Artists of all ages enjoyed a plein air art event in Lilburn City Park June 4-5.

The evening of June 4 found a large crowd in Lilburn City Park as “Rock the Park” began its concert featuring the band “Rumours.” Families and concert-goers were eager to hear “the country’s premiere Fleetwood Mac tribute band,” but they were also in for a treat of a different kind.

Citizen’s Exchange Art Collective, the Grace Note Foundation and Crescent Sun Gallery had arranged a visual art happening to add to the weekend’s festivities. A number of artists began putting up their easels and arranging painting supplies in order to participate in a Plein Air event.

Each artist was tasked with completing their painting of a nearby subject in Lilburn by 5 p.m. on June 5.

Rarely do visual artists have such a large audience to observe their efforts. Approximately 1,000 people were in attendance for “Rumours,” and more folks followed up June 5 to see how the paintings turned out.

Amy Valdez Barker of Citizen’s Exchange Art Collective, one of the Plein Air event organizers, said, “Our intention was to have people who came for the concert see artists outdoors painting in the Old Town area. This is a good way to get the arts into the mindsets of people in our community.”

The Plein Air happening was a first-time event of this kind for the organizers, who had less than a month to advertise it. Still, the turnout was promising, and the community was enthusiastic.

Plein Air is created in the manner of the 19th century style of impressionism. It is painted outdoors with a strong sense of being in the open.

Artist Armando Chacon won the Professional Division award along with a $200 prize.

Other artists included 3 very young painters. Miles Hutto, 9, Ella Hutto and Morgan Zupan, both 10, participated with their own Plein Air artwork.

The Plein Air event was the first of more arts events to come through Citizens Exchange art collective.

An Art Market in Old Town Lilburn will occur Aug. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. Artists from the Citizens Exchange will show off their art and offer demonstrations of their work.

“One of our goals is to work with and collaborate with artists from our international communities,” Amy Barker said. “We are talking to groups from the Philippine and Latin American Chambers of Commerce to participate.”

Barker and her brother Dr. Valdez Barker created the Citizens Exchange during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a market for local art, goods and more.

“We are a family owned and operated collection of freelancers, free thinkers, free creatives,” Barker said.

To date, the Citizen Exchange has 41 artists who are part of the collective, offering a variety of art from painting and pottery to eco-cards, paper art, and more,

“Our hope is to inspire others with the art that comes from the heart of so many creative and talented people,” says Barker.

To find out more about the Citizens Exchange, their artists and future events in Lilburn, visit

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@


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