Art on tap for First Friday as ‘plein air’ event returns

Artists to paint outside in downtown Camas during day; ‘Celebrate Art’ event kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1

Artist Beth Norwood works on an oil painting during the 2021 Plein Air art event on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record files)

Artist Kathy Marty from Windy Hill Weavers will bring her mini-loom to downtown Camas during the Downtown Camas Association's "Celebrate Art" themed First Friday event, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, throughout historic downtown Camas. (Photo courtesy of Downtown Camas Association)

Dancers from the Camas-based Virtuosity Dance studio perform in front of the Liberty Theatre in 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Downtown Camas Association)

Camas artist Heidi Jo Curley paints a downtown Camas scene at the 2018 "Plein Air" art event in downtown Camas. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record files)

The annual “en plein air” art event returns to downtown Camas this Friday, Sept. 1, just in time for the Downtown Camas Association (DCA)’s “Celebrate Art” themed First Friday festivities.

Visitors to downtown Camas can watch artists paint outdoors at various points along Northeast Fourth Avenue and other main downtown Camas streets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Then, from 5 to 8 p.m., visitors can enjoy the DCA’s September First Friday, which includes after-hours shopping and dining at local shops and restaurants; dance performances, artist demonstrations, art gallery receptions, arts and crafts projects and live music.

“The art scene in Downtown Camas has been growing exponentially in the last few years,” DCA Event and Project Manager Leah Nichelson said. “This First Friday is truly a celebration of art in all its forms. Everyone is invited to appreciate art, make art and revel in all of the authentic and electric creativity happening in our community.”

The Camas Gallery, which has featured a “plein air” (French for open air) event in downtown Camas for more than a decade, and the newly opened Pike Art Gallery will present this year’s “plein air” art event. Local artists will paint various downtown Camas scenes throughout the day Friday, then show their work inside the Camas Gallery from 4 to 8 p.m. that evening. Visitors are encouraged to visit the gallery and vote on their favorite art pieces. The gallery will award “people’s choice” ribbons to the community’s top three favorite “plein air” artists.

Several local artists will share their knowledge with First Friday visitors: Kathy Marty of Windy Hill Weavers will have a mini-loom available for people to try weaving; artists Tamra Sheline and Heidi Curley of the 411 Art Collective, and Camas artist Anna Norris will collaborate on three canvases; textile artist Sandy Moore will share the joys of fabric collage; and Virtuosity Dance Studio dancers will showcase their talents at two outdoor performances.

Other Camas First Friday festivities include:

• A “choose your favorite art” passport activity at participating merchants and at public art locations throughout downtown with chances to win donated prize baskets;

• An open studio art show at the Elida Field Art Studio (735 N.E. Sixth Ave.), showcasing local artists’ work and providing art class and international art tour information;

• An art show and reception at Attic Gallery (421 N.E. Cedar St.);

• A new “Read All About It” exhibit featuring local newspapers at the Second Story Gallery (625 N.E. Fourth Ave., inside the Camas Library);

• “The Shape of Things” art exhibit from Lara Blair Art Studio at the 411 Art Collective (411 N.E. Dallas St.);

• Youth dance performances by Virtuosity Dance at 6 and 7 p.m. in front of the Liberty Theatre (315 N.E. Fourth Ave.);

• A take-home rock painting activity from Grace Church and an abstract paint activity with the Artisans’ Guild of Camas;

• Craft activities provided by Little Wings Library at LiveWell Camas (417 N.E. Birch St.); and

• Live, outdoor music at Mesa (228 N.E. Fourth Ave.).

Visitors can pick up a passport and activities list at the DCA’s table in the Journey Church lobby at 304 N.E. Fourth Ave, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.

The Plein Air Event is sponsored and hosted by CamasGallery and Pike Art Gallery and the other art activities are hosted by the DCA and downtown merchants.

First Fridays are free, accessible, family-friendly events coordinated by the DCA each month of the year to support downtown and bring the community together. Each themed event includes art, games, activities shopping, dining and more. For more information, visit or