Centennial plein air art show draws large crowd

Greenwood Lake. Local artists and elementary school students display their works at the Community Center.

| 12 Jun 2024 | 09:51

On Sunday afternoon, June 2, residents and guests visited the Greenwood Lake Community Center to view dozens of paintings contributed by adults and elementary school students in grades K-3 who participated in the village’s centennial homage to internationally renowned artist and former resident Jasper Cropsey.

In 1843, Cropsey, a trained architect who had worked for a firm in New York City, had become interested in landscapes and left for a two-week sketching trip to Greenwood Lake. His paintings were so well-received that he entered them in a show at the American Art Union in New York the next year. He eventually produced more than 100 paintings of Greenwood Lake that have been exhibited in museums and private estates throughout the world.

“When Cropsey visited Greenwood Lake, he started out at the southern end,” said village historian Marilyn Hayden, who organized the Plein Air event. “And then he eventually explored and painted the lake from many different vantage points.”

She had set out to honor Cropsey by inviting artists to participate in a plein air event that permitted artists to be inspired by some of Cropsey’s famous views of the lake for 60 days beginning in early April.

While several artists had completed the application and registered for the event, only five participated by painting outside; some did original sketches outside but finished the work inside.

Meanwhile, two elementary teachers took advantage of the opportunity to teach their students about the role that Cropsey played in showing Greenwood Lake’s natural beauty to the world.

They launched a boat onto the lake and took photos of different areas, then returned to the classroom and began discussions with the students involved about their local history and the part that Cropsey had in it.

The children were asked to select one of the photos and draw their favorite “lakescape” based on their interpretation of the photo. They submitted 30 watercolor works, which were part of the Plein Air exhibit June 2.

“We are grateful to the Orange County Arts Council to be able to get the panels that we could display all the art on them,” Hayden said.

“We were really surprised at the turnout of families and visitors,” she continued. “We had over 100 people visit us throughout the day. And several of the artists even sold some of their works.”

Greenwood Lake’s Centennial Celebration is continuing. For information, go online to GwlCentennial.org