Center prepares for exhibit and festival

Published 7:19 pm Friday, July 16, 2021

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will host a new exhibit, “Chasing the Light,”  from July 29 to Sept. 4 in the Center’s Norfolk Foundation and BB&T Galleries.

The works highlighted in this exhibit are plein air, a form of painting that requires painters to go to an outdoor location and paint what they see. This takes multiple days as they chase the light that constantly changes as they paint to get the right shadows and add dimension.

The paintings on display are by the Suffolk Plein Air Society. These members are from Suffolk, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton, who meet once a month to paint at various locations. Around 60 of these paintings will be displayed.

“There’s going to be a nice variety,” said Sandy Waters, the assistant exhibition manager. “It won’t be just plein air, but some still-lifes and portraits too.”

This exhibit leads up to the Plein Air Festival Sept. 7-11. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has held plein air camps in the past, but nothing quite to this magnitude. Artists from around the country, including Maryland and Florida, will be present. The center has partnered with the Suffolk Art League and Suffolk Tourism to put together this event.

The festival will start with two workshops by Thomas Bradshaw and Barbara Harris, with pre-registration required at the beginning of the week. The main event will be on Saturday with the Quick Draw. During this, painters will have from noon to 2 p.m. to paint what’s in front of them. This will take place on North Main Street during Taste of Suffolk, allowing the public to watch as they enjoy local eateries. At 2 p.m., brushes will go down and a judge will give ribbons to the winners.

“We really hope people will come out to watch the painters,” said Waters. “Businesses and the local community can expect to host this community involvement opportunity.”

There will be a raffle for a plein air painting of the Suffolk Seaboard Station donated by artist Brian Murphy during the festival. There are only 250 raffle tickets available for $10 each or three for $25 at the Suffolk Center or online. All proceeds from the raffle benefit the festival.

For more information, visit SuffolkPleinAir.org.