Alison Leigh Menke and Thomas Kitts enjoy the lobster boil!

The second annual Cape Ann Plein Air event recently wrapped up in Massachusetts with some remarkable results. Which artists seized the moment?

The picturesque coastal region north of Boston known as Cape Ann concluded its second successful plein air event on October 16. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to our readers since this area, which consists of Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport, has been something of a mecca for artists for generations. The area was famously captured by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Emile Gruppe, A.T. Hibbard, Fitz Henry Lane, Charles Movalli, and countless others.

First Place winner Mitch Baird with his winning painting and judge Marc Hanson

Thirty-eight of those others were participants in the 2017 Cape Ann Plein Air event. 2017’s participating artists, selected by juror Shelby Keefe from over 200 applicants, included Natalia Andreeva, Olena Babak, Mitch Baird, Beth Bathe, Lon Brauer, Jay Brooks, John Caggiano, Tammy Callens, Tony Conner, Ken DeWaard, Lisa Egeli, Mark Farina, Paul George, Marc Grandbois, Palden Hamilton, Ray Hassard, Hai-Ou Hou, Kathleen Hudson, Neal Hughes, Susie Hyer, Carol Jenkins, Ken Karlic, Tim Kelly, Thomas Kitts, Ken Knowles, Stephen LaPierre, Marjet Lesk, Joseph Lonbardo, David Lussier, Alison Menke, Elise Phillips, Anette Power, Robert J. Simone, Allan Forrest Small, Richard Sneary, Carol Strockwasson, R. Gregory Summers, Janet Sutherland, Rokhaya Waring, and Tara Will.

Artists Spirit Award Winner John Caggiano

Among the official events this year was a Quick Draw competition, judged by Marc Hanson, a collectors’ preview party and gala reception, a lobster boil, and daily artist demonstrations around town.

Lisa Egeli with her housing hosts, who are now collectors of hers!

The $6,000 First Place prize was awarded to artist Mitch Baird for “The Boat Builder’s Shop”; the $4,000 Second Place prize went to Neal Hughes for “Motif #1”; and the $2000 Third Place prize went to Lisa Egeli for “Caulking the Lynx.” Quick Draw winners included Tim Kelly in First, Tara Will in Second, and Elisa Phillips in Third.

Massachusetts Senator Bruce Carr, presenting Karen Ristuben with an official certificate

A full list of category and memorial awards can be found here. To learn more, visit Cape Ann Plein Air.

Artists during the Quick Draw
Artist Neil Hughes at work during 2017 Cape Ann Plein Air

And some pleased artists even provided testimonials:

“In my opinion, Cape Ann Plein Air is the number one plein air event in terms of great places to paint that I have participated in! And with strong sales this year, it is a first class event in every way! Last year it was hard to believe it was a first-year event because it was so well run, and this year it has surpassed expectations again. Thank you to Karen Ristuben, Chuck Hayback, Coleen Huggins Hayback, Dorothy Daly Marshall, Karen Berger, John Caggiano and all the other volunteers and staff — great job! Also thanks to Marc Hanson for doing a great job with the judging! I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this event. Hope to do it again next year. Thanks for all of your hard work and for making this a great event!” —Neal Hughes

“You all put on such a top-notch event, and the staff are all incredible people! Was amazing to see all the great work by everybody and looking forward to applying next year to do it all again. It’s by far my favorite event and place to paint! All the best to everyone!” — Mitch Baird

“This was my second national plein air event, and I was blown away by the talent. It was both inspiring and humbling. Cape Ann is a beautiful and inspiring location to paint in! And it’s very different from Los Angeles! Every time I thought I was being approached because I had parked in the wrong spot, I was instead surprised by someone’s friendly offer for me to use their bathroom, or asking if they could help carry things for me! I was struck by that friendly, positive spirit with all the organizers, volunteers and my hosts. Thank you for all that you did to put this together! And as Maya Angelou said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Thank you for making us as artists feel so welcome and appreciated! Hope to see you all again!” — Anette Power

“This is my last event for 2017, and it felt like saving the best for last. CAPA was like the strudel dessert I had in Rockport —perfect all around and a special treat not ordinarily encountered. Seeing old friends among the artists, meeting great new people, both among artists and art lovers, was wonderful; it felt almost like a weeklong party. The organization was first rate, the judging excellent, the awards generous, the sales quite good. I sure hope I will be there again next year! Huge thanks to all.” – Ray Hassard

This article was featured in PleinAir Today, a weekly e-newsletter from PleinAir magazine. To start receiving PleinAir Today for free, click here.

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