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27 Artists in Park 'Paint-Out'

Local artists got up bright and early last Saturday morning to participate in the first ever “Paint-Out” at Riverbend Park in Great Falls. Some arrived as early as 5 a.m. to get started on their interpretations of the Potomac River.

"It rained a little, but it wasn't enough to make painting impossible," said Eleanor Anderson, coordinator of the art exhibition program at the Riverbend Park Information Center. "I think the artists really enjoyed themselves."

The 27 artists spent the entire morning painting in the park. They had until noon to turn in their completed work. Once finished the paintings were mounted on the wall in the Riverbend Park Visitors Center for viewing.

In February, local landscape artists were invited to submit their work in order to be considered for participation in the Paint-Out. Jan and Dan Laytham of the Great Falls Long and Foster Realtor's office donated money for cash prizes. The Best In Show prize of $1,000 went to Sarah Linda Poly, the People's Choice prize of $500 went to Rob Nevittz, and Artists' Choice prize of $500 went to Nancy Tankensley.

"It's very interesting stuff," said judge Kimberly Hartke, owner of the Creative Home Gallery in Reston, as she looked at all of the paintings on Saturday. "It's really different."

The Best In Show award was decided by Hartke and two other judges, Michelle Ward of the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria, and Barry Broadway of the Broadway Gallery in Fairfax.

The Paint-Out was put on by the Friends of Riverbend Park to help raise funds for the park while simultaneously supporting local artists. Tickets for an all-you-can-eat barbecue were sold as part of the event, and a portion of the proceeds were put toward future activities at Riverbend.