AMANA — Artists will be moving out of their studios and into the fresh air at the 10th annual Iowa Plein Air festival Sept. 1 to 3 in Amana.

Dubbed “Fresh Paint,” the event combines the strengths of the Midwest artisans with Iowa’s summer scenery.

“We are creating a modern day regionalism,” said Jenise Catiri, owner of Catiri’s Art Oasis in Amana, sponsor and host of the event.

Plein-air painting — painting outdoors — is part of Eastern Iowa’s history. Outdoor painting was part of the offerings at the Stone City Art Colony in 1932 and 1933, co-founded by regionalist artist Grant Wood, known for his rolling landscapes. Among his pupils was award-winning West Amana artist Carl Flick, who captured Amana life in his works and became one of Wood’s great friends.

“We have a long history of plein-air coming to Amana with Grant Wood and Carl Flick coming (here) and plein-air painting,” Catiri said.

The style has an even longer history.

Moving outdoors allowed painters to concentrate on working quickly to capture a moment in time, rather than “going over and over” a piece in their studio, she added.

“It was more this fresh look to paintings. They were capturing light, capturing the moment, the feel,” she said.

The Fresh Paint festival not only builds on that outdoor painting tradition, but also offers visitors the chance to connect with the artists and watch paintings take shape.

Catiri expects about 40 artists from five Midwestern states to set up their easels.

It’s not too late to join the event. Artists working in any medium and at any skill level are invited to participate. Artist registration is $50. Participants also can submit one piece of artwork into the competition, vying for prizes.

Budding artists ages 12 and under can participate in the fifth annual Kids’ Fresh Paint event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 3.  

The festival wraps up with a red-carpet dinner and awards ceremony Sept. 3.

Tickets to the dinner are $25. Awards will be announced at 7 p.m.; admission is free for those who wish to attend only that part of the program. The “fresh” paintings from all the artists will be available to purchase after they’re judged.


WHAT: Fresh Paint: 10th annual Iowa Plein Air open air painting event and competition
WHEN: Sept. 1 to 3
WHERE: Catiri’s Art Oasis, 4506 220th Trl., Amana; and various sites around Amana
ARTIST REGISTRATION: $50,; includes two tickets dinner tickets for Sept. 3 Awards Party
CHILDREN: Kids Paint, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 2, for ages 12 and under, in front of Catiri’s Art Oasis, 4506 220th Trl., Amana; free
AWARDS DINNER & PARTY: 5 p.m. Sept. 3, Price Creek Center next to Amana Visitors Center, 622 46th Ave., Amana; $25,; free admission at 7 p.m. for awards ceremony
INFORMATION:, (319) 622-3969 or email