2018-08-16 / Around Town

'Wet Paint’ Inspires Artists

By Ivy Richter


Kathleen Browne was among the nearly 300 artists that took to the outdoors to paint for the art museum’s annual fundraiser. Kathleen Browne was among the nearly 300 artists that took to the outdoors to paint for the art museum’s annual fundraiser. The artist community of Newport gathered last weekend for the 25th annual “Wet Paint” event, hosted by the Newport Art Museum. The weekend event challenged participants to create works of art in less than 24 hours.

“The artists love it there is something about being out there with others that is engaging and exciting. You feel like you’re a part of the community,” said Newport Art Museum board member Norah Diedrich.

Around 400 pieces were installed on Saturday in preparation for silent and live auctions that night and the following day. Proceeds went to the community in helping public programs and community outreach.

Participating artists spent the day creating art and bring their completed works back to the museum, still wet, to be installed in the Ilgenfritz Gallery.


Mari Styles puts finishing touches on her “Wet Paint” entry out on Ocean Drive while artist Grace Trofa (left) balances her big umbrella over her work. (Photos by Ivy Richter) Mari Styles puts finishing touches on her “Wet Paint” entry out on Ocean Drive while artist Grace Trofa (left) balances her big umbrella over her work. (Photos by Ivy Richter) Artists could choose any one of the scenic locations in Newport, from the edged cliffs of Ocean Drive to the courtyard of Rosecliff. As the clock started ticking, the adventurous artists scavenged around the island to create their inspired pieces.

As co-founder, Richard Grosvenor originated the now highly anticipated event 25 years ago, in collaboration with William Cooper. An art teacher at St. George’s, Grosvenor wanted to work with Cooper to gather the local arts community and spread benefits to arts organizations in the area.

This year, in his Grosvenors', a 20-foot vinyl replica of a section of one of his pieces was created so people could paint the dotted areas and recreate one of his works.


Students of the Coleman Center for Creative Studies, practice the ancient Japanese ceramic firing process of Raku. Students of the Coleman Center for Creative Studies, practice the ancient Japanese ceramic firing process of Raku. New this year, the Wet Paint weekend kicked off early at the Museum's monthly late-night event, “Art After Dark,” where guests participated in art-making modules, watched fellow artists prepare their work for the weekend's auction, and contributed to a large paint-by-number piece, based on one of Grosvenor’s works.

Artists worked with all different forms of media, from acrylic paintings to Raku Firing, which is a pottery technique that requires burning 120 degrees in a kiln, using newspaper, and then soaking the pottery in cold water, giving it a metallic, colorful texture.

“When we pulled up,” said artist Mari Styles, “there was a beautiful sky. The clouds were kind of gray against the darker background, so there was contrast to work with and some sailboats in the distance,”

The event co-chairs, Lani Liuzza, Rupert Nesbitt and Marie Samuels were at the helm of the event, which brought together 380 contributing artists and 107 youth artists, auctioned 455 artworks and hosted 462 guests at Saturday evening's Preview Party.

More than 800 guests visited the Museum over the weekend.

Artist Jeanne Raimondi, participating for the second year, said the experience was positive and inspiring.

Wet Paint not only fulfills the museum’s mission, but creates an anticipated event for the art community to gather in a collaborative and exciting way, said Diedrich. “[It is a] win-win situation.”

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