The weekend after Mother’s Day, the 23rd edition of the Carmel Art Festival will take place. This free public event, happening this year May 13-14, features a Plein Air Juried Painting Competition, Silent Auction, an Art Sale, music, and more. Everything takes place on Mission Street, between Ocean and 6th. In addition to enjoying the art, perhaps making a purchase, and talking to the artists, you can feel good in knowing that proceeds from this event benefit local youth art programs. Following is more information to help you plan your visit.

The first viewing this year, courtesy of the artists’ “freshly painted entries”, takes place on Friday, May 13. The next morning the Plein Air competition begins. Plein Air is a style of painting outdoors and was a central feature of French Impressionism.  Judges will be reviewing and judging 120 entries. At 6 p.m. on Saturday night, the silent auction begins. All day Saturday you will be able to view art, purchase past and present festival posters, and listen to live music.

Sunday has several activities:

  • 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Over 100 more paintings will be up for sale. These will be from artists who painted during festival week, but who were not part of the competition. These are all being sold at a set price.
  • 9 a.m. All around Carmel and Carmel Beach you’ll see winning artists painting in a special 2-hour “Quick Draw” competition.
  • 11 a.m. – Noon. A silent auction will be held. (Note that the Festival allows for Absentee Bidding, as all paintings entered into the festival are posted online.)

During this two-day festival, all sorts of local galleries and shops will have their own receptions, shows, painting and sculpture demonstrations. Grab a free festival booklet when you visit, as it will have detailed information about which gallery is doing what, and when.

Here are a few other facts about the event you may find helpful or interesting:

  • Artists who wanted to enter the current year’s contest would have had to apply between September 1 and December 1 of the previous year.
  • Plein air artists had to commit to painting two paintings in two days.
  • The event is juried, and only 60 artists are chosen each year.
  • Juried artists’ names are published on the website by March 1.
  • Anyone can sign up for the free mailing list (website below).

To view this year’s paintings, the schedule, past winners, or sign up for e-mail notifications, please visit the Carmel Art Festival’s main website.

This list was accurate at the time of publication; please check directly with the venue(s) to ensure dates, times, and locations remain the same.

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