Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 18, 2014

Artists to be part of Rose Festival

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — The red carpet will be rolled out for dozens of regional artists when the two-day Piney Woods Plein Air Paint Out! opens on April 25. Originally scheduled for later this month, the event will move to the new date to join the Thomasville Rose Show and Festival.

Beginning with registration on April 25, participating plein air artists will spend two days painting out of doors then offer their work for sale to the public on Saturday night.  The term “plein air” is derived from the French phrase en plein air, which means in the open air.  The practice exploded in the late 1800s when the Impressionist artists took to the outdoors to capture light.   Plein air is still attracting artists and collectors because of the freshness of the paintings of nature.   

 The organizers chose honorary chairs who have a passion for art.  The watercolor rose paintings of one of them, artist Bob Dixon, were honored at the White House at an event hosted by Nancy Reagan.

Piney Woods Plein Air Paint Out! Honorary Event Chairs are Lauren Basford, executive director of the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce and Connie and Frank Helms, owners of Big Oak Rug Gallery.

Basford is a  sculptor and  woodworker. Helms are art collectors, and Frank is the past president of La Moyne Center for the Visual Arts.  Boston Mayor Danny Groover is an admirer of early 19th Century architecture and landscaping. 

“I always believed that Thomas County was the perfect setting for this event because of the natural beauty here in the Plantation Trace Region of Georgia,” says Basford. “I am pleased to see it become a reality this year.” 

The hottest new experience in plein air events — night painting — is on the April 25 evening schedule.  The public can watch the artists paint under the streetlights after the Rose Show and Festival parade that night. On April 26, the artists will be welcomed to Boston to paint grand old oak trees and canopy roads. “We welcome  artists here, as they are a large part of the reason our historic downtown is blossoming,” said Ann McCrickard, head of the Boston Tourism Committee.

The Accidental Gallery, Boardwalk Art Space and the Wiregrass Gallery are the three galleries that make up the Piney Woods Alliance. “By bringing some of the fifty artists that show at these galleries and other artists from around the region, they can create fine works of art and find new customers.” explains Marty Haythorne, founder of the Wiregrass Gallery.  Another Wiregrass artist and plein air painter, Rebecca Hendrix, is looking forward to the event. “Plein air events are widely held all over the country. One of the largest in the nation is the annual ‘Forgotten Coast’ plein air event that attracts national artists to the Florida panhandle.  Although we don’t have the ocean, we have beautiful plantations,  historic buildings and one of the most charming downtown areas in the country — especially at night.”

At the sale the public will be treated to fun, fine art, door prizes and food provided by local restaurants.

Tickets to the art sale are $15 and are available at Wiregrass Gallery on Broad Street and at the shops in historic downtown Boston. Artists can secure an application at any of the Piney Woods galleries or by sending an e-mail to