Artists painting outdoors at their easels will be popping up like springtime flowers this week as the Cape Ann Plein Air Festival kicks off Monday in each of Cape Ann’s communities.

The 35 juried artists come from a pool of more than 200 applicants.

This year’s festival features the juried artists from 2020, when the event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both organizers and artists are eager to resume the festival in person this year.

The first public event takes place Monday, Oct. 4, at the American Legion Amaral Bailey Post 113, 14 Church St. in Manchester, from 6 to 8 p.m., when all the artists will gather and show one of their works created since they arrived Sunday.

“We don’t waste any time in getting started,” said Susan Coviello, the event’s executive director. “Most are these artists are very well known in the plein air circuit. Each year we have new artists and some have never been to Cape Ann before. This festival is about painting the beauty that is Cape Ann.”

Artists come from near and far, including Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, and Missouri. Six artists are from Essex County; David Drinon of Andover, and David Bareford, John Caggiano, Dan DeLouise, Paul George and Susan Lynn, of greater Cape Ann.

The programs are varied, from an evening paint — the Nocturne event — on the historic peninsula of Bearskin Neck in Rockport on Thursday, to a quick draw event at Maritime Gloucester next Monday, Oct. 11. Additionally, there are demonstrations throughout the week.

New this year, Coviello said Cape Ann Savings Bank has given the festival the use of its storefront at 123 Main St. in downtown Oct. 4 to 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is welcome to stop in and view the work.

Another new event will be a “paint out” on Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Cape Ann Museum Green, 13 Poplar St., off Grant Circle. “Anyone can stop by to watch the artists paint and they will be for sale in the afternoon,” said Coviello. “We are excited about our partnership with the Cape Ann Museum on this event.”

The gala takes place on Saturday, Oct. 9 at the newly opened Glen T. MacLeod Cape Ann YMCA where 175 artworks will be for sale during a festive gathering of artists and art lovers.

“We wanted a big space for social distancing this year, and we were thrilled to partner with them to host it there,” said Coviello.

The judges for the festival are Cindy Baron, a nationally recognized artist in both watercolor and oil, who served as the entry juror; and Kathie Odom, a plein air painter, who serves as the competition judge.

The events are open to the public. For more details, and to RSVP to attend events, visit

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at

Trending Video

Recommended for you