Celebrities, regular folks will take brush in hand for Paint-Out

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Julia Erickson, a principal dancer for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, doesn't usually worry about performance anxiety.

But on Oct. 6, she'll be exhibiting an entirely different set of skills at Mt. Lebanon's Celebrity Paint-Out.

Ms. Erickson and other well-known members of the community will gather with easels and acrylic paints around a subject in Clearview Common at Washington Road and Alfred Street.

They will have one hour -- from 1 to 2 p.m. -- to complete their paintings.

"The subject will be something kind of funky, maybe to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mt. Lebanon," said David Csont of the Mt. Lebanon Partnership, adding that it could contain objects other than a traditional flower arrangement or bowl of fruit.

Before the celebrities take brush to canvas, however, a community paint-out will be held for people of any age or skill level. From 10 a.m. to noon, participants will line Washington Road with their paints and be given two hours to produce their artistic impression of a nearby scene.

When a signal is given to end the painting, easels will be turned toward the street, and spectators can peruse the works and even make an offer to buy on the spot.

"The paint-out is to get people to have an exposure to this type of painting and to show you don't have to be an artist to have fun with this," Mr. Csont said. About 100 people are expected to take part in the community paint-out.

Both paint-outs will wrap up a six-day event called Plein Air Mt. Lebanon, which will be held Tuesday through Oct. 7. The plein air -- or open air -- event will welcome 25 nationally recognized artists to paint Mt. Lebanon neighborhoods. The plein air artists also will take part in the community paint-out.

Proceeds from the celebration will benefit the Mt. Lebanon Arts Initiative, a grant program that provides funding for the arts in the community.

Alfred Street will be closed during the celebrity paint-out. In addition to Ms. Erickson, participants include Timothy Steinhauer, superintendent of Mt. Lebanon School District; Ken Rice, KDKA news anchor; Kristen Linfante, Mt. Lebanon commissioner; state Rep. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon; U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair; Vinnie Richichi, radio 93.7 sportcaster; and Kristine Sorensen and Marty Griffin of KDKA.

"The biggest challenge will probably be deciding if I'm going to do a realistic type of depiction or just go wild," said Ms. Erickson, who has painted in the past.

Mr. Steinhauer said painting is a "secret passion" for him. "Actually, I do a lot of abstract painting with acrylics," he said.

First prize for the community paint-out is $500. A prize of $100 will be awarded for ages 13 through 18. Gift certificates for first, second and third prize will be given for age 12 and younger.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what the professionals will do," said Mr. Steinhauer, a former musician and band director. "A huge advocate of the arts in people's lives, I am happy to participate in events like this."

The fee to participate in the community paint-out is $10. To register in advance, go to the municipal building or to pleinairmtl.com. Registration also will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. on the day of the event.

neigh_south

Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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