Craig Lueck with Best of Show sponsors Dennis Strait (Gould Evans) and Susan Richards Johnson (Strata)

Penn Valley Park contains many of Kansas City’s most iconic monuments and memorials, which presented many outdoor painters with delightful subjects to represent during the 2017 Plein Air Kansas City, held May 5-13. Which artists were victorious? Find out here.

Kim Casebeer, Patrick Saunders, and Rachael Cozad were the three judges tasked with doling out awards during the 2017 Plein Air Kansas City event this spring. Founded in 2013 as a fundraiser for the Penn Valley Park Conservancy, Plein Air KC has witnessed rapid growth among Midwest plein air festivals not only because of the beautiful setting, but its inclusiveness as well.

Craig Lueck, “Tribute Walk,” 2017, watercolor on paper
Craig Lueck, “Firefighters Memorial Quick Paint,” 2017, watercolor on paper (winner)

“We are committed to inclusion,” says the event’s website, “and accept all artists regardless of experience, medium, reputation, etc. Because of this, artist registration has doubled annually — leading to a proliferation of progressive and unique entries created during the festival.

Spencer Meagher, “Tribute to the Valiant,” 2017, watercolor on paper (Park Place Purchase Award)
Spencer Meagher, “Whither Thou Goes,” 2017, watercolor on paper (First Place)

“In 2016, the Penn Valley Park Conservancy expanded the festival to include areas surrounding the park in addition to the park itself. The festival has also doubled in length from a five-day festival to a full ten days in response to artist popularity and demands for increased time to work.” This year artists created 177 paintings to be judged, with watercolors dominating the winners.

Marcia Willman stands with her painting
Marcia Willman, “Good Morning Moon,” 2017, watercolor on paper (Second Place)

The well-funded event offers up a number of cash prizes that have kept participants flocking to the city in early spring. Craig Lueck went home with the $1,000 Best of Show award for his watercolor titled “Tribute Walk.” Spencer Meagher’s “Whither Thou Goes” was awarded First place, Marcia Willman’s “Good Morning Moon” took Second Place, and Marcia Streepy’s “Study in Light” won Third Place to round out the top four prizes.

Marcia Streepy with her painting
Marcia Streepy, “Study of Light,” 2017, watercolor (Third Place)
Ann Molasky, “Union Cemetery Quick Paint,” 2017, oil on canvas (winner)
Zak Barnes, “Lake Quick Paint,” 2017, oil on canvas (winner)

The festival also included three Quick Paints, taking place at historic Union Cemetery near Penn Valley Park. Craig Lueck, Anne Molasky, and Zak Barnes were victorious in this category. There was also a single Park Place purchase award of $1,500 that went to Spencer Meagher for his work “Tribute to the Valiant.”

To learn more, visit Penn Valley Park/Plein Air KC.

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