Top Art Festivals in Cannon Beach
By Michael Kew
It’s quite logical for an Oregon Coast gem to host art-related events, and no season bests the lovely greeny-blues of Cannon Beach in late spring. Thanks to the Cannon Beach Gallery Group, May and June see two artsy affairs in town, which was named “One of the Top 100 Art Towns in America” by author John Villani, and “One of the World’s 100 Most Beautiful Places” by National Geographic. Oh, and it’s just a 90-minute drive from Portland.
Not your average “en plein air” (in the open air) event, this year’s Plein Air & More (June 23-25, 2017) will feature nearly 50 artists who will create unique paintings throughout Cannon Beach. Additionally, leading up to the weekend, there will be workshops hosted by four well-known plein air artists: Mike Ranger, Anton Pavlenko, the mother-son duo of Hazel and Brand Schlesinger, and Michael Orwick. If you’ve ever wanted to capture coastal scenery with a paintbrush, this is a special opportunity for hands-on expertise in the nuances of light, shapes, shadows and composition.
As if that’s not enough, this is America’s sole plein air festival that embraces all of the different artistic media — a vast spectrum of art mediums will be on display, from ceramics to woodworking to jewelry to sculpture and carving. Plus, it’s a kid-friendly atmosphere, with live music, a stilt-walker, an “Artist’s Swarm,” local food and drink, even a raku firing on the beach!
“Cannon Beach’s incredible scenery has been attracting artists for years,” local marketer Bonnie Gilchrist said. “Who wouldn’t want to come here to paint?”
Occurring six weeks earlier, don’t forgo the annual Spring Unveiling Arts Festival, (May 5-7, 2017), when Cannon Beach’s 11 galleries pull their curtains back to reveal new pieces created by their featured artists during the long, dark months of winter. Each gallery is given 40 minutes for unveilings, affording art lovers plenty of time to move from gallery to gallery. The galleries also feature artist receptions for a few hours on Saturday evening, replete with local beer, wine and live music.
Of course, many of these same art pieces began sometime around Cannon Beach’s famed Stormy Weather Arts Festival, happening the first weekend of November, three full days of art and music events. Rain or shine, Cannon Beach’s art community will gather to showcase its many talents, and the town’s galleries, shops, hotels and restaurants will host a variety of writers, singers, composers, painters and sculptors.