plein air returns

For eight days, our town turns into the Art Capital of the Northeast, as the Mt. Lebanon Partnership presents Plein Air Pittsburgh, an outdoor festival of the arts. Sunday, October 5 through Sunday, October 12, Plein Air will be fertile ground for artists, art lovers and those who just want to have some fun.

For the main attraction, more than two dozen Plein Air painters will take to the sidewalks of Mt. Lebanon (and Downtown Pittsburgh) during the week to paint what they see, whether it’s architecture, people scenes, wildlife or nature. Their work will be juried, they’ll have a chance to win cash prizes and you’ll have a chance to buy the art for your home or business.

Plein Air is in its third year, and it brings with it activities, lectures, demonstrations and games for the whole family. Proceeds from certain events will go to the Mt. Lebanon Arts Initiative, which gives grants to local artists to continue their work.

It all kicks off with Art-a-Palooza on Sunday, October 5 from 3 to 6 in Clearview Common. Last year’s grand prize winner, Patrick Lee, will demonstrate oil painting at the Mt. Lebanon Library on Monday, October 6, from 7 to 8 p.m.

The big soiree is Friday, October 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the municipal building for the VIP Preview Party and gallery opening. Tickets are $125 each with a $50 painting credit. Attend this party and you’ll be the first to see the winning paintings. Tickets are available online.

Artists Market logoThe Artists Market, where you’ll be able to buy lots of works from artists all over the country, will be in the Academy Avenue parking lot on Saturday, October 11 from 10 to 6 and Sunday, 10 to 5.

Lots of other party events are planned for that Saturday, from the Kids Paint Out (10 to noon) and the Celebrity Paint Out, noon to 2. The Gallery will be open Saturday, 9 to 9 and Sunday, 10 to 2, when you can browse and buy Plein Air art created during the week.

Capping off the week is the Tour de Mt. Lebanon, the second-ever bicycle ramble, a 12- to 24-mile ride on the streets of Mt. Lebanon starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, October 12. The tour, also presented by the Mt. Lebanon Partnership, complements Plein Air week by presenting a different sort of opportunity for people to see the neighborhoods and business districts of Mt. Lebanon up close. Tickets are $25 per rider. To purchase tickets and see the routes, go to You’ll also find a complete Plein Air event lineup there.

Photo by George Mendel