Plein air in Cedarburg

by Chuck Bauer, June 22, 2004
Every artist interested in finding a picturesque and very friendly town that supports "en plein air" artists by hosting a week long festival of outdoor painting should become acquainted with Cedarburg, Wisconsin a beautiful community just north of Milwaukee.
Recently I joined three other painters for a night of camping and two days of painting described in more detail at this web site
It is easy to get on this mailing list for subsequent years, and you will not be sorry you did.
In fact, I can guarantee you will find the energy of 175 artists over a week long painting festival extremely stimulating and inspirational.
Imagine walking down a small town main street and seeing French easels and focused painters hard at work on every block, in every back alley, and in every green space!
A dream come true? Then this place is for you.
The Cedarburg Cultural Center on the main street will date stamp your painting surfaces each morning, and then you will receive a welcome packet of coupons to local establishments, and a map of the approved historic downtown painting areas which include ample parklands, and the beautiful Cedar River that descends 10 feet per mile (that is fast) over large boulders, and is a stunning sable color flowing briskly through the dappled light of mature overhanging trees. There is even a covered bridge.
Remarkably Cedarburg was saved from mutilation by a strong willed mayor in the 1950's and 60's who refused to approve any demolition permits and the result is a fully intact and vital commercial downtown that feels exactly like you are stepping back into a time when people did more with less, and when architectural detail, and a more human scale, was commonplace.
The eye is refreshed wherever you look.
Altogether perfect material for the observant and the artistic.
At the end of the week you may submit up to two framed works and then compete simultaneously in both a silent auction and in an awards program that, thanks to a local bank, distributes $5,000 in prize money each year.
First prize is a $2,000 purchase award.
Now that is support for the arts!