August 13th, 2014
By Arianna Macneill
ESSEX — It’s not often that the public gets to watch an artist create a painting — from a blank canvas straight through to completion.
However, the third annual Paint Essex Day and Wet Paint Auction, slated for this weekend, allows this opportunity.
“This year, we’re doing it as a two-day event,” said Bob Coviello of the Essex Merchants Group, one of the event’s organizers. Eventide Gallery at Periwinkles is the other organizer.
Artists are planning to descend on the riverside town on Saturday, Coviello said, adding that they come from all over, not just Cape Ann.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, artists will set out and choose a place in town to be the subject of their work.
“Artists will have the ability to paint anywhere in Essex,” said Teri Eramo of Eventide.
According to a merchants group news release, paintings have to be completed by 8 that night. Eramo noted that each artist will put a red bandanna on their easel so people can go watch them paint.
“There were close to 80 (artists) last year,” Coveillo said, adding that due to the success of the past two years, the group decided to push the art auction until the next evening. In the barn at the Cox Reservation and in a tent next to it, silent auction attendees can bid on the works painted the day before.
Art demonstrations are planned to precede it earlier that afternoon with local artist Larry Pumfrey from 11 a.m. to noon and Marion Hall from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. at the Cox Reservation. An auction preview will follow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., according to the news release.
To kick off the auction, there will be a reception at the reservation, starting at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, welcoming attendees with live music, hors d’oeuvres and wine.
As an upgrade this year, the Merchants Group bought new software to allow the auction to move along more quickly.
Last year, the event drew in around $20,000, Coviello said, with half going to the Merchants Group and the rest to the artists. It costs $10 in advance for artists to participate and $15 the day of the event. The tickets include admission to the auction. Public tickets to the auction cost $25 each.
“The money goes to promoting Essex,” Coviello said, adding that the group is also setting up a scholarship fund for local artists.
This year, organizers hope even more money will go back to the community and artists than in the past two years.
“This year, we got sponsors to help defray our overhead costs,” Coveillo said.
The event had nine sponsors as of the time the news release was written, but Coviello said in the release that more could be added.
Coviello said in the statement that the event is a “perfect fit” for the town.
“There are innumerable natural views, historical settings and enough quirky locations and artifacts to fill a thousand canvases,” he wrote.
Coviello said that he believes the Merchants Group has aided in getting more tourists to Essex, adding that visitessexma.org is run by the group.
“There’s been a very regular group of visitors,” he said, adding that trestaurants have done well this summer. “We are poised to be extremely successful.”
Artists interested in registering in advance can contact Eramo at the gallery at 978-880-8043 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arianna MacNeill can be reached at 978-675-2710 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @GDTArianna.