The annual Plein Air Outdoor Arts Festival returns to the Nevada Northern Railway Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The art festival, which features a mix of local and traveling artists showcasing and creating works on site, gives attendees a chance to experience and create art.
“It’s certainly a unique opportunity for artists to create and showcase their work on a National Historic Landmark railroad,” NNRy Executive Director Mark Bassett said. “And it allows those coming from out of town to ‘get away from it all’ with an escape to Ely. We also liked the idea of adding the NNRy as another, unique venue for the arts in this area for both patrons and artists. We love the Art and Wine Walk at the Renaissance Village, Arts in the Park and, soon, the Ely Art Bank; so why not one more?
“I’m proud to be working at such a renowned, historic attraction as the NNRy and this event will, hopefully, add to the railroad’s and Ely’s consideration as a destination for the arts as well.”
The festival, now in its third year, has more than doubled in size since its first year. This year, about 13 people will be participating, including the featured guest artist Colleen Reynolds from Salt Lake City and several local artists, including John Steinauer and Darl Clark.
There will also be Indian crafts and Indian tacos made by Delaine Spillsbury and Laura Rainey and two interactive booths: potter and dyed scarves. At the pottery booth, people can purchase an unfinished piece of ceramic or Raku for $5 to $25 and paint it. It will then be fired in a kiln and will be ready to be taken home that same day. The scarves booth will allow guests to dye their own scarves on site.
“Honestly, it’s an all-around fun, relaxing and nice time with the ability to watch artists in action and even create art yourself,” Bassett said. “Visions of the railroad are reflected on canvas and become an artistic record of our past and present. There’s both a wonderful contrast and synergy between the arts and our historic trains and railroad. If you stretch your imagination a bit, it’s like the artists painting at easels in Central Park or in Paris against the Louvre, only here the backdrop is a century-old national historic landmark railroad with locomotives, trains, rolling stock and the beauty of the natural landscape surrounding it.”
The connection between artists and patrons also helps make this event a unique experience, NNRy’s Dany Feinstein said.
“What’s also nice is that the artists seem to share camaraderie in this experience and there is a unique synergy between art, artists, guests and patrons of the arts,” Feinstein said. “Take in a train ride and it’s a great way for friends and families to enjoy Labor Day weekend. Plus you can take home a uniquely original piece of art as a souvenir.”
For first time attendees, the art festival is something they hope will keep people coming back each year.
“What makes NNRy’s Plein Air Outdoor Arts Festival particularly unique is that most of the artists and artisans participating will be actively engaged in live art,” Bassett said. “In other words, they will actually be creating art right before your eyes…It’s a wonderful and unique opportunity to watch artists in action, to see the process of how art of various forms is created and, in some cases, do it yourself.”
With artists creating original pieces on site, the chance for guests to create their own artwork and the chance to visit the NNRy, the Plein Air Outdoor Arts Festival provides a unique experience for residents and tourists alike.
“It’s something else to do, whether alone or with family and friends,” Feinstein said. “And it’s different, fun and, perhaps, inspiring.”
For more information about the NNRy, the Plein Air Outdoor Arts Festival or for tickets, please call 775-289-2085.