Plein Air Grand Marais is a community-supported, artist-organized event focused on camaraderie, education, and opportunity for artists to learn from each other and enjoy painting together. We offer cash and in-kind prizes for the Competition Class, Open Class and Quick Paint. Our 2023 Juror is Kim Casebeer.
The Open Class is intended for learning painters who wish to spend more time taking Mini-Workshops or who are not ready to commit to finish and frame 4-6 paintings for the Competition Exhibit. Open Class participants may display one original painting at the Open Class reception on Wednesday of Competition Week. Subject to available funds, "POEM" prizes for paintings of exceptional merit will be awarded, and a Best in Show winner will receive an invitation to the Competition Class in 2023. Wet Paint has contributed a selection of fine art supplies every year as prizes for the Open Class, and OPM will contribute a cash prize for each award.
Birney Quick Paint
The Birney Quick Paint is held on Thursday afternoon of Competition Week. It is a timed 90-minute spectator sport that involves artists and visitors alike in the drama and pressure of painting scenes around Artists Point amid constantly changing light and weather conditions. Check out this 2013award-winning documentary short about the 2012 Quick Paint at Plein Air Grand Marais, which continues to inspire appreciation of timed plein air competitions.
This year, the Birney Quick Paint will be open to all registered artists without distinguishing Open Class from Competition Class. Cash will be awarded for POEMs (paintings of exceptional merit). Cash plus a gift certificate to local art supply store Joy & Co will be awarded to the First Place winner in memory of renowned Minnesota artist Birney Quick (1912-1981), who co-founded the Grand Marais Art Colony in 1947 and was a seminal force in making Grand Marais a premier arts destination.
The Competition Class is intended for more experienced plein air painters who commit to create 4-6 paintings for display in Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery from September 22 to October 15, 2023. Four Competition paintings are eligible for awards, and an additional two Reserve paintings may be submitted to hang for sale as Competition paintings are sold.
Grand Prize for Best Body of Work: $1,000 + opportunity for solo show at Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery
Paintings of Exceptional Merit (POEMs): Six $500 awards of excellence for top paintings in any medium, including our popular Night Paint category. This year for the first time, we have a new POEM called the Cynthia S. Kath Award for Exceptional Color and Light. This annual award is sponsored by Cynthia's husband, Randy Rosauer. We will recognize Cynthia's passing this year and honor her extraordinary contributions to plein air painting at the final reception on September 22.
Special Category Awards: $250
Beauty of Watermedia
Beauty of Pastel
Beauty of Oil
Best Sense of Place
Sponsored Award: $250
Best Historic Site (selected by Cook County Historical Society)
Registered artists vote using paper ballots for an artist based on their entire body of work at the final reception. Note: Cash amounts and in-kind prizes are subject to change. The Juror may not give more than one award per artist in each event. The award for Best Historic Site is independently awarded by a committee from CCHS, and the Artists' Choice is awarded by vote of all registered participants at the final reception.