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Competing artists will paint the town

BUFORD - An artist perched on a street corner painting the scene of a quaint town may sound like something you'd see while walking through a French town, but you just might see this sight if you're walking through downtown Buford next weekend.

Nearly 30 artists from metro Atlanta are expected to be seen painting on location in historic downtown Buford as part of Carisma Gallery's Plein Air Festival from Friday through Sunday.

"I had read about plein air festivals in other places, and I though it was a great idea to do this in North Gwinnett," said Margaret Kolk, gallery owner.

Competing artists will begin Friday morning and have two days to paint buildings and landscapes and sights such as Main Street, Buford Dam and Stonehedge.

Kolk said all artists are first required to take their canvases to the gallery Friday morning for her to number. She said only the numbered canvases will be accepted for judging. This is to assure the art work was in fact painted on location.

"Last year when the artists showed up the town was covered in fog, and it made a beautiful day for painting," Kolk said.

The artists will paint, rain or shine, throughout the weekend before turning in three of their finished works for judging by noon Sunday.

Kolk said Marsha Savage, a nationally recognized artist known for her work with pastels and oil paints, will be judging the works of art to decide which artists will receive cash prizes totally nearly $750.

Grand, first and second prize will be announced at an awards ceremony open to the public at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the gallery at 15 E. Main St. Kolk said residents are also welcome to watch the painters as they travel around the town.

"Watching them paint is really the attraction," Kolk said. "What the people really come for is to watch these artists paint."

Kolk said the winners' works of art will be placed around Buford at various places of business. She said they will be displayed, most likely, at businesses that sponsored the event and provided funds to be offered for the cash prizes.

Kolk said the art will be sold at later date.

Artists interesting in participating in next weekend's event can still register by visiting www.carismahome.com. A registration fee of $45 is required by all artists who participate. Sunday's reception and "artist watching" is free to the public.

Although this is only the second year for the Plein Air Festival, Kolk said she hopes to continue on with the event.