12th Annual Mountain Maryland
Plein Air Competition & Exhibition
June 2023

Mountain Maryland Plein Air

For 11 years, the Mountain Maryland Plein Air Competition & Exhibition has served Western Maryland as its premiere plein air event, bringing artists from across the United States to the heart of Appalachia for a week of artistry and beauty. In 2021, we celebrated our 11th year.

After more than a year of waiting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 11th Annual event took place, with a modified schedule and an array of new and creative efforts. This extraordinary program concluded with record-breaking attendance, sponsorship and sales!

We are pleased to announce we will be moving to a bi-annual schedule, with the next Mountain Maryland Plein Air Competition to take place in June 2023. Stay tuned for updates.

What is the MMPA?

Plein Air painting has been around for hundreds of years...why? There are few things as inspiring as taking brush and canvas outdoors, capturing the beauty of whatever may be happening in a given moment. Evidence of this early movement are rooted in Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and the Barbizon School.

The movement has grown, and today there are plein air competitions all around the country, showcasing some of the finest artists in this genre.

What makes these competitions special is the format - artists arrive in a location, many of which they have never been, and scout out places to paint, rain or shine. They paint continuously over a period of time, only unveiling their completed works at the conclusion of the competition. It is fast, requires tremendous discipline and artistry, and separates the casual artist from those who can dream, paint and complete works in a brief period.

For 10 years, the Allegany Arts Council has hosted its own Plein Air competition, and it’s not just for the artists. The 11th Annual MMPA is a week-long series of events and activities for painters and those interested in collecting, observing or trying their hand at plein air painting themselves. And what better time after a yearlong pandemic to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings?

We look forward to seeing you again in 2023!

Meet the Juror

Thank You to Our 2021 Juror!

Nancie King Mertz
Eminent & Master Pastelist
Chicago, Illinois

We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) 2018 Prix de Pastel recipient, Nancie King Mertz, to our 2021 program.

An award-winning artist, Nancie has spent her lifetime painting in oil & pastel. She was awarded the Master Circle Medallion by the IAPS in 2015, their Eminent Pastelist distinction in 2018, and is also a Master Signature member of the Pastel Society of America and the Chicago Pastel Painters. She teaches across the US and internationally and is on the faculty for the Plein Air Convention and the IAPS Convention. She has been named the 2020 Guest of Honor by the French Pastel Society, where a show of her work will be featured in Giverny, France. Note: Due to COVID-19, Mertz' appearance as Guest of Honor has been moved to Spring 2021.

Mertz has traveled to nearly 20 countries and around the US for inspiration, however, Chicago remains her favorite city to explore and paint, where she was twice named “Artist of the Year”.

Collectors marvel at the beauty she finds in the urban setting and have said she “softens the edges of the city”. See her work on many of the Chicago-themed TV shows such as the Good Wife and Chicago Fire.



Matthew & Kelli Allaway
Ben Osten & Keith Broome
John Hart & A. William Davis
Eric & Jen Delaney
Frank Fotia
Drs. Christopher & Brandi Haas
Kim & Marion Leonard
The Hon. Ray & Brenda Morriss
Queen City Creamery/Mixx 112
Sandi Saville
Scarpelli Funeral Home
George & Mary Beth Young


Danielle Rossi


Peter Halmos
Vic Rezendes & John Minnich
Nick & Tama Scarpelli


Allegany Orthodontics
Kathy Burkey
Betty Jo Gehauf
Manhattan Golf & Gallery
Stephen & Amy Owens
John Short & Clara Porcello
Potomac Farms Dairy
Christina Elson & Chris Sloan
Mary Splain Shrout
Gary Phillips & Ann Townsell
Russell Shorto & Pamela Twigg


Armstrong Insurance Agency
Martin & Gale Heavner
Hillegas Construction
Suanne Lewis
Opposite Genders Salon

Our Team

Special thanks to the 2021 Plein Air Committee of the Allegany Arts Council, whose continued support, encouragement and fundraising make this event possible.Thank you for all you do to support the arts in our community.

Keith Broome, Co-Chair
Patricia Hilton, Co-Chair
Bobbi Dubins
Lita Havens
Marion Leonard
Donna Monteleone
Clara Porcello
Sandi Saville
Tama Scarpelli
Ann Townsell