Midwest Living Review
The largest of its kind in the Midwest, this annual fest, set for July 22-27, 2013, gives you a rare opportunity to chat with artists as they go from blank canvas to finished work in two hours all "en plein air" -- in the open air. Over five days, 40 invited painters use various mediums, mainly oils, to explore their views of this peninsula known for its 300-plus miles of shoreline, historic lighthouses, state parks and appealing communities. Begun in 2007, the event takes place rain or shine. That makes it a challenge for artists to adjust to changing conditions, but it also allows visitors to gain insight into the creative process. As the main fund-raising event for the nonprofit Peninsula Art School, the week features ticketed and sponsor events, but the free Saturday event is the main draw for casual travelers. About 100 artists set up for a Dockside Quick Paint Competition in Clark Park, and visitors stroll among them while noshing on food available for sale. A lively auction afterward sells the still-wet works.Beware, though: Parking is a pain. Cars are parked everywhere in town, and though a free trolley runs to the festival, we couldn't figure out where to pick it up. Best to call ahead and figure out a parking strategy.