Plein air festivals
First place winner Kathleen Kotarba

Announcing the Award Winners of the 2018 Maryland Center for the Arts’ Harford Plein Air Festival

From the Maryland Center for the Arts

Twenty-five artists from all over the Mid-Atlantic region painted beautiful outdoor scenes of Harford County farms, topiary gardens, marinas, historic towns, and more at the Maryland Center for the Arts 4th annual Harford Plein Air Festival in September.

Michael Skalka, conservation director at the National Gallery of Art, presented over $5,000 in awards to the artists with best plein air paintings of outdoor scenes of Harford County at the Collectors’ Preview and Artists Awards Ceremony at the Bel Air Armory.

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Harford Plein Air Festival Award Winners:
First Place Award: Kathleen Kotarba (Baltimore, MD)
Second Place Award: Tara Will (Hampstead, MD)
Third Place Award: Kari Ganoung Ruiz (Interlaken, NY)
Honorable Mention: Debra Howard (Crisfield, MD)
Best Nocturne sponsored by the Havre de Grace Arts Collective: John Slivjak (Philadelphia, PA)
Best of Ladew Topiary Gardens Award: Donna Long (Baltimore, MD)

The Collectors’ Preview guests voted for their favorite paintings to receive the Caroline Jasper People’s Choice Award, which was presented to Juan Ramiro Torres (Guttenberg, NJ).

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The Quick Draw Competition, in designated areas in downtown Bel Air, provided a fun outdoor painting competition for artists of all ages. The Harford Artists Association sponsored the “Brushing Elbows” program to mentor student artists in the Quick Draw Competition. Rita Curtis, esteemed plein air artist from Baltimore and Quick Draw awards juror, presented awards at the Quick Draw art sale along Office Street.

Juried Artist Category Awards
First Place (sponsored by Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission): Debra Howard
Second Place: John Slivjak
Third Place: Carrie Barcomb

Non-Juried Adult Artist Category Awards
First Place: Rajendra K.C. of Falls Church, VA
Second Place: Ken Karlic of Bel Air, MD
Third Place: Denise Matuk-Kroupa of Baltimore, MD

The Youth Artist Category had 40 participating artists ranging in age from 5 to 17.

Youth Awards
First Place: Betty-Jean Fitzgerald
Second Place: Grace Tasel
Third Place: Vicky Lin
Honorable Mentions: Payton Truszkowski, Alexis Leder, and Owen Barcomb

The Quick Draw attendees voted for their favorite paintings, and the Adult Artist People’s Choice Award was presented to Rajendra K.C.; and the Youth Artist People’s Choice Award was presented to Payton Truszkowski.

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The Harford Plein Air Festival’s gallery sales and Quick Draw Competition were attended by over 300 people from the regional community. The participating sponsors were Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters, & Ruth, P.A., Bel Air Arts & Entertainment District, Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission, Black Eyed Suzie’s Restaurant, Harford Artists Association, Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development, Harford County Cultural Arts Board, Havre de Grace Arts Collective, the Cultural Center at the Havre de Grace Opera House, Ladew Topiary Gardens, and Sengstacke & Evans, LLC.

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The 2019 Harford Plein Air Festival is planned for October 6-12, 2019, with the Gallery Sale at Bel Air Armory. Artists can apply to become a juried artist for the 2019 competition by submitting an application on the Maryland Center for the Arts website, which will be posted in January 2019.

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