RED WING -- Red Wing Arts has convened a second Plein Air Arts Festival this year —the Autumn Invitational. Twenty-one of the region’s most recognized plein air artists answered the invitation to participate in the community event, which opened for painting “recognizable Red Wing” on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Artists came from Duluth, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, western Wisconsin and southern Minnesota. They were given six weeks to explore and paint the downtown, dramatic bluffs, rolling hills, vistas and winding rivers that define Red Wing’s historic area.

An exhibition and sale of the scenic artwork will begin Friday, Nov. 27, during Red Wing’s Holiday Stroll, and will be on display at the Red Wing Arts Depot Gallery through Jan. 16. A “first glimpse” ticketed gallery event will be held beginning at 9 a.m. on the morning of the show opening.

Tickets for the first glimpse are $25 and can be purchased through the Red Wing Arts website. The exhibition will go live online at redwingarts.org at 5 p.m. Nov. 27. The Depot Gallery is located at 418 Levee St. in downtown Red Wing.

Red Wing, which sits at the entrance to the Driftless Region, is a stunning place during fall. Many of the artists participate in the annual Plein Air Festival during the long summer days in June.

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“The summer event garnered so much success, community excitement and positive feedback that RWA wanted to give the artists and art appreciators another opportunity to embrace and enjoy Red Wing’s distinctive attributes, but this time during a new season,” said Emily Guida Foos, RWA executive director.

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In a news release she explained:

“Now they have shorter days, longer shadows and all kinds of weather. When they started painting in early October the sun was setting around 6:45, and five weeks later it sets around 4:45. We’ve had 80 degrees days and snow. They’ve needed bug spray and mittens, shorts and parkas. Fields have been harvested overnight and forests of leaves have blown away. With all that’s gone on this fall, the work of these artists can serve as a lovely reminder of how real beauty and nature can ease our minds during challenging and stressful times.”

Nationally acclaimed artist Mary Pettis of Taylors Falls is slated to be the judge of the Autumn Invitational. She will announce the winners at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, via Zoom. Cash awards or $750 for first place and three $250 merit awards will also be presented.