Plein Air Curacao-An Exceptional Art Festival

Since 2011, the Art Foundation Curacao has held an exceptional international art festival called Plein Air Curacao every two years, which lasts for 10 days in March.
Plein Air means, “open air,” in Papiamentu, and the idea is to showcase Curacao’s natural and architectural wonders on canvas from an outdoor perspective. Artists from around the world descend upon the shores to paint up a storm, but you need not be an expert in the arts. There are plenty of workshops, master classes, and events for all ages and skill levels as well as lots of exciting interactive offerings for children.
Select locations around the island are chosen for events like moonlight painting and street fairs with local food, drink, and music. It’s an amazing island-wide “art-a-palooza”! There are also competitions with great prizes, and creators can also sell their work during the festival at the Plein Air Art Gallery.
The island from all angles
The first Plein Air Curacao festival originally focused simply on painting from the outdoors, but since then they have added inspiring new elements to the artistic challenge like Plein Eau and Plein Aerial.
Curacao has such colorful coral reefs and amazing marine life that it was only natural that the underwater world should be part of the painted scenes. But the challenge was how? Fortunately, this island already had expertise in that arena using special waterproof, nontoxic materials. Artists Alexander Belozor from the Ukraine, American artists Tanya Hanes and Warren Buck (who invented the “seasel” – an underwater easel), and artist Peter Bott from the Netherlands all dove in to show everyone just how it’s done!
To see the underwater artists at work, click here.
In 2017, Plein Aerial was added with the challenge of capturing Curacao from above. Some prime painting locations included rooftop perches as well as from Fort Nassau, Fort Amsterdam, Mt. Christoffel, and Table Mountain. They also secured a special permit for artists to paint from inside the Queen Juliana Bridge!
So now the art festival covers all aspects of Curacao: land, sea, and air!
A very special highlight
A new event called the Art For The Sky project involved some 500 local school children in the 2017 festival. The goal was to create a “live painting of unity.” The foundation gave classes in 23 schools in the disciplines of art, singing, performance, and life lessons to prepare them for the beautiful living art piece.
The inspiration was nature, and in particular the unique Curacao white-tailed deer (the “bina”) that has learned to adapt to the arid climate. It’s a shy, yet regal animal that never eats the roots of plants so they will grow back, and never has more young than there is food for. The children recreated a tableau of the deer that could be appreciated from above to the sounds of the youth orchestra and the choir. It was very special indeed; see more about it here:
See the making of “bina” here:
A continuing success…
The 2017 event was a great success; it attracted over 1,500 participants – volunteers, visitors, and local and international artists. It truly has become an international affair with a diverse cross-section of creative talents.
Hellen Chirino-Roosberg, President of Art Foundation Curacao, says: “Mark your calendars for the next Curacao Plein Air, which will take place March 14–23, 2019. Join artists from all over the world in this unique and exhilarating, creative Curacao get-together!”
For more information, visit