By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Sept. 15, 2022) Artists from several states are packing up their easels and painting materials — and maybe even a poncho and some sunscreen — to head to Worcester County this Sunday for the beginning of “Paint Worcester County.”
From this Sunday, Sept. 18 through Friday, Sept. 23, 46 plein-air artists from five different states will descend upon Worcester County to take advantage of all the sights the county has to offer — from Pocomoke City to Ocean Pines and everywhere in between.
The participants will be competing for an “attractive” cash prize, according to a press release from the Worcester County Arts Council, which facilitates the event.
The week-long event will build up to the “Wet Paint” sale and a public exhibit at the Berlin Public Library fro 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 23.
“We invite everyone to the exhibit on (Sept. 23) because they can see the entire body of work,” Worcester County Arts Council Executive Director Anna Mullis said. “It’s a wonderful chance to meet artists and mingle with them. You can still smell the fresh paint on the paintings when you look around. It’s quite overwhelming to see the beauty these artists can create.”
Mullis said that after many years as the “Paint Berlin” event, it became time in 2021 to expand beyond the borders of the town.
“Our experience from last year was that participants appreciate this extension, which allows them to spread out and paint at any geographic location of the county,” Mullis said. “We have such wonderful locations in Snow Hill, Pocomoke City, Assateague and Ocean City.”
The event has been stretched out over more days now to give artists some flexibility because of the additional territory they can cover.
Even with the expanded area, Berlin is still expected to draw more than a few artists.
“As an arts and entertainment district, we are thrilled to have artists come to town and paint how beautiful it is,” Berlin Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said. “Everyone likes to watch the artists and it’s an absolute joy to host this in Berlin.”
Mullis said she also sees this as a great opportunity for county residents and visitors to learn about the creative process of painting with an easel, and especially painting “plein air,” which is French for “in the open air.”
“It’s done by a lot of artists,” Mullis said. “A lot of artists like to paint on location and a lot of artist like to take advantage of it because it creates a challenge. They set up the easel on location but it’s all about the life, the weather and all these elements they have to face in the process of painting.”
“This is a wonderful experience for the community and visitors who don’t have an opportunity to see an artist with an easel painting on the side of the street,” Mullis said. “A lot of artists like to engage in conversation about their creative process, which is educational for anybody who gets in touch with the artist.”