12th Annual Mountain Maryland
Plein Air Competition & Exhibition
June 12-17, 2023

Mountain Maryland Plein Air

For 12 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 in 2021, 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 12-17, 2023.

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 12 years, the Allegany Arts Council has hosted its own Plein Air competition, and it’s not just for the artists. The 12th 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 two years of a global pandemic to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings?

We look forward to seeing you again in 2023!

Meet the Juror

Charlie Hunter
Nationally-Recognized Painter

Charlie Hunter is a nationally recognized painter of the post-pastoral American landscape. His distinctive, low-chroma work, heavily reliant on a mastery of values, edges and composition, utilizes a variety of moderately unorthodox techniques. His work has been featured in numerous art and lifestyle publications, is in multiple collections and museums, and was the recent subject of a one-man show, SEMAPHORE, curated by fellow artist Eric Aho. In 2022 Hunter scored a trifecta of sorts, winning the Grand Prize at Plein Air Easton, First Place at Door County Plein Air, and Best Body of Work (Artists’ Choice Award) at Smoky Mountains Plein Air. With painter and designer Larry Moore, Hunter created the En Train Air painting train, and Hunter’s weekly live stream, REASONABLY FINE ART TALKS, has a fervent following.

Growing up in rural New England, the son of a small-town printer, Charlie Hunter’s work examines the pressures of modern urban and suburban culture upon small-town and agricultural communities. Initially a graphic designer of tour posters for musicians such as the Jerry Garcia Band, Bob Dylan, The Clash, and REM, Hunter became a music manager and event producer, before turning to painting full time in the 2000’s,

Despite these achievements, Hunter’s cats remain surprisingly unimpressed, and merely wish he would provide more of “the gud fud.”

*Photo Credit: Rachel Portesi

Sponsors

Sponsors play an integral role in supporting the Mountain Maryland Plein Air Competition.  Stay tuned for details about our 2023 program!

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.

Donna Miller, Co-Chair
Patricia Hilton, Co-Chair
Lita Havens
Marion Leonard
Clara Porcello
Mary Ann Riley
Trina Runner
Tama Scarpelli
Ann Townsell