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POSTPONED – Mount Wilson Observatory Plein Air Event: The Birthplace of Astrophysics

Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

The California Art Club’s recently formed Cosmic Chapter is partnering with the Los Angeles Chapter and invites you to participate in a Plein Air event on Mount Wilson for a day that explores beauty throughout the solar system. During daytime, CAC artists are encouraged to paint and sculpt throughout the observatory campus and trails – and even paint into the evening! Unprecedented access will be given to CAC artists thanks to Mount Wilson Institute Trustee Dan Kohne.

Art enthusiasts have a wonderful opportunity to watch artists at work, as they create new paintings inspired by the breathtaking views of the San Gabriel Mountains that surround Mount Wilson Observatory. In the evening, Caltech Professor Bethany Ehlmann  will present the lecture “Exploring Solar System Worlds,” during which she will discuss planetary surfaces with rovers and orbiters, investigations of asteroids, and future exploration missions. Participating artists will receive 50% off the regularly-priced lecture ticket (link to purchase at this reduced price will be provided once registered).

Date: POSTPONED – new date will be rescheduled soon

Where: Mount Wilson Observatory

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free to Participating Artists

Time: 5:30 p.m.
Public Lecture Tickets: $40.00
CAC Artist Tickets (limited): $20.00 (promo code for discount will be sent after RSVP, first come, first served)

Pre-Lecture: Eight paintings from CAC’s exhibition Mars: An Artist Mission will be on display at the observatory. In addition, a slideshow  for the public to enjoy will be shown throughout the day in the auditorium of the entire Mars exhibition  and its accompanying Student Art Contest.

Bethany Ehlmann, Caltech Professor of Planetary Science, NASA-JPL Affiliate, and President of Planetary Society, to speak on “Exploring Solar System Worlds,” a discussion that will focus on exploring planetary surfaces with rovers and orbiters, investigating asteroids, and developing future exploration missions.

Note: Lecture attendees may view through the telescopes after the lecture (proof of vaccination is required to attend lecture). Food available for additional purchase (cash only).

Plein Air Painting and Sculpting Highlights
• Beautiful vistas looking into the Los Angeles basin and San Gabriel Mountains
• Access to full observatory grounds
• Location from where Michelson made the first speed of light measurements from Mt. Wilson to Mt. San Antonio (adjacent to Mt. Baldy)
• Historic Monastery designed in 1910 by Myron Hunt for use as the astronomer’s dormitory has been visited by renowned scientists including Edwin Hubbell, Harlow Shapley, Albert Michelson, Walter Baade, and Albert Einstein
• Access inside the 60” and 100” telescope domes and more!

Artists will have a few more opportunities to create work on Mount Wilson through scheduled paint/sculpt-outs and the work created will culminate in a juried exhibition.

The California Art Club’s Cosmic Chapter was created by Club’s President Peter Adams on March 2021 in celebration of NASA/JPL’s Perseverance Mars Rover landing on February 18, 2021 as a vehicle to combine art and science. Chapter leaders include JPL Mars Rover Project Manager John Callas, Astronomer Laura Danly PhD, and fantasy artist William Stout.

For more information about this event, please contact the CAC Director of Artist and Education Programs at programs@californiaartclub.org


Saturday, September 25, 2021
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Program Categories:


Mount Wilson Observatory
CA United States


California Art Club