August 8, 2019 – Bozeman, MT/Gardiner, MT – Accomplished painter and distinguished museum director Ian McKibbin White will give a keynote address and judge the art entries at the second annual Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational. The park’s premier art event, hosted by Yellowstone Forever from September 24 to 29, 2019, will celebrate the current and historical presence of art in Yellowstone as 16 of the nation’s best artists will paint “en plein air” (outside, on-site) throughout the park.
“We are thrilled that Ian McKibbin White has agreed to play such a significant role in this year’s Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational,” said John Walda, President & CEO of Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone. “The insight he draws from his experience as both a museum director and a remarkable painter and observer of the natural world will truly enrich this event.”
Ian McKibbin White is a realist painter who works in the field and in his studio in Maine. Born in Hawaii, White spent his early years in California and moved east to college. He has painted since childhood and studied oil painting from the fourth grade through high school. At Harvard he studied architecture followed by industrial design at UCLA.
His career in museums included graphic design and exhibition design, initially at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and then the Brooklyn Museum, where he created a new kind of sculpture garden. An invitation followed to design the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College before he served as director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for 20 years.
During the 2019 Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational, park visitors will have the opportunity to attend daily painting demonstrations throughout the park and a paint-out that gathers all artists to paint at Madison Junction on Saturday, September 28.
“When artists are exposed to nature with all their senses attuned in a place that has been preserved for its spectacular beauty it is, indeed, an exhilarating experience,” explained White. “Confronted by nature out of doors with shifting light requires a plein air artist to capture the essence of what is being painted. A successful result is usually a field study devoid of superfluous details.”
White will judge the paintings created throughout the week and give the keynote address at a ticketed event at Old Faithful on Saturday evening, during which he will discuss the role of art and artists in the preservation of public lands.
“Artists have historically been influential and remain actively involved today in the acquisition and conservation of extraordinarily beautiful, rare and precious wild lands like Yellowstone National Park,” said White. “Works of art can raise people’s awareness of these endeavors. Such visual images send a strong signal to those who would threaten or destroy these treasured preserves.”
During the week, White will also conduct two signings of his book, The Creative Impulse: Art of Ian McKibbin White, which contains color reproductions of the artist’s works as well as some of his writings.
On Saturday evening, a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, exhibition, and art auction will be held at Old Faithful Lodge Recreation Hall. During this ticketed event, studio paintings from each artist will be exhibited alongside a selection of the artists’ plein air “wet paintings” produced during the week. On the final day, September 29, the art exhibition and sale will be open to the public.
“To be able to purchase an original art work is a way to take home a lasting piece of their park experience, something to cherish in their environment, unmatched by an ordinary souvenir,” said White.
A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Yellowstone National Park priority projects and education initiatives.
Visit Yellowstone.org/plein-air for a schedule of activities and locations, or to purchase tickets to the Saturday evening event.
About Yellowstone Forever
Yellowstone Forever is the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park. We partner with Yellowstone National Park to create opportunities for all people to experience, enhance, and preserve Yellowstone forever.
Our combined operations include 11 educational Park Stores with gross sales of over $5.1 million; the Yellowstone Forever Institute, which offers more than 600 in-depth programs each year; a supporter program of 85,000 Yellowstone enthusiasts raising funds to support critical park priority projects; and an online community of more than 1 million worldwide.
Yellowstone Forever has provided over $106 million of cash support and over $64 million of in-kind support since 1933. Our mission of engagement and support through education and fundraising for the park will ensure Yellowstone remains for generations to come.
Please visit Yellowstone.org or call 406.848.2400 to learn more.
Photographs courtesy of Ian McKibbin White