In the fall of 2022, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will welcome outdoor artists to compete, host painting demonstrations and have a public art sale to help preserve the land, a press release states.

Friends of the Smokies, an official nonprofit for the national park, announced the event late last week — the first ever “Plein Air in the Park.”

“En plein air” is the practice of painting outdoors.

From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, 2022, 20 artists will be stationed throughout the national park, painting.

Former Tennessee First Lady, Crissy Haslam will serve as the organization’s honorary chair.

In the release, she said, “Tennesseans are blessed to have one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service in our state, and the opportunity to have 20 nationally acclaimed plein air artists here to interpret its beauty is unparalleled.”

On Oct. 1, judging and a ticketed gala sell will be held at the Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville. A public sell also will be held the following day, Oct. 2.

Proceeds will benefit Forever Places, a fund created by Friends of the Smokies to support preservation efforts.

Historic cabins, churches, mills and barns require upkeep throughout the park.

Friends of the Smokies Executive Director and CEO Tim Chandler said it makes sense to bring a plein air competition to America’s most-visited national park, since other parks in the country also have been venues for the event.

“The Smokies is world renowned for its beauty, mountain culture and diversity of plant and animal life,” he said. “Weather and light composition can change rapidly in the Smokies, so painting outdoors will be a challenge for the artists.”

The competition will be judged by Seth Hopkins, the executive director of an art museum that was voted first place in USA Today’s Best Reader’s Choice program.

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