Catalina Youth Plein Air Art Projec
Catalina Youth Plein Air Art Project; Images courtesy of the Catalina Island Conservancy

In California: Catalina Island’s long tradition of plein air art is continuing with Avalon School students. Thanks to the Catalina Youth Plein Air Art Project (a NatureWorks program) and with support from the Los Angeles County Art Commission, Avalon middle and high school students had the opportunity to experience first-hand how nature inspires art.

In a combination of in-class and outdoor sessions, students painted under the tutelage of Catalina Island Conservancy education staff and a special guest: artist John Cosby of San Clemente, CA. John is one of the founding artists of the Conservancy’s annual “Catalina: The Wild Side” art show, and will once again join a group of 11 talented artists for this year’s show, taking place on October 20, at Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Through active practice, students developed their own artistic styles and practiced useful skills, including problem solving, communication, and time management.

More than a dozen students created art by painting at locations across Catalina Island, including Haypress Reservoir, Little Harbor, and the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden. Inspired directly from life, students connected to the vistas of Catalina Island and created masterpieces of their own.

NatureWorks Education Programs have incorporated the arts for more than eight years, producing dozens of arts-related classes and workshops. Through these opportunities, Avalon students are able to explore the beauty of the Island’s interior. With car access restricted on the island, visiting remote areas is not an everyday occurrence. This unique experience demonstrates the connection between the visual arts and conservation. It showed that conservation work is not just for scientists — nature inspires art, which, in turn, instills a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature.

Catalina Youth Plein Air Art Projec Catalina Youth Plein Air Art Projec Catalina Youth Plein Air Art Projec

Formed in 1972, the Catalina Island Conservancy is one of California’s oldest land trusts. Its mission is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education, and recreation. Through its ongoing efforts, the Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land and more than 60 miles of rugged shoreline.

The 9th annual “Catalina: The Wild Side” art show and sale features more than 100 unique works of Catalina Island by nationally renowned plein air artists. The one-day show provides an opportunity to speak with the artists and view new works depicting Catalina Island, with a special focus on the lands stewarded by the Catalina Island Conservancy — the wild side. For more information, visit

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