The Gloucester County Cultural Heritage Commission, the Washington Township Green Team and Friends of the Olde Stone House Village plan a Plein Air — or open air — art competition at the village on Saturday, May 15.
After village Secretary Connie McCart overheard a local artist speak about the house as a creative muse, she knew there was an opportunity to bring in more artists and visitors to Washington Township.
“We started to do this last year, but there was such a severe lockdown that we figured people wouldn’t come out at all,” said McCart. “We thought it would work nicely since people are not necessarily doing things indoors, but this is over our five to six acres. People can spread out; they aren’t going to be on top of one another.”
“It is a very unique building because stone structures are not something that is common in our area,” she added. “Most of the buildings in the area were built of wood, which is why most of the historic homes are not present because wood burns.”
Artists who take part in the competition can use any medium they choose and find a spot on the village grounds to create a piece inspired by the historic landmark. They will have from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. to finish. The only art not permitted is photography.
There is a $10 registration fee for artists due by May 1; artists can also register the day of the event for $15. Any other vendors pay $25 to display their work. The artists will compete for cash prizes of $150, $100 and $50, which were donated by The Washington Township Green Team.
“It could be anything: the building, the pond out back or a fence,” McCart noted. “Anything the artist might be interested in … The three winning pieces (in first, second or third place) will also be displayed at Super Saturday, and the green team will put those reproductions at the amphitheater at Washington Lake Park.”
Visitors are welcome to watch the artists work as well as tour the five historical locations on the property. Tours will be small due to COVID regulations, but attendees are also invited to use the new QR codes printed on the buildings to take a virtual tour. There will also be a free children’s class created by a professional artist.
To participate in the class or the competition, register at https://www.friendsoftheoldestonehouse.org. The Friends of the Olde Stone House Village also seek volunteers to take part in the day-to-day operations of the historic facility. They can inquire through the website.