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Paint It Orange aims to brand Orange County as an art destination

Paint It Orange
The Paint It Orange Peil-Air Paint Out is taking place Oct. 25-27. Photo courtesy of Katie Murray.

The Orange County Arts Commission and Hillsborough Arts Council are putting on the first Paint It Orange Plein Air Paint-Out to bring more artists to the county.

Artists from all over North Carolina, and a few from the rest of the country, sign up to paint for three days in a public spot such as a park, on campus or a trail.

Nerys Levy, a participating artist in Chapel Hill, said that the artists have three days to paint outside where the public can see them. She said she believes that spreading out the 46 participating artists, “gives everybody a chance to paint where they would like to paint.”

“It is celebrating that Orange County is really a destination center for the arts,” Levy said.

The event will be taking place Wednesday through Friday. It will finish with a Wet Paint Sale, where visitors are invited to purchase original artwork from the competition.

Orange County Arts Commission Director Katie Murray, who had the idea to bring this event to the Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill communities, said “Plein-air means open-air.”

“This event is something that I did with an arts organization in eastern North Carolina, but it’s really kind of grown in popularity, especially in North Carolina,” she said. “When I got here about a year ago, I figured there was already one going on, and I was really surprised to find that there wasn’t.”

Murray hopes to boost Orange County’s identity as an art destination. 

“That event literally put us on the map,” she said. “Whenever you can bring new people into your community, that’s always a good thing.”

Co-organizer Eileen Ferrell of the Hillsborough Arts Council said the event’s mission is to inspire a sense of community pride. 

"You see these things that you drive by every day, and you don’t really think about until you see an artist’s rendering of it," she said. "Orange County is already getting there, as far as an art destination. We are one of the key players of bringing artists to the communities. If Katie can get us on the map like she did with her former organization, I think that’s our goal.”

The Wet Paint Sale will take place at the Hillsborough Arts Council Gallery & Gift Shop starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. through the end of November. The money raised will help fund Orange County Arts Commission grants to be put out into the community for arts programming and the Hillsborough Arts Council's arts events and programs.


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