Downtown Tempe has always been a bit artsy, with its giant rabbit statues on Centerpoint plaza, sprawling twice-yearly Festival of the Arts, and musicians, street performers and artists occasionally set up on Mill Avenue’s brick sidewalks.
Saturday it’ll get even more colorful, when artistic types are invited to roam downtown with art supplies in tow, creating on-the-spot masterpieces in the first ever “Paint Out Tempe.”
It’s a day of spontaneous creation that will yield one lucky artist a 30-day exhibition of their work inside Mill Avenue’s Montage Art Studio & Gallery.
“Arists will be able to find a spot in downtown Tempe and set up and paint for the day,” says Elizabeth McLean, spokeswoman for Downtown Tempe Community, Inc., the nonprofit that promotes the area and runs Montage. “It’s really open to whatever they see; it’s their own interpretation and creativity that exemplifies what they see downtown Tempe to be.”
For those talented enough to participate (and with a body of work worth showing off in a monthlong show), it works this way: Artists check in at 9 a.m. Saturday at Montage, bringing a canvas and art supplies with them and paying a $15 fee to enter the contest. They’ll then be set loose to wander the Mill Avenue District and paint to their hearts’ content. Finished works must be submitted to Montage by 6 p.m. They’ll be evaluated by a juried panel, and a winner will be announced May 3.
Creative types who fancy the idea of painting in the open air with others but don’t have the inventory for their own art show are free to participate, too, says McLean.
“It’s open to all levels of experience — or inexperience, for that matter. We want people to express themselves and see what they can do. Sometimes you can surprise yourself. It’s possible that anyone could paint something really fantastic,” she says. Those painters should also bring their own supplies, but they won’t have to pay the $15 fee collected from competing artists.
For those of us who are better at appreciating art than creating it, we can watch the Paint Out for free. Two other recent art initiatives in the area supply additional things to see: artistically painted utility boxes and three temporary art installations in the unoccupied former Borders bookstore storefront.
“That’s definitely going to be part of the fun of it, to have this artistic setting for the day for people to walk through and discover artists and watch and ask questions,” says McLean.
Montage Art Studio & Gallery is at 740 S. Mill Ave. For information, call (480) 355-6080 or visit www.millavenue.com/montage.