Online Originals: Art competition kicks off in the streets of New Bern

Online Originals

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Artists showed up with their canvas and paintbrushes on Monday in New Bern. It’s to kick off an art competition, the first of its kind in the city.  

“This is a real treat because people only see a finished piece in a gallery, in a museum, but they never actually see the creative process,” says Kippy Hammond, one of the organizers of Plein Air New Bern.  

“That’s what plein air means, it’s a French word meaning in the open air,” says Hammond.   

People can watch these artists all week in New Bern from 9 A.M. until 12 P.M. There’s also a gallery located at the New Bern Farmer’s Market shed so people can support their artwork.    

Schedule of events

“The painting subject here. You have such fabulous painting subjects, you’ve got the boats, you’ve got the historical houses, it’s a beautiful landscape, everywhere, so that’s why they’re here. 

Organizers say they had to get creative with this year’s competition – the inaugural competition was scheduled for last year, but was postponed due to COVID-19.  

They’re asking people to wear masks. There are also small pink flags around the artists as they paint – that’s to help keep social distancing. There’s also a virtual gallery people can visit.   

Tim Hinkin lives in New Bern.  He says it’s exciting to see events like this in the area.  

“It’s just intrinsically satisfying…it’s wonderful, for these people to do this quality of work, it’s mind-boggling,” says Hinkin.   

Richard Sneary is one of the competing artists. He says he’s not intimidated when people watch him.

“I just keep on painting. they ask questions, I’ll answer if I got any answer answers for them. If I am in busy mode, I may not respond too quickly,” says Sneary.  

Sneary drove in from Kansas City and has competed all over the country.   

“I’ve never been here. It’s more impressive than Charlotte,” Sneary jokes.  

Although, for him, these competitions aren’t always about winning.  

“Most of us have a good time out here. It’s therapy. Therapy for life I suppose,” says Sneary.

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