Artists take to the woods at Grand Teton National Park

In this 2012 photo, artist Wes Newton participates in the quick draw at Grand Teton National Park. The park will host the third annual “Plein Air for the Park” fine art exhibition July 7 through July 20. Submitted photo

Art and wildlife lovers soon will have a chance to take in all that the Teton Range has to offer, and then some.

From July 7 to July 20, the Grand Teton Association and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters will host “Plein Art for the Park” at Grand Teton National Park.

Armed with paint and canvas, more than 40 artists will spend a week at the park capturing images of wilderness and wildlife. The public is welcome to watch the creative process and speak with the artists throughout the week.

“July is one of our busiest, if not the busiest, month,” park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggssaid. “We have visitors from around the country here anyway, so it’s the icing on the cake to have the opportunity to watch professional artists create images.”

Nearly all the artists are part of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters and come from around the country to participate in the event.

Plein air is a French term that means “in the open air.”

Some park visitors plan a trip specifically to watch the artists, Skaggs said, but others are pleasantly surprised when they stumble upon artists working along the roadside. Sometimes, she said, the visitors will stop and chat with the artists.

“It’s a real open format,” Skaggs said. “Both open air and open communication.”

At the end of the week, all the paintings created during the event will be put up for sale for park visitors to purchase. Forty percent of the proceeds go to the Grant Teton Association, while the rest go to the artists.

Shauna Walchenbach, events and outreach coordinator for the association, said the paintings sell from $400 to $1,200.

Last year, the association raised $65,000. The association uses the money for research and education projects, as well as publishing books, maps and guides to the area.

“We use it to fund our mission,” Walchenbach said, “which is to increase enjoyment in Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding areas.”

Reporter Aubrey Wieber can be reached at 542-6755.

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