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The Plein Air Painting Festival and Competition will be held in person at Central School Project this year!

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Wednesday, October 6 through Sunday October 10, 2021
  • Expanded Prizes: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2 runner ups and People’s Choice

  • A fast paint in Grassy Park event

  • Nocturne painting group headquartered downtown

  • Jurors Show

  • Painting at the Bisbee Copper Queen Library Annex the view of San Jose Peak in Mexico

  • Youth painting program -San Jose Peak View with artist Carol Chandler

  • Judging and awards and Wet Paint Show with outdoor reception at Central School Project

  • Extended wet paint show with casual critique on Sunday morning​

Indoor events subject to change and adaptation for public safety.

Detailed Schedule to Follow!


Festival Schedule:


FREE Registration 

Opens: Friday September. 25th, 2020 

Closes: Friday, October 23rd.

Registration is required for all participants whether or not you enter your work into the wet paint show or take part in the demos. Help us keep track of the amount of participants by registering! 


Paint Together Apart

Starts: Wednesday October. 23rd

Ends: November 1st

Paint en plein air where you are and take progress pictures to post on social media. Tag your photos with #centralschoolproject and #PleinairCSP or email us your images and we will post for you!

Virtual Wet Paint Show Opening

Sell your work!

Sunday, November 1st, 1-2 PM 

Plein Air Virtual gallery on this website will run for 1 month!


Online Instructional Demonstrations

followed by live Q+A via ZOOM

Registration Fee: $15 registration fee per demo 

$50 for all 4 demos. Explore the demos below:

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Painting with Alan Bull

in Coastal New England

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2PM AZ time (5pm EST)


Alan Bull was here at the Plein Air Festival in 2019 as a juror and a workshop leader. His workshop was a hit with those that registered and we are excited to see what location he will choose to paint on the coast. Alan will be describing his decision processes as he paints. He has an exciting pace - we couldn’t believe how many beautiful paintings of Bisbee he did for the jurors show.


Alan Bull received his BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art


Bisbee Street Sketch

with Sam Woolcott 

Friday, Oct 23, 2PM AZ time (5pm EST)



Sam Woolcott will be presenting a demo of street sketching here in Bisbee, Arizona. Sam will be choosing a nearby location and she will explain why she chose it and discuss the materials she is using and how she sets up.  Sam will describe the decisions she is making as she moves through the process. Bisbee artist Jan Searle will join Sam for added discussion during the demo!


Sam, with her husband and gallery co-owner, Poe Dismuke, now resides in the historic southeastern Arizona mining town of Bisbee. Her work here addresses the precarious nature of local places and the hardscrabble lives of those who came before. Capturing both what has endured and what will be lost to time she works in many media, always seeking new approaches to her subjects.

Sam has won many national awards including Sausalito Art Festival’s First Place in Painting as well as three awards in Drawing. Most recently, she was honored with a blue ribbon in Painting from the Scottsdale Art Festival where she has also won First Place awards in Mixed Media, and Drawing & Pastel. Locally, Sam won Best in Show at the Bisbee Plein Air Competition (2004 and 2007)

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Carol Chandler

Bisbee Landscape 

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2PM AZ time (5pm EST)




Learn how to create your own unique expression of landscape with passion, purpose and fun. There are many challenges artists face while attempting to paint outdoors, such as how to see with an artist eye while painting within an overstimulating, light changing environment. 

Carol Chandler will offer a Virtual Plein Air Workshop designed for beginners to intermediate artists. She will demonstrate efficient setup techniques and illustrate methods that help simplify a pleasing composition to your painting in one sitting. 


Carol has been drawing and painting for decades. An avid outdoors person, she is trained in and has studied classical oil painting, however, she prefers painting landscapes En Plein Air using different mediums, such as oil, watercolor, pastel and charcoal.  She attended Mount Holyoke College later in life as a Frances Perkins Scholar where she earned a BA in philosophy.   She is currently living in Bisbee, Arizona and is the proprietor of Sense of Place Art Gallery and Framing.  Her gallery’s mission is to support local Bisbee artists through monthly exhibits.  Carol also provides a framing service at the Gallery shop.  

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Scott Williams

Painting in Upstate New York

Friday, Oct 30, 2PM AZ time (5pm EST)


In an exclusive demo for Central School Project, painter Scott Williams will talk about and demonstrate his approach to plein air painting while painting the ‘rural’ landscape of the Catskills in New York.

In the demo, tips will be given on ways of organizing a plein air set up that can greatly alleviate frustrations and chaos while painting out of doors. While Williams does not believe personally in prescribed ‘methods’ as an approach to painting, he will discuss ways of processing the overwhelming amount of visual information one perceives when working outdoors from nature. He will also present an unorthodox approach to color mixing within the natural landscape, of his own devising, that centers on the three secondary colors: orange, green and violet. 

Scott Williams will show the process of a painting, from drawing to full color completion, in this informative and thought-provoking video demonstration.


Williams teaches at Pratt Institute and New York City College of Technology.



The Bisbee Plein Air Festival traditionally has been held the 2nd week of October. It is produced in partnership by Central School Project and Bisbee After 5.

Artists come to paint Old Bisbee’s historic architecture, sprawling staircases, vintage streets, industrial mining remnants, and colorful homes set amidst the scenic Mule Mountains to compete for $700 in prizes. On the final day artists gather for the judging downtown where the art lovers can view and  purchase the work right off the easel. Each year we also have workshops, activities, and exhibitions held in conjunction with the competition.

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