Several Artists Awarded at the 2019 Harford Plein Air Festival


The Maryland Center for the Arts presented the 5th Annual Harford Plein Air Festival, a week-long painting competition held throughout Harford County on October 6-12, 2019. Thirty artists were juried into the competition through an online entry application, with the top selections made by Baltimore artist and art juror Stewart White.

The thirty juried artists hailed from 7 different U.S. states: Barbara Berry (PA), Laura Martinez-Bianco (NY), Claudia Brookes (MD), Lisa BurgerLentz (PA), Henry Coe (MD), Ann Crostic (MD), Raymond Ewing (DE), Kathleen Gray Farthing (OH), Sarah Gawens (MD), Jill Glassman (MD), Ray Hassard (OH), Marita Hines (PA), Debra Howard (SC), Jane Knighton (MD), Kathleen Kotarba (MD), Michael Kotarba (MD), Debra Moffitt (MD), Chris Rapa (MD), Tom Ritchie (MD), J. Stacy Rogers (DE), Cynthia Rosen (VT), Duane Sabiston (MD), Tom Semmes (MD), Sandhya Sharma (MD), Anne Sieling (MD), Barbara Stepura (MD), Andreé Tullier (MD), Keith Weaver (MD), Pamela Wilde (MD), and Larry Witham (MD).

The awards juror of the competition was Crystal Moll, professional artist and gallery owner in Baltimore. The merit-based awards were presented to the artists at the sold-out Harford Plein Air Collectors’ Preview Party and Awards Ceremony at the Bel Air Armory on October 11, 2019.

The top awards went to Henry Coe (1st Place: “Early Autumn”); Raymond Ewing (2nd Place “Still Water”); and Chris Rapa (3rd Place “Every Leaf Speaks Bliss to Me”). The Caroline Jasper People’s Choice Award, voted on by gallery sale attendees, was presented to J. Stacy Rogers for his painting “Havre de Grace Sunrise”.

Other awards went to Jane Knighton (Best Nocturne: “Susquehanna Blues Over 40”); Cynthia Rosen (Best Architecture: “Heart and Soul”); Barbara Berry (Best Vanishing Landscape: “Duck, Goose, Goose, Goose)”; Debra Howard (Best Use of Light: “Entering the Dark Forest”); and Honorable Mention Awards to Tom Ritchie (“Feeding Time”) and Michael Kotarba (“Meditation”).

The Quick Draw Competition, held on Saturday, October 12, was a public plein air competition open to community artists of all ages as well as the juried artists. School students, community adults, and the juried artists painted a city scene of the Town of Bel Air in just two hours and presented their work for awards jurying and public sale next to the Harford Sheriff’s Office.

Awards for the quick draw competition were presented to: Cynthia Rosen (1st Place Juried Artist Award: “The Onlooker”), Chris Rapa (2nd Place Juried Artist Award: “Pick a Pumpkin”), Ann Crostic (3rd Place Juried Artist Award: “The Tea Room”), and Laura Martinez-Bianco (People’s Choice Award – Juried Artist: “Beyond Alice’s Garden”).

Winners for the community adult artist category were Ronaldo Dorado (1st Place: “Market Day”); Tara Will (2nd Place: “When the Sun Was On”); and Rajendra K.C. (3rd Place and People’s Choice Award for Best Community Artist: “The Courthouse”).
Awards in the student category went to Tara S. (1st Place for “Pretty Flowers”); Wyatt B. (2nd Place for “The Courthouse”) and Matt D. (3rd Place for “Morning Art”). The People’s Choice Awards in the student category went to Emma S. for “Fountain of Dreams” and Arden D. for “The Push Out”.

Several paintings were sold during the festival, and the gallery sale will continue online through November 23. Interested art buyers are encouraged to visit the Maryland Center for the Arts’ website to view and purchase the paintings for sale. A portion of the sales supports the Maryland Center for the Arts’ community arts programs and operations.

The next Harford Plein Air Festival is scheduled for September 14-19, 2020; and artist applications will be accepted January 1-April 30, 2020 using the online application system at

This program was made possible through grants from the Harford County Cultural Arts Board with funds from Maryland State Arts Council, a Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a Tourism Grant from the Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development. The sponsors that made this program possible were: AC Ishak Law, Bel Air Auto Auction, Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission, Bel Air Rotary Club, Blick Art Supplies, Britestar Business, Eden Mill Nature Center, Fine Art Connoisseur, First National Bank, Harford Artists Association, Harford Day School, Ladew Topiary Gardens, Liriodendron Foundation, Main Street Tower Restaurant, Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, No Boundaries Band, Plein Air Magazine, PNC Bank, Society of Italian American Businessmen, Upper Chesapeake Chorus, Visit Harford, Wegmans, and Zink Auction and Appraisals.

The Maryland Center for the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission to provide a broad range of creative and collaborative experiences in quality education, presentations, and exhibits in all disciplines of the arts; and to build and operate a visual and performing arts center for the region to have greater access to quality spaces to exhibit, present, and participate in the arts. The Maryland Center for the Arts’ property, a 41-acre wooded site at 2503 S. Tollgate Rd, has the Bear Legacy Adventure Trail open to the public to walk and explore the site where the Maryland Center for the Arts multi-purpose community arts center, amphitheater, and additional buildings will be built to provide a variety of programs in the arts for the regional community. To learn more, visit

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