For 17 years, Firnew Farm has been home to a group of artists who meet once a week to work together and review and critique one another’s artwork. With close to 40 artists representing 10 counties in Virginia, represented media range from watercolors, acrylics and oils to photography, mixed media, pottery and jewelry making.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, the Firnew Farm Artists’ Circle has been hosting weekly Facebook critiques during their regularly scheduled weekly Thursday afternoon meetings, welcoming the community to participate in discussion of art in progress. After the public meeting, the artists hold a private Zoom meeting to critique the week’s featured artists.

Traditionally, the artists’ circle hosts two shows every year, the annual spring show in May at Firnew Farm in the barn gallery and silo and the annual fall show at the Woodberry Forest School in the Walker Fine Arts Center in September and October.

The COVID pandemic has closed the door to this year’s spring show, but opened the door to a new venture on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier estate.

This summer, the artists will meet in a socially distanced fashion on the beautiful grounds of Montpelier for Plein Air Art the first Thursday of each summer month. An artists’ reception will be held Aug. 6 with details to follow.

The land and its history have been a muse to the artists for many years, and they could not imagine a more perfect venue to inspire future creations.

Visitors to Montpelier will also have the opportunity to watch artists at work, as they may stumble across a painter in the field, a photographer capturing nature in its glory or the unfolding story being revealed by the current archeological dig on site. Tintype photography, common during James Madison’s day, can also be experienced.

Plein Air Art events will take place the first Thursday of each month during the summer, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Montpelier, 11350 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station. For more information about Firnew Farm Artists’ Circle, visit or find them on Facebook.

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