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  The second annual Cape Ann Plein Air (CAPA) outdoor painting competition and festival will take place across nine days this fall, beginning on October 8 and continuing through October 16. CAPA 2017 builds on the success of the region’s inaugural plein air event – held in October of 2016 – which attracted painters, collectors and art enthusiasts from around the U.S. to Cape Ann. Widely considered to be the birthplace of plein air painting, Cape Ann today remains the showcase for a vibrant and growing group of artists spread throughout the North Shore communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Organized by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, seARTS and Cape Ann’s leading arts and culture groups, CAPA 2107 will provide a backdrop for regional and national artists, many of whom participate in other national plein air events around the U.S. CAPA 2017 will include activities throughout the four Cape Ann communities, highlighted by an awards gala on Saturday, October 14. As in 2016, CAPA will feature a Quick Draw event, gallery receptions, artist dinners and other activities — in addition to the core plein air competition — as part of an expanded nine-day schedule. CAPA expects to again garner support from residents and businesses across the region. The 2016 event included an impressive list of sponsors and supporters, and this year, the organizers are offering more award and event sponsorships. Up to 40 artists will be chosen to participate in CAPA 2017, competing for over $17,000 in prizes and awards. Artists may submit entries with a non-refundable fee of $50 at now through May 1, 2017. Artists 18 years and older are eligible. The CAPA 2017 organizers have arranged for two award-winning artists to serve as judges for this year’s program. Competition Juror Shelby Keefe — a Wisconsin-based impressionistic painter, teacher and performance artist – will select the artists who will participate in the competition. The competition’s award winners will be selected by Awards Judge Marc Hanson of Colorado, a renowned painter and teacher. Plein air painting — a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning “open (in full) air” — is used to describe the act of painting where the artist reproduces the actual visual conditions seen at the time of the painting. “We were truly amazed by the response to last year’s plein air competition – the first event of its kind in our region – and this convinced us to again invite nationwide artists and art-lovers back to Cape Ann, where they can join with our own community of artists for a unique celebration of plein air painting,” said CAPA project manager Karen Ristuben. “Cape Ann’s art legacy is unmatched in the U.S., and with the plein air competition we kicked off last year – and expand upon in 2017 – we’re creating a new chapter for the region around an increasingly vibrant artist community,” said James Caviston, president of seARTS, an organization that supports the region’s art and cultural community. “Everyone benefited from our 2016 event – local and national artists, residents and businesses, and those who appreciate great plein air painting – and this year we’re creating even more opportunities for all of these groups and others to be part of the CAPA experience,” said Ken Riehl, CEO of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. Registration and an opening reception will be held at the North Shore Arts Association in Gloucester, followed by plein air painting in each of the four communities. The paintings produced during the week will be sold at the CAPA Grand Awards Gala on the evening of October 14 at the Rockport Art Association & Museum. A timed Quick Draw event at Essex Shipbuilding Museum will see professional and non-professional artists paint and then sell their “wet” paintings all in the course of a few lively hours. The organizers are working with the region’s many hotels, motels and B&Bs, area restaurants, service providers and others across Cape Ann to offer special packages to participating artists and others visiting for the plein air competition and festival. Additionally, on Thursday, July 13, at 7 p.m., join the Rocky Neck Art Colony at 6 Wonson Street in Gloucester to learn how you can be a part of the 2017 Cape Ann Plein Air painting competition and celebration. Light refreshments, informative conversation, and great plans for CAPA 2017!