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Galleries Organizing “Artists of Mystic Festival” and Plein Air Painting Event

Not even a pandemic can crush the spirit of southeastern Connecticut’s artist community.

The Finer Line Gallery, a 35-year downtown Mystic institution at 48 West Main Street, is hosting a one-day “Artists of Mystic Festival” on Saturday, August 8, which will feature a number of related events, most notably a collection of some of the area’s most accomplished artists painting en plein air along the streets of the town and the banks of the Mystic River.

Following the tradition of the outdoor painters of the 19th and early 20th centuries, artists will be found all day at their French easels capturing in oil or watercolor the bustling village atmosphere and shifting light along the river. Participating artists are working by special invitation and represent the finest of today’s regional landscape and marine painters including Don Demers, Jacqueline Jones, Jonathan McPhillips, Del-Bourree Bach, Neal Hughes, Russ Kramer, Leif Nilsson, Len Mizerek and other notable artists. Additional studio works by these exceptional artists will also be on exhibit and available for purchase at special pricing during the Festival.

All paintings completed that day, framed and ready to take home, will be offered for sale through the Finer Line Gallery beginning at 5:30 pm, under a special festival tent next to the former Bank of America building on Main Street. Live music will accompany light refreshments and the public is welcome to view and bid on the works until 8pm. Donna Williston, owner of the Finer Line, is cutting in half the standard gallery commission on any of the fresh works sold during the day. “The artist community was hit hard by the shutdown, as we all were, and by hosting this event I’m hoping to give a little back, and shine a public spotlight on the major contribution art, and particularly representative painting, make to our region.”

Also that day, beginning at noon, there will be art demonstrations on the sidewalk, and a chance to meet our art instructors for fall classes, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the afternoon hosted by the Mystic Chamber of Commerce for the brand new Betsy Barry Studio/Gallery, featuring the acclaimed Old Lyme artist’s explorations of nature and botanicals in colored pencil and signature housewares. In addition, the Russ Kramer Marine Art Gallery and Studio will be offering special one-day pricing on yachting and America’s Cup prints, and the Uptown Gallery will be hosting artist’s talks during the day, plus showing new works by many of the area’s finest painters. All three of these art spaces are located on the second floor above the Finer Line Gallery.

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