The Plein-Air Painters of America (PAPA) gave Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum in Irvine, California, the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award on April 5 at the PAPA exhibition and sale at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. 

The award was given at the end of Stern’s presentation “The Art of Looking at Art,” which served as the opening of the exhibition. Stern’s expertise on California Impressionism and plein air painting has made him a sought-after juror and speaker across the country. PAPA’s statement on the award notes that Stern once wrote that landscape painting is “the noblest form of pictorial representation, and plein-air painting is its truest expression.”

“Jean’s commitment to quality in the fine arts has set a benchmark for both artists and the art-collecting community,” said Gil Dellinger, president of PAPA. “And PAPA, as an organization, would not be at the forefront of plein air groups without his guidance and wisdom. We are honored to look up to him as a scholar, as well as considering him a friend and promoter of plein air painting at its best.”

PAPA was founded in 1986 in Avalon, Catalina Island, California. The national organization holds exhibitions, workshops, and other events to share knowledge about the tradition, values, and methods of plein air painting. The PAPA Lifetime Achievement Award was initiated in 2012 to recognize those individuals who have actively pursued an awareness of plein air painting, upheld a commitment to the highest quality, promoted educational excellence in the field, and contributed to its art historical recognition. In 2013, Denise Burns was recognized for her foresight in identifying and educating collectors about the values of painting outdoors and for founding the PAPA organization. In 2012, awards were given to art collector Roy Rose, of Avalon, California, who founded the Society for the Advancement of Plein Air Painting, and to Stephen Doherty, artist, curator, and current editor of PleinAir magazine.


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