Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ Plein Air Artists Capture Summer at Rochester’s Municipal Park

A global pandemic can’t stop a group of local artists from creating and inspiring one another. Rain or shine, artists from Paint Creek Center for the Arts gather at Rochester Municipal Park two Fridays a month to create among nature with their fellow artists.

Photo courtesy of PCCA

“When the pandemic hit, all of our spring classes were cancelled,” said Elizabeth Chilton, PCCA executive director. “However, we recognized the importance of maintaining the sense of community among the student artists we serve, so began hosting weekly virtual meetups for students. In the absence of classes this spring, some of our student artists decided to meet at the park to create together in a safe outdoor space. Now, even with many of them attending classes at PCCA this summer, the group continues to meet and grow.”

“It has been so wonderful during this time when we are all so isolated to get outside to create art,” said Sigrid Grace, the group’s leader. “We all meet here and then move around the park to paint. We gather back together for lunch all showcasing our work to allow for time to critique and comment to collaborate with one another on our work. It’s really a wonderful thing.”

Recently, Grace spent her Friday painting a newly planted butterfly garden donated by the Rochester Pollinator’s group.

“We missed meeting with each other and learning from our instructor at Paint Creek,” said artist, Kathy Welk. “By getting together outside, we are experiencing a completely new way to paint. People come by and watch and comment as well. It’s really been amazing.”

Plein air artists space themselves throughout the park, working solo or in physically spaced groups. Artist Karen Reese comments, “I’ve never seen so many colors in the trees until I sat outside here today to paint. I’m just so grateful to get to be out here in this beautiful park.”

“We are so inspired by these artists,” said Chilton. “They’ve formed their own bonds, and took those friendships outside of the studio. And now they’ve become these amazing walking demonstrations for PCCA. With fall classes starting up, they are spreading the word!”

To learn more about Paint Creek Center for the Arts in-person or virtual classes, visit