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CAA Member Artists Selected As Plein Air Ambassadors

Santa Rosa Beach artists and Cultural Arts Alliance members Joan Vienot and Theresa Grillo Laird recently received the prestigious honor of being awarded two of the four slots in the state as Ambassadors for the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, America’s Great Paint-Out in Apalachicola May 3-12, 2019. Vienot was also selected as an Artist-In-Residence.

Plein air characterizes the activity of painting outdoors in open air, capturing scenes with natural lighting. Artistic excellence and the production of investment quality art is the trademark of this 10-day festival. The event will focus on the natural environment as the area communities recover from the impact of Hurricane Michael.

“I am happy to have been selected a second time. I also served as an Ambassador in 2016, so I know it to be a big job, some of the hardest work but also some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. It involves mentoring artists new to plein air, one-to-one, in two hour sessions, 3 sessions a day with a different artist each session, working with 15 artists over 5 days,” said Vienot.

As part of her Artist-in-Residence program, Vienot will be housed in Cape San Blas for a week and will observe, learn, and paint scenes relating to the event theme focusing on the natural environment as it recovers from the effects of the recent hurricane. Vienot will also be looking at mitigation efforts including the installation of living shorelines, planting sea oats, and restoration of longleaf pine forests. She will also be taking a walking tour of St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, and attending two workshops at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. She will give a presentation and exhibit her residency paintings at the Paint-Out in May.

In addition to the four ambassadors, the invitational features 20 internationally acclaimed artists, exhibits, a collectors’ forum, distinguished guest speakers, and more. To register for workshops or learn more about the festival go to:

About Joan Vienot

An avid paddleboarder and nature photographer, artist Joan Vienot often returns to scenic areas, palette in hand, capturing a scene on canvas en plein air. Born and raised in Colorado, Joan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado with majors in fine art and in health, physical education, and recreation. Vienot taught art and coached girls sports in the public high school in her hometown before moving to Seagrove Beach in Northwest Florida in 1980, where she developed and managed a pool service business for the next 35 years. Since selling her business, Vienot now is pursuing her art career full-time. Her art can be seen by appointment at her studio in Point Washington in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Selected works are at Bohlert-Massey Interiors in Panama City Beach, and at East End Gallery in Inlet Beach. She blogs and posts her work online at and on Facebook at Joan Vienot Art and Instagram @JoanVienotArt.

About Theresa Grill Laird

Originally from the Northern US, Theresa Grillo Laird currently lives in Gulf Breeze Florida. She finds her inspiration in the dunes, marsh and coastal woods of Gulf Islands National Seashore, capturing the mood and sense of place of the coastal environment in all its seasons. Describing her process as “engaging with the forms and features within the landscape to reveal the animated movement inherent in all of nature”, Theresa creates paintings described as both peaceful and dynamic. Committed to sharing the experience of plein air painting, Theresa conducts workshops and teaches privately as well as through the Continuing Education program at Pensacola State College. Her works have appeared in Plein Air Magazine and she has exhibited with the Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society and in solo and group exhibitions. Her coastal works will be the subject of a solo exhibit at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur Alabama in May 2019. Her paintings and blog, The Passionate Palette, can be found on her website


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