For the Press

MEDIA DAY IS FRIDAY, NOV. 5th. Many artists will be painting at the Esplanade and the Capitola Wharf 9-11 a.m.

November 4-5, 2017   The City of Capitola Art & Cultural Commission is hosting the thirdartist-coraly-hanson-at-capitola-en-plein-air-2015annual Capitola Plein Air, juried art competition, exhibition, and sale. It is a FREE event, with hands-on art-making for all visitors, live music, and forty local and regional artists selling their works and competing for the top prize.

On the first Saturday of November, dozens of professional artists will paint en plein air in varied mediums, outdoors, throughout Capitola, at locations including New Brighton Beach, Depot Hill, the Esplanade, and the Jewel Box.  The public is invited to view those artists in action, from 10-2 on Saturday, November 4th.

Then on Sunday, November 5th, from 11-4, at New Brighton Middle School Performing Arts Center (250 Washburn Ave.), more than 100 framed paintings will be on display for the competition, exhibition and sale. The public is invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award and enjoy the exhibition, live music by Marc Schwartz & Dale Mills, and hands-on art making with Linda Cover of Watershed Arts. Local food truck will be on hand for hungry visitors.

Acclaimed California plein air artist Laurie Kersey will judge the competition. The best in show will be purchased for $1,500, and displayed as part of the City’s public art collection. An $800 second place prize and other ribbons will be awarded.

judy-miller-pastel-artist-cpa-2015-2Art sales benefit SPECTRA and arts education in The Soquel Union School District.

This event is FREE to the public. All are welcome! (But, please bring a checkbook to collect a piece of Capitola Art and Culture!)



On November 4th and 5th, take your pick of art five ways: observe, interact, play, collect, and create!

 Last fall, the Capitola Art and Cultural Commission hosted their inaugural Plein Air event, to the delight of the public and participating artists.   Now they host their third annual exhibition at New Brighton Middle School Performing Arts Center on November 5th from 11-4. Admission is free, and includes live music, hands on art activities, and art sales benefitting art education.

Before the exhibition comes the work. Forty professional local and regional artists converge to paint outdoors, capturing the charm and beauty of Capitola. Rather than paint imaginary landscapes or work in the studio from photographs, the artists paint on the spot, laying down only what they can see, the particular light, and the feel of the place.

A camaraderie develops among the artists, who find the event a welcome change from painting artists-at-depot-hill-during-cpa-2015alone, since the life of an artist at work can often be solitary. Most  get up early to pack their easels and paints, and head out to find their painting site. Morning light is highly desirable to these painters. Capturing the changing light, shadows, and atmospheric conditions (fog!)  are a challenge for artists as they quickly translate the moment they are witnessing. They may need to return the next day at the same time to complete the piece. Some artists work into the evening, painting nocturnes, putting their twist on the reflection of moonlight on the bay, or the twinkle of lights on Depot Hill.

Committee Chair, Jenny Shelton, is looking forward to seeing this year’s entries. ‘Last year, the artworks were really lovely, with oil, pastel, and watercolors of some landmarks and some not-so-familiar spots. We got to see Capitola in a new way — through the eyes of these talented artists.’

Observe and Interact

With forty artists painting outdoors throughout Capitola, your chances of catching an artist in the act of creation are guaranteed. And while you may stumble upon on an artist painting November 1-3rd, the best time to see them in action is Saturday, November 4th between 10 am and 2 pm, when all competing artists are required to paint.

pastel-artist-sandra-cherk-painted-on-capitola-pier-at-capitola-plein-air-2015The Capitola Wharf, Esplanade, New Brighton Beach, top of the steps at Depot Hill, and near the parking area along the jewel box were popular spots for artists competing last year, and a good bet again this year.



On exhibition day, November 5th, not only can you view the winning paintings, you can take onescott-hamill-paints-at-cpa-2015-1 home with you!  Award winning landscape and plein air painter Laurie Kersey judges the artists work, selecting the first, second, and third place paintings and honorable mentions. While the top two paintings will be purchased by the City from Public Art funds, to become the latest pieces in the City’s permanent public art collection, all other pieces submitted in competition are on display and up for sale, some with the paint still wet! So bring your checkbook, and take home an award winner. As long as it’s created in Capitola and painted November 1-4th, the pieces are eligible to win more than $2,500 worth of prizes at the competition. And don’t forget to cast your vote for the people’s choice award!

Art sales support these local and regional artists, who earn their living by creating and selling their work, and also increase funds for arts education in Capitola, because a percentage of the proceeds from sales are donated to SPECTRA.


Interacting with artists, browsing and buying artworks is the primary activity that day, but the whole family can enjoy the hands on art activities! Look for the Art Pop-up tent inside the Exhibition building, with activities presented by Linda Cover of Watershed Arts.

About Plein Air

Plein air is a French term meaning ‘outdoors’.  Nineteenth  century landscape painters, many of the impressionists, painted en plein air, and limited to what the eye could see. Of course they put their own impressionistic twist on them, adding color and texture that was an interpretation of the landscape through the artists eye.

Plein Air painters possess a unique blend of talents and character. Not only must they work quickly, and carry their equipment on sometimes  difficult treks to painting sites, they sometimes must work in unusual  (think floating docks rocking back and forth, vertigo at uneven cliff-side locations) and extreme conditions, including high winds, sun, desert heat, mosquitoes, cold and rain.

 About the Art & Cultural Commission

The Capitola Art and Cultural Commission also produces other cultural events, such as the Twilight Concerts, Summer Movies at the Beach, and the Art & Music at the Beach Series. They instigate the call for all new works in the City’s Public Art Collection, and recently released a free iOS app that provides information about local historic sites and public art, the “Capitola Self-Guided Tour of Public Art and Historic Sites,” available at the app store.  More info at


November 4-5, 2016

Capitola Plein Air, a FREE, lively arts event! Art Pop Up Tent for hands-on art-making for all visitors, live music, and forty local and regional artists selling their works and competing for the top prize. Watch artists paint 10-2 Saturday all over Capitola, and buy their work at the official exhibition from 11-4 on Sunday at New Brighton Middle School Performing Arts Center. The best in show will be purchased for $1,500, and displayed as part of the City’s public art collection.  Other ribbons will be awarded, including People’s Choice, at 3 pm. Presented by the Capitola Art & Cultural Commission.
Photos of past Winning Artists and Artworks