Claudia Hartley

Claudia Hartley is one of the professional Plein Air artists who will appear at the festival this weekend.

The public is invited to WHAM Art Association’s Inaugural Sonoran Desert Plein Air Art Festival April 6, 7 and 8 at Trilogy Vistancia’s Mita Club, 30500 N. 131st Ave. in Peoria.

During the three days of festivities, more than 40 Arizona artists will participate in workshops led by professional Plein Air artists Bill Cramer, Claudia Hartley, Brad Holt, Julie Gilbert Pollard and Martin Dimitrov, who will demonstrate their techniques for outdoor painting.

“Plein Air” is a French expression meaning “open air” that refers to creating a work of art outdoors. The Plein Air Festival is about leaving the four walls of a studio and experiencing painting and drawing while enjoying the surrounding desert views and vistas of the nearby mountains in the setting of Trilogy in Vistancia Peoria.

Artwork will be on display in an on-site gallery all three days for the public to view and purchase. The public is also invited to the weekend’s special events April 7 and 8. At sundown April 7 until about 10 p.m., a “Night Painting” competition for registered artists will take place. See how the night changes the art. The competition will be followed by a reception and the opportunity to meet the artists. The reception includes music with food and beverages available for purchase.

The afternoon of April 8, the public is invited to attend the awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Participating artists will be honored with cash prizes for first, second, and third places, Best in Show, Night Painting competition award, two merit awards and a special Peoria Councilmember Bridget Binsbacher award.

This inaugural year, WHAM Art Association is sponsoring the Sonoran Desert Plein Air Art Festival at Trilogy along with the city of Peoria and Trilogy of Vistancia and hopes to make it an annual event for artists and the public throughout Arizona to enjoy. For more information about the Plein Air Festival, log on to

WHAM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of volunteers sharing visual arts with the community in the Phoenix West Valley. WHAM is an inclusive community organization providing visual art event activities and education for all. Some of the programs provide support to West Valley youths (Opportunity House), adults with special needs (Finding Your Hidden Talents), seniors with Alzheimer’s (Mindful Artists), veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (Art: A Path to Healing), in addition to many other community art activities. For more information about WHAM Art Association and the programs WHAM offers, go to