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Plein Air Painting Festival Kicks Off Art Week in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  This week is Art Week in Des Moines, with events leading to the Des Moines Art Festival in downtown Des Moines.

The Des Moines Social Club got things started over the weekend with a 48-hour outdoor painting festival.

“The 48-hour Plein Air Painting Festival is basically a weekend of outdoor painting,” said Katie Ortman of the Des Moines Social Club. “So artists show up here at the gallery on Friday, sign up for a location, and they have 48 hours to go out somewhere in Des Moines or around Des Moines and paint what they see.”

The locations are recognizable, like Gray’s Lake, The Des Moines Art Center, and the Des Moines Skyline.

On Monday night, an artists' reception will be held to view all the art, with approximately 25 total pieces. Prospective bidders will also be able to view the art this week.

“We’ll have a closed bidding auction tonight through Sunday. People can put bids in on the pieces, and the highest bidder will win the piece,” said Ortman. The proceeds will be split between the artists and the Des Moines Social Club.

Having the artists on location in Des Moines increases exposure for art in the area, as the artists can interact with passersby.

“Being outdoors, getting to interact with passersby, I think is a really important part of this event because so many of them come back to check out the art,” said Ortman. “Last year one of our artists chose Gray’s Lake as her location, there was a couple sitting at the end of the dock on the lake, and they actually came back to the artist reception and bought her piece.”

The reception will take place at the Des Moines Social Club from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday.