Plein air painting -
Images courtesy of Melinda Stockwell

Submitted by Melinda Stockwell

Villages Folk School of Van Buren County, Iowa, held its first plein air competition, called “Paint the Fair,” at the county fair this year. The two-day event was disrupted on the first evening by a tornado that touched down and lifted as the storm traveled across the rural area. A historic landmark barn, owned by the Galloway family, was destroyed in the storm. Several of the artists captured the barn just hours before its demise. A large crowd gathered at the county fairgrounds the following evening to view these paintings and multiple others of local barns and fair scenes.

Plein air painting -


Plein air painting -

About “Paint the Fair” 2018

Thanks to the artists who participated, the judges who selected, the buyers, attendees, barn owners, fair board, and those who worked behind the scenes, the “Paint the Fair” plein air contest during the Van Buren County Fair was a wonderful event that allowed us the opportunity to celebrate talented artists and our rich agricultural history.

I am pleased to announce that 22 of the 32 paintings sold. There was a wonderful turnout at the judging/awards ceremony. Thank you all for coming. Our condolences to the Galloway family for the loss of their landmark barn. We are so glad that the artists captured it just hours before the storm.

Plein air painting -

Plein air painting -

The following artists were awarded:
1st Place- Jessica Kirby “Parsons Barn”
2nd Place- John Evans “Finney Foundation”
3rd Place- Carol Gunn “Morning Clouds”

Honorable Mention:
Carroll Michalek “Out Back”
Deb Baughman “Horse Barn”

Thanks to those offering Purchase Prizes:
1st Iowa State Bank
Lynn & John Manning
Richelle Workman Runyon
Dena M. Clark
Villages of Van Buren County, Iowa, Barn Book

Artists Participating:
Sheri Dill-Billings
Carlene Dingman Atwater Fine Art
Carol Gunn
John Preston
Carroll Michalek
Jessica Kirby
John Evans
Gin Lammert Fine Art
Deborah Baughman
Victoria Fosmo
Timothy Urban
Taylor Sickles & David Trudell

Lynn Manning
Chris Bennett
Richelle Workman Runyon

This event was made possible through funds provided by the Van Buren Foundation, Inc., for a Villages Folk School “Community Arts” grant program. Thanks to those working behind the scenes to make this such a great event: Richelle Workman Runyon, Carroll Michalek Fine Art, Ginny Lammert, Christy Barker Wiley, Fairfield Feed for the straw seating, and the Van Buren County Fair board for allotting us such a great space.

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