Sonoma Plein Air raises money for the support of art education in the Valley’s schools and community organizations. This year’s festival spans the week of Sept. 16 to 21, and only a handful of tickets remain to the event’s signature gala.

The weeklong event celebrates the century-old technique of outdoor painting. Artists apply from all over the country for a chance to come to Sonoma and spend a week painting everything from vineyard scenes to the county’s coastline.

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the artists will all head to the Plaza for a “Quick Draw” during the farmers market. Artists will quickly paint a small piece, which will immediately be available for purchase.

By Friday, Sept. 20, the artists select their favorite work from the week, which is presented at the gala, which this year takes place at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn.

Tickets are $200 each, but event patrons can donate higher amounts ($1,500 to $5,000) to receive a patron’s gift.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the artists head back to the Plaza to sell their work from the week during a daylong art fair, which also include painting demonstrations, activities for youth and live music.

The Sonoma Plein Air event has raised more than $645,405 to support art education programs for children in Sonoma Valley. That money has been donated to 12 schools as well as the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma Community Center and Arts Guild of Sonoma to bring more enriched art programs to Sonoma youth.

In 2010, a new scholarship was created and awarded to a senior at Sonoma Valley High to attend Parsons The New School for Design.

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