PLEIN AIR GRAND MARAIS: a festival of outdoor painting
on the North Shore of Lake Superior
2018 First Place award winner Carl Bretzke with juror Jeffrey T. Larson
Plein Air Grand Marais is a 16 year tradition bringing outdoor painters to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a week of painting, competition, learning, and camaraderie. Beginning in 2018, the event is organized by Outdoor Painters of Minnesota together with the Cook County Historical Society's Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery.
2019 Competition Dates:
September 6-13, 2019
2019 Exhibit Dates:
September 13-October 6, 2019
Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery
115 Wisconsin St., Grand Marais, Minnesota
Plein Air Grand Marais welcomes artists of all ages and abilities. The Competition will consist of 75 invitational and juried painters. An Open Class consists of registered artists who may exhibit their best original work created during the event in an Open Class exhibit and compete for the Art On The Rocks award in the Quick Paint. A public art activity at Joy & Co. in downtown Grand Marais will offer supervised plein air painting for children and adults and a clothesline art exhibit. Daily paint-outs, artist socials, and Mini-Workshops with professional plein air Competition Artists are open to all artists.
Thank you to our community partners and sponsors!
Fifteen professional plein air painting instructors competing in the event will offer a 3-hour workshop during the week of competition. This was a popular success in 2018 that we hope will continue to draw painters of all levels to Grand Marais during the event to watch, learn, and get inspired.
Aprons, T-Shirts & Totes
This year we will offer advance orders of cerulean blue artists' aprons plus t-shirts in men's and women's relaxed-fit sizes. We have a few women's t-shirts and totes left from 2018 as well. Purchase options will be posted soon.
Painters may paint anywhere legal and safe within Cook County to be eligible for Competition and Open Class exhibits, but artists and visitors alike enjoy knowing where to find painters during Competition Week. We work with community partners and award sponsors to provide a list of recommended painting locations and schedule daily paint-outs in some of the most scenic places on the North Shore.
Public Art Activities
Plein Air Grand Marais will expose artists, visitors, and community members to a broad spectrum of opportunity to learn from the masters while exploring techniques of outdoor painting. Community paint-boxes will be available at local sponsor Joy & Co. for anyone to create a painting for public display in a "picket-fence gallery."
A children's plein air painting activity also will be supervised at Joy & Co.
Plein Air Grand Marais is more than a painting competition: it is an opportunity for artists of all levels to socialize, learn, make new connections and enjoy conversations, food and drinks together. Watch for the 2019 schedule including bonfire social at Neil Sherman's, west-end bonfire social at Sugarloaf Family Cabins, and happy hour gatherings at local restaurants and other sponsors.
Professionals' Panel Discussion
On Thursday, September 12 at 12:00–1:30pm, past prize winners will be featured for a panel discussion on plein air painting.
It's a Thursday night tradition: After the Quick Paint, we gather at the harbor picnic shelter at the Grand Marais Municipal Campground to sing, play music along with our ad-hoc band "The Plain Errors," and celebrate the week's painting achievements.