Earlier this month, Sonoma Plein Air distributed more than $70,000 to Sonoma schools. Sonoma Plein Air is a weeklong event celebrating the century-old technique of outdoor painting.

The juried event brings nationally recognized plein air artists to Sonoma for a week of painting throughout Sonoma Valley. Participating artists are assigned to private homes for their six-day stay, comprised of a Quick Draw paint and purchase event, a dinner party and art auction and an exhibition and sale in the Sonoma Plaza.

Donations distributed to local schools this year, included $17,500 for Sonoma Valley High School; Creekwide Alternative High School received $2,200; the high school’s agriculture program received $500; the two middle schools each received $5,000; and the five elementary schools in the district each received $8,000.

Since its inception, the event has raised more than $645,000 to support art education programs for children in Sonoma Valley. Artist Keith Wicks and a dedicated group of Sonoma Valley residents founded Plein Air in 2002.

In addition to checks to the schools, Plein Air supports the Sonoma Community Center’s youth scholarship programs; the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art “Art Rewards the Student” exhibition; and the Arts Guild of Sonoma’s youth programs.