The Plein Air Camp Hill Arts Festival drew 62 painters from eight states and the Dominican Republic to the fifth edition of the event recently. Who took home ribbons? 

The weeklong event, which stretches across seven Pennsylvania counties, has a popular photography component, too. Spokesperson Cheryl Slavinsky says, “The mission was to capture the beauty of central Pennsylvania on canvas and in photography. This year’s participants painted and shot rye fields and horses in green fields, the Susquehanna River and views from all angles, quaint Camp Hill Victorian houses, alleys, gardens, and architecture.”

“Painted Paints,” by Jason Tako, oil, 16 x 20 in. First Place

Dennis Akin of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, a professor emeritus of Fine Arts at Dickinson College, served as awards judge. He picked Jason Tako’s piece “Painted Paints” for the First Place ribbon. Brian Eppley won Second with “View of Harrisburg From Reservoir Park,” and Maureen Vezina took Third Place for “Creek Zen.” 

Winners in the general category: left, Purchase Award, Brienne Brown, “Looking Down on River Street”; and People’s Choice, Luis Miguel Gerardino, “The Pride”

Honorable Mention and the PleinAir Magazine Award went to Charles Newman for his piece “Old Steel Bridge.” Luis Miguel Gerardino, of the Dominican Republic, won People’s Choice with his acrylic painting “The Pride.” Raymond Ewing, from Swan Point, Maryland, won Artists’ Choice with “The Last Caboose.” Brienne Brown won the Painting/Drawing Purchase Award for her piece “Looking Down on River Street.”

The Quick Draw winners pose with their winning paintings. Gloria May Photography

The Quick Draw winners were Raymond Ewing, First Place for “Red, White and Blue”; David Lee, Second Place for “Camp Hill Morning”; Lon Brauer, Third Place for “American Roadway”; Beth Bathe and Alina Osipov Sentman tying for Artists’ Choice; Jason Tako, People’s Choice and the PleinAir Magazine Award of Excellence; and Patriciah Walach Keough and Chrissy Pahucki, Honorable Mention.

Raymond Ewing’s Quick Draw entry, “Red, White, and Blue.” Gloria May Photography

Raymond Ewing proudly displays his First Place painting, “Red, White, and Blue.” Gloria May Photography

Artist David Lee poses with his Second Place painting, “Camp Hill Morning.” Gloria May Photography

David Lee’s award-winning entry. Gloria May Photography

Jason Tako with his multiple-award-winning painting “Dr. Carl’s House.” Gloria May Photography

Lon Brauer’s “American Roadway” took Third Place in the Quick Draw. Gloria May Photography

Lon Brauer and “American Roadway.” Gloria May Photography

Patriciah Walach Keough’s painting earned an Honorable Mention. Gloria May Photography

Chrissy Pahucki’s “Willow Park Bridge” won her an Honorable Mention in the Quick Draw. Gloria May Photography

The Plein Air Camp Hill Arts Festival has a large educational component, with contests for students in photography, landscape painting, Quick Draw, and the Snow Plow Challenge — painting a snow plow parked and idle, a symbol of spring having truly arrived in the area.

Over the course of its five-year history, the event has raised almost $500,000 for arts education and sold nearly $85,000 in artwork. More than $12,000 in awards was given at this year’s edition, which wrapped up on May 31.

It seems that the event was a lot of fun, too.

A stroller can double as an easel.

“In an impromptu nocturnal paint-out after a riverside party thrown for participants and community sponsors by festival hosts — the nonprofit Economic and Cultural Development Group in Camp Hill in partnership with the Borough of Camp Hill — a small group headed into Harrisburg with their lighted headgear,” reports Slavinsky. “Painter Susan Nicholas Gephart, from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, painted State Street leading to the state Capitol, her first cityscape ever. Gephart’s painting buddy Brienne Brown of Julian, Pennsylvania, painted the exterior of a city restaurant, Cork & Fork. A Facebook post on the festival’s page led one of the restaurant’s partners to purchase the painting at 9 a.m. sharp on main festival day. Others painted a church, a door, the street or whatever caught their eye.”


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