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West Maui art lovers prepare for the 2018 Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational

By Staff | Dec 21, 2017

Ann Ahlbrect (center) coordinates volunteers for the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational, set for Feb. 17-25, 2018.

LAHAINA – Lahaina is a small town with a big heart – and an art Mecca for visitors. Maui Arts League volunteers are hard at work preparing for a world-class fine art event where the public may watch 25 professional, award-winning plein air painters demonstrate their talents. The event takes place Feb. 17-25.

The 2018 Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational seems like a quiet and casual event, where the public browses among the easels, stopping to watch as artists dab a highlight on a happy cloud over Lanai or perfectly capture the smile on a model’s face.

“It’s riveting,” said Margaret Ellman from Kansas City. “I travel to Maui every February to volunteer. My primary tasks are to help create event signage, handle gala logistics, process artists’ commissions and analyze sales. I am a collector, too, and I love meeting all the artists.”

Kaanapali resident Ann Ahlbrecht coordinates 20 volunteers for the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational.

“Everyone who works this event loves art,” said Ahlbrecht. “We enjoy seeing the artists paint and helping Maui Arts League work toward building a museum in West Maui. It hardly seems like work at all.”

The Pioneer Inn sponsors three Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational events.

Lois Reiswig, president of Maui Arts League, said, “In addition to our wonderful volunteers, West Maui families generously provide housing accommodations for 20 Mainland artists during Presidents’ Week – fabulous support for our event. In February, Ann and Dominic Pistillo will be hosting two artists at their Launiupoko home.”

“As an artist myself, I understand the importance of supporting the profession,” said Pistillo. “Since 2007, we have developed friendships with master artists from all over the U.S. – all participants in the Maui Plein Air Invitational. We always look forward to February, meeting new artists and welcoming back old friends.”

Lou and Nancy Salera, who attend Kapalua Mission Roman Catholic Church, are art enthusiasts. They collect art, host artists and enjoy interacting with artists and other art lovers.

Many Maui business owners love art, too, and sponsor this event, which supports artists and art students and Maui Arts League’s goal to build a West Maui Fine Arts Museum – a place where our community can enjoy art all year long.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of West Maui businesses and Makana Aloha Foundation for making this event possible,” said Reiswig.

“As presenting sponsor, Royal Lahaina Resort in Kaanapali hosts a ticketed banquet and award ceremony called ‘Art to Heart.’ Their ballroom becomes a 4,000-square-foot gallery for over 125 freshly painted Maui scenes. This public exhibit and art sale continues the entire weekend with fresh paintings each day.”

The Pioneer Inn sponsors the Kick-Off Paint-Out at Lahaina Harbor; an award reception for a youth paint-out at Campbell Park; a public art lecture, “Artists of Influence,” by Jean Stern of the Irvine Museum Collection UCI; and a mini painting silent auction.

Montage Kapalua Bay hosts an artist Orientation Meeting and an “Afternoon Paint Out” that is open to the public.

Other local business sponsors are One Main Plaza; Mary Anne Fitch and Nam Le Viet; Kaanapali Land Management Corp.; Maui Land & Pineapple Co.; Mala, Honu, and Frida’s Restaurants; Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits; Taverna; Maui Printing Company; Hyatt Residence Club; Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine; On Maui! Maui Concierge; Lahaina Ace Hardware; and Kaanapali Trolley.

For full information about this event for art lovers, to volunteer or donate, visit www.mauipleinairpainting.org or call Katherine Smith, event coordinator, at (808) 268-0787.