Eagle-eyed residents may have spotted artists in our midst this week as they worked around the county for the Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival. If you haven't seen anyone, you'll have a chance Thursday in downtown Bakersfield.

As part of the festival's public gatherings, the 13 artists will spread out in the area of 19th and Eye streets from 2 to 5:30 p.m. They will find a subject for a piece that will be created that afternoon.

Afterwards, they will bring their work inside to the nearby Bakersfield Art Association Art Center (1607 19th St.) for a meet and greet event until 7 p.m. Attendees of legal age can enjoy a glass of wine and look at the artists' downtown-inspired works.

The painters will continue working this week leading up to the Awards and Sales Gala on Saturday in the Betty Younger Sculpture Garden, 1330 Truxtun Ave.

Each artist will present four works up for sale, three more detailed works and one "quick draw," which was completed in two hours or less. Those smaller works will be featured in a silent auction, with bidding starting at a reasonable $200.

The other pieces will be up for sale at the event that also features awards selected by juror Paul Kratte, a Bay Area artist. Participating artists will also be able to vote on an artist's choice award among their peers' work in the show.

Any works not sold at the gala will remain on display the Access Center Gallery through May 30.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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