2016 Paint the Town is scheduled for Thursday – Sunday, April 28 – May 1
Wet Paint Sale will be Saturday, April 30
Quick Draw Competition will be Sunday, May 1

If you love art and enjoy watching the creative process unfold….if you enjoy spending time in charming, historic Chestertown and the surrounding Kent County countryside ….and if you love being outdoors in the spring, then be sure to come to RiverArts Seventh Annual Paint the Town, a four-day plein air festival scheduled from April 28-May 1.

Artists paint the local scene for three days and make their paintings available for sale at the Wet Paint Reception and Sale on Saturday, April 30, from 5:30pm-8:00pm, at the RiverArts Gallery, 315 High Street. On Sunday, there is a two-hour Quick Draw; these paintings are then shown in Fountain Park from 11:00am-12:00pm. These works are also for sale and the public gets to vote for the “People’s Choice Award.” In addition, Mary Pritchard, founder of Paint the Town, and award-winning pastel artist, will judge these paintings for first, second and third place awards.

Mary received a B.A. in Studio Art from Mount Holyoke College and has Master’s Degrees in both art and journalism. She has served as a curator for corporate collections, advising clients on acquisition, installation and conservation of art. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware she returned to painting full-time. In recent years she has painted landscapes from California to Nova Scotia. But her favorite subject-matter is within a few miles of her home in Chestertown in the small towns, family farms, tidewater rivers and marshes of the Eastern Shore.

Chestertown RiverArts Paint the Town has clearly developed a reputation to be proud of. The 50 slots that were allotted filled quickly. Almost all the artists are from out of town, from Washington D.C. to New York City, and many are new this year. The artists love coming here and their hosts and the public love having them.

Alison Menke who won “Best in Show” last year, will be returning for the third time. She considers plein air painting challenging. “You have to paint quickly to capture moving light. I love the outdoors and find the spontaneity of something catching my eye very inspiring. I seldom know what I’m going to paint until I see it.”

Ray Ewing, who won “Best Body of Work” last year, is also returning. Ray enjoys painting in Chestertown because it offers a wide variety of places to paint within a comfortable walking or driving area. “Fields and farms are on every turn in the road. Nautical views, both open water and quiet lagoons make for great compositions. Boat yards, train tracks, downtown and side streets add to the painting menu.”

The public also loves this plein air event. They love going through town and seeing the easels set up on the sidewalks or out in the fields, capturing so many different views of Kent County as depicted by each artist. Local enthusiasts enjoy seeing how the artists look at Chestertown with a fresh eye, seeing light they see everyday in a fresh way.

Visitors might want to stay around in Fountain Park on May 1. Just after the Quick Draw, the “Tenth Annual Taste of the Town” ( will open at noon and run until 3:00pm. In addition to a broad range of dishes there will be local beers and wines. In the Demo booth, chefs will create dishes from a mystery basket of local foods.

Call for Artists:


Plein air artists are invited to participate in RiverArts’ 7th Annual “Paint the Town”, from Thursday, April 28 through Sunday, May 1, 2016 in Chestertown, MD. Registration is limited to the first 50 entrants, so please complete your forms now.

Thanksgiving Snow, Plein Air Oil Painting by Lee Boynton

Thanksgiving Snow, Plein Air Oil Painting by Lee Boynton

This fun-filled four-day event is held on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and it will be packed with beautiful venues, good food, and lots of camaraderie. Chestertown and its surrounding areas offer a wide range of subjects, including historic streetscapes, water views, gardens, farms, and a colorful outdoor Farmers’ Market. (Some covered venues will be identified in case of inclement weather.) Local restaurateurs also host the popular Taste of the Town in Fountain Park on Sunday.

RiverArts’ non-juried event is open to plein air artists working in all media and includes a “Wet Paint” exhibition and sale on Saturday evening and a two-hour “Quick Draw” paint out on Sunday morning. Monetary prizes will be awarded at both exhibits. Twenty to twenty-five artists will also have an opportunity to exhibit their work for the month of May in the studio gallery. Artists will be selected by lottery.

Participation in ‘Paint the Town’ is on a first-come, first-served basis. Entry fee is $50.00. This includes continental breakfast every day, dinner on Friday, and lunch on Saturday. Out of town artists may be housed with local residents on request. We hope you will join the many who return year after year.

For questions, contact Marj Morani at or Cindy Stafford at, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300. For maps and other resources for Chestertown, see


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