SELINSGROVE — Artists sometimes find beauty where others see ordinary sights. Next Saturday, artists will scatter throughout town to capture in oil and ink “the Grove’s” beauty in the open air.

The Selinsgrove Area Chamber of Commerce and Allen A. Shaffer Insurance will co-sponsor Canvas the Grove, the First Annual Plein Air Competition on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Judging will take place in “The Gallery Lot” at 204 N. Market St., next to the Selinsgrove Inn, at 12:30 p.m. Children’s art activities will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon.

“We’re excited about it,” said Helen Walter, president of the Selinsgrove Area Chamber of Commerce. “There seems to be good interest from artists.”

Canvas the Grove invites artists of all ages, skill and experience levels to create a “plein air style,” picture of any setting in the downtown Selinsgrove area, giving them an opportunity to share creative talents while competing for cash prizes and enjoying the “open air.”

Plein Air artists must have their canvases stamped and certified in order to qualify for judging. Stamping begins at All Saints Episcopal Church, 129 N. Market St., at 9:30 a.m. Competitors will then have two hours, from 10 a.m. till noon, to create their artwork in the medium of their choice, whether oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, etc.

There will be at least three judges: Cristi Beeler Nobre da Veiga, art teacher in the Selinsgrove Area School District; Lynn Buck, Selinsgrove resident with a master of fine arts (MFA) from Bennington College, in Vermont; and Alice Anne Schwab, executive director of the Susquehanna Art Museum, in Harrisburg.

Additionally, one painting will be given the Viewer’s Choice award. So, Walter added, “We’re encouraging the public to come to put in their vote for their favorites, also.”

David Jones, owner of Allen A. Shaffer Insurance, in Shamokin Dam, raised the idea for the event with the Chamber of Commerce.

“My wife is a painter, and I’ve been to several plein air events,” Jones said. “I just thought Selinsgrove is a perfect place to do one. It has a great downtown to showcase, and there’s a lively artist community around here.”

“We were thrilled he approached us,” Walter said. “Part of our theme here at the Selinsgrove Chamber of Congress is ‘Discover Selinsgrove.’ We just want people to be aware of the beautiful town we have and encourage shopping locally at small businesses.”

Prizes include first place $500, second place $350, third place $250 and Viewer’s Choice Winner, $400.

Artists may choose where they want to paint. Both Walter and Jones noted a number of picturesque spots in Selinsgrove, including the community garden, the Susquehanna River, rolling hillsides and the rural town settings.

“It will be very interesting to see where they will choose to do their artwork,” Walter said.

“People don’t realize the talent of artistry in our area,” Jones said. “There are amazing artists here, and we have a beautiful landscape to showcase.”

Joe and Heather Bohn, treasurer of the Selinsgrove COC, will staff a children’s art area at the Gallery Lot. Youngsters will be provided with supplies to create their own works of art.

“We like to do family-oriented events and tie in with the children,” Walter said.

The cost to enter is $25 per artist, which includes a complimentary lunch. To register, visit www.discoverselinsgrove.com. Checks and registration forms may be mailed to: Selinsgrove Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 84, Selinsgrove, PA 17870, or paid the day of the event. For more information contact: SelinsgroveChamberofCommerce@gmail.com or call 570-850-0797.

Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com

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