Twenty-five artists took part in the Center for the Arts’ first outdoor painting competition held October 7-10; more than 100 residents attended art show and reception October 11.
Both the weather and the Harford County community warmly welcomed participating artists in the Center for the Arts’ first International Plein Air Art Festival which took place October 7-11. Artists from around the world were invited to create works of art outdoors at various sites around Harford County and compete in a juried art show at Rockfield Manor in Bel Air on October 11.
More than 100 local residents stopped by the art show and free reception catered by Pairings Bistro. The event also featured live music by the Bowtallion string quartet and guitarist and vocalist Chris Monaghan. Guests had the chance to view all the paintings created during the week, meet the 25 participating artists and purchase any of the 85 works that were made during the festival. A portion of the proceeds from painting sales went to Center for the Arts.
Artists paid a $25 fee to register for the Plein Air Art Festival and were invited to create works anywhere in the county. Among the outdoor subjects selected were landscapes of sprawling farms, waterside views in the City of Havre de Grace, the Concord Lighthouse, Wilson’s Mill in Darlington, Sophia’s Dairy, farmers’ markets and views of Main Street in the Town of Bel Air. Special opportunities included a “Nighttime Paint Out” in downtown Bel Air, a “Paint the Market” challenge in Bel Air and Havre de Grace and a “Waterside Painting” experience in Havre de Grace. There was also a live painting demonstration for children held at Broom’s Bloom Dairy featuring watercolor artist Ken Karlic. The Center for the Arts provided all the painting materials for the children who sat outside and painted “plein air” scenes of Broom’s Bloom Dairy.
Finished paintings were evaluated by judges who determined First, Second and Third Place Judges’ Awards, while artists chose the winner of the Artists’ Choice Award and guests voted for the People’s Choice Award. The judges were Bruno Baran, Artist and Chairman of the Board at Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association and Fine Arts Chairman at The John Carroll School; Heidi Neff Chuffo, Artist and Associate Professor at Harford Community College; and Harford County Councilman Chad Shrodes. The artists who received awards were:
- Alison Leigh Menke from Clarksville, MD ($500 for First Place, Judges’ Choice for “Fall is Here! At Brad’s Market”)
- Greg Johannesen from Port Republic, MD ($250 for Second Place, Judges’ Choice for “Farmall 706”)
- John Slivjak Philadelphia, PA ($100 for Third Place, Judges’ Choice for “Farm at Johnsons Mill Road”)
- Leo Kahl from Bel Air, MD (People’s Choice and Artists’ Choice for his work “Cold Front,” a painting of Main Street in the Town of Bel Air as Friday’s storm came through)
Of his awards, artist Leo Kahl said, “The Inaugural Harford County International Plein Air Art Festival was a great success and I was honored to receive the Artist’s and People’s choice award for my entry ‘Cold Front.’ Thanks to everyone who voted for my work!”
Laura Musser was the primary organizer of the Harford County Plein Air Art Festival and is the Center for the Arts’ Board Trustee and Secretary. Commenting on the artists’ participation and resident turnout for the event she declared, “The Plein Air Art Festival was a resounding success and clearly shows the enthusiasm the community has for art and artists. We are grateful to our sponsors for helping us to put on the first Plein Air Art Festival and once the Center for the Arts is built, we look forward to offering even more opportunities like this for local residents as well as for those from around the region to enjoy.”
Sponsors of the Plein Air Art Festival included APG Federal Credit Union, Pairings Bistro and the Town of Bel Air.
About the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts (www.harfordcfa.org)–Founded in 2005, the Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a permanent site for performance, display, and education in the arts in Harford County, Maryland. The mission of the Center for the Arts is to nurture art and artists, and positively impact the community at large by providing a broad range of experiences in music, dance, theater, visual and literary arts.