"Dusk at Baskett Slough," painted by Salem artist Deanna White.

Salem’s outdoor scenery will be rendered in watercolor, acrylic and verse at an exhibit opening Friday.

For the 23rd year, Salem nonprofit Artists in Action will display its annual Paint & Write the Town Exhibition, this time at a larger venue.

The work will be on display starting Oct. 1, Thursday through Saturday from noon to 4:30 p.m. at the Bush Barn Art Center and Annex at 600 Mission St. SE in Bush’s Pasture Park.

The exhibit will have outdoor paintings of various locations with “picturesque views” and writing by the Mid Valley Poet Society, said Diane Trevett, a founding member of Artists in Action.

Trevett said the exhibit is an opportunity for local artists to paint scenes while outdoors and for educating the community on what local artists are doing. 

After holding the exhibit for years at the Elsinore Gallery in downtown Salem, Artists in Action is collaborating with the Salem Art Association at the Bush Barn Art Center to hold this year’s event at the park.

Trevett said she expects the new location will draw new visitors who haven’t attended previous exhibits. “Plus, it's nice to have an opportunity to collaborate with the art association to help promote the artists in town,” she said.

The exhibit includes work from artists, poets and photographers of all skill levels with a $25 fee to participate.

In its 20 years in Salem, Artists in Action has organized a number of events and invited artists to participate in exhibits. 

What makes the Paint & Write the Town Exhibition unique is its focus on outdoor — or “en plein air” — painting, a style that over the past 10 to 15 years has risen in popularity in the U.S, Trevett said.

The exhibit’s opening day will have a reception and awards presentation on Oct. 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., where Salem artist Aron Michael Johnston will judge the visual art and choose first, second and third place awards and three honorable mentions.

Matthew Boulay, interim executive director for the Salem Art Association, will choose someone who didn’t receive another award as the recipient of their namesake award. Visitors can also fill out People’s Choice ballots, now for both visual art and poetry for the first time.

Artists chose from a list of landscapes to work with, but their composition, how they crop the artwork and whether they use watercolor, acrylic, oil or another medium is entirely up to them.

Trevett said one of her favorite pieces of artwork that will be shown in this year’s exhibit is a close-up painting by Nancy Eng of flowers at Deepwood Museum & Gardens. Eng started with a line drawing of the flowers and then added watercolor, a technique Trevett said is “loose and fresh and colorful.”

"Deepwood," by Nancy Eng.

"Summer Flowers," by John Mohney.

The gallery is practicing social distancing and visitors are required to wear masks at the gallery.

Trevett said holding the exhibit last year at Elsinore Gallery was more challenging without the availability of vaccines, and artists have felt much more comfortable with this year’s event.

“It's great to get together with other artists and work together on a common subject in a common place,” Trevett said. “The camaraderie, sharing our techniques, it's very social.”

The artwork will also be viewable on Artists in Action’s website and salemart.org.

The locations Artists in Action chose for visual art were: Zena Forest, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Buena Vista Lavender Farm, Gaiety Hollow, Cubanisimo Vineyards, Guentner’s Gardens, Sebright Gardens, Riverfront Park, Deepwood Museum & Gardens, Bush’s Pasture Park, Minto Brown Island Growers Farm and a private garden.

The visual artists with work on display are: Jane Adams, Barbara Barrick, Richard Berry, Lorraine Dye, Nancy Eng, Anne Ferguson, Merren Garland, Cynthia Herron, Gay Hopkins, Samuel Hoskins, Carolyn Kollegger, Brigitte Miller, John Mohney, Judy Mohney, Ann Moore, Jim Richards, Debbie Robinson, Kathy Seubert, Deanna White and Patricia Young.

The poets with writing on display are: Eleanor Berry, Marilyn Johnston, Jade Rosina McCutcheon, Michael Shuler, Dina Triest, and John Van Dreal.

 Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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