NOW in ENC: Plein Air New Bern to feature top-name artists in week-long event

WNCT Now Updates

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) Artists are painting their way across the country in an open-air arts competition. This month’s feature is in New Bern.

From May 10-16, internationally and nationally acclaimed artists will converge at New Bern to spend the week painting the history, beauty and character of the east region.

“Plein Air” is a centuries old tradition of painting the real world outdoors, directly on site. Various mediums can be utilized depending on the artist’s preference, including oils, pastel, acrylics, and

The Plein Air New Bern event will bring 28 artists from across the United States to our area to paint in their chosen mediums and unique styles. Their work of completed wet canvases will be displayed throughout the week at the New Bern Farmer’s Market, 421 S. Front Street. They will also be featured online in a virtual exhibition, hosted by the Bank of the Arts of New Bern.

The event will also feature a Quick Paint on May 15, allowing artists of all ages the opportunity to participate.

This event will be conducted in full compliance with the NC Department of Health and Human
Services recommendations outlined in the “Interim Guidance for Indoor and Outdoor Venues for
Live Performances, February 26, 2021” (and later versions).

Plein Air New Bern 2021

Week in Focus

Arriving with blank canvases in New Bern on the morning of May 10th, each artist starts the race to create a brand-new body of work in just 5 days. Spectators are welcome at safe social distances, so bring a chair and a mask for watching the process of creation from start to finish.

  • Monday, May 10 Noon – Artists start “art spotting” in New Bern between the rivers, look for wide-brim hats and backpack easels and join in the fun. Artists Check-in begins at 9 am at the New Bern Farmer’s Market, followed by the artists beginning the week at noon, setting up easels and painting in downtown New Bern.
  • Tuesday, May 11 – Artists paint throughout Craven County with live demonstrations in downtown New Bern.

8:30 a.m. Lynn Mehta (live demonstration)- Craven County countryside- Location: TBA

11:00 a.m. Katie Dobson Cundiff (live demonstration)- Marine- Location: TBA

5:00 a.m. Dee Beard Dean (live demonstration) – Waterfront- Location: TBA

  • Wednesday, May 12 – Artists paint throughout Craven County with live demonstrations in downtown New Bern

8:30 a.m. John Eiseman (live demonstration) – Craven County countryside- Location: TBA

11:00 a.m. Bill Farnsworth (live demonstration) – Historic District- Location: TBA

5:30 p.m. Andre Lucero (live demonstration)- Gardens- Location: TBA

9:00 p.m. Shelby Keefe (live demonstration) – Nocturnal- Location: TBA

  • Thursday, May 13– Focus on Historical sites of Craven County with live demonstrations in downtown New Bern

9:30 a.m. James Richards (live demonstration)- Figures in the landscape- Location: TBA

11:30 a.m. Phil Starke (live demonstration) – Historical Site- Location: TBA

4:00 p.m. Richard Sneary (live demonstration)- Architecture – Location: TBA

6:00 p.m. Kim Hall (live demonstration) – Waterfront New Bern – Location: TBA

  • Friday, May 14 – Oriental – Bring your sunscreen and watch the artists paint the docks, town, and waterfront of Oriental, NC. Choose a painting for your home at the pop-up exhibit of the day’s paintings.
  • Saturday, May 15 – Quick Paint and Wet Canvas Exhibit

10:00 a.m. Paint shoulder to shoulder with featured artists as art lovers, young and old, paint together on location in downtown New Bern, competing for fun and awards

3:00 p.m. Display and judging of the Quick Paint paintings – adjacent to New Bern’s Farmer’s Market.

4:00 p.m. Awards will be announced for the Plein Air New Bern 2021 featured artists competition in the main gallery.

All day:

-Exhibit and sale of all the week’s collection of paintings is open to the

-There will be a small fee for participating in the paint-out, pre-registration
is recommended.

-“Art watching” and all art exhibits are free to the public.

  • Sunday, May 16 – Demonstration by winner of the Artists’ Choice Award and Wet Canvas Exhibit continues until 2 PM.


For more information, visit

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