town'.
Art in the Open generates 1,500 bed nights to the Wexford economy each year, plus a large amount of visitor spending.
For members of the public, it is a unique opportunity to see artists at work, while the annual gala exhibition in Green Acres offers the chance to see and purchase top-notch work, some of it at bargain prices.
The Three Sister counties of Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny provided this year's painting backdrops that included Wells House, Tintern Abbey, Ballymore Demesne, Dunmore East and Graiguenamanagh.
The medieval streets of Wexford town and the quayfront hosted a number of daytime and nocturne painting sessions, including a Saturday afternoon charity Quick Draw in aid of It's Good to Talk counselling service, which transformed South Main Street into a bustling Montmarte.
Due to a huge response to the festival Patron scheme which offers people membership for €50, entitling them and a friend to attend an exhibition preview and receive the amount off the cost of a painting if they choose to buy, it will be possible to book on the website when registration for 2020 opens later this year.
The festival committee is very grateful to the team of 22 local volunteers who put in trojan work to ensure the success of Art in the Open.
The final amount raised for It's Good to Talk from the Quick Draw event, catalogue sales and a raffle will be announced soon.