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Holladay Journal

Holladay’s plein air contest entries to be displayed at Relics through October

Oct 01, 2022 07:27PM ● By Peri Kinder

Stephen Stauffer, a professional plein air artist, took second place in the 2021 Plein Air Holladay contest with his entry, “Cottage of Treasured Memories.” (Courtesy of the Holladay Arts Council)

By Peri Kinder | [email protected]

The Holladay Arts Council put out a call for artists to participate in the fourth annual Plein Air Holladay art contest and exhibit. Painting started at the end of September and winners will be announced during a reception at Relics Framemakers & Gallery (4685 S. Holladay Blvd.) on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 6-8 p.m.

The exhibit will run at Relics through Saturday, Oct. 29 and all paintings will be available for sale. Winners will be listed, along with images of their paintings, on the Holladay Arts website.

“Ben [Morrison] at Relics has been so generous to offer an exhibit for a month which for a plein air event is unheard of,” said Holladay Arts Council member Beckie Rock. “Usually, for a plein air event it lasts for the week that you paint and then you have the sale and you’re done. But we get to have all of that, plus a month-long exhibit which is really rare.” 

Along with the plein air paintings, a quick draw competition will take place on Oct. 8 where 15 artists will paint something they can see from the Holladay plaza. They have four hours to complete the picture (from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) before the paintings are judged and put up for auction. Bids will be accepted in-person at Relics and online at until Monday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.

            “We just love it and it brings the community together,” Rock said. “You’ll have people who know nothing about the plaza event and they’ll walk through it and stay and watch and listen to the wonderful music or eat at the restaurants nearby.”

Plein air is French for “plain air” which means painting out of doors. A large group of plein air painters in Utah participate in these competitions, and artists do not need to live in Holladay to enter.

Stephen Stauffer is a plein air artist who took second place in the contest last year. After working in the corporate world for 45 years, Stauffer retired in 2011 and turned his focus to becoming a professional artist.

“The plein air events have become very popular,” he said. “I travel the country doing these events throughout the year. There’s a groundswell that’s beginning and it’s a fun way to join a group of artists. You look at the paintings and just stand back and think, none of this existed a week ago. It’s a great way to celebrate the world we live in.”

Stauffer often gets approached by children while he’s painting and he enjoys their curiosity. He’ll let the kids paint on his project, which they love.

“I always let the kids paint on my painting if I’m out and about. You can always fix it or sometimes I’ll leave the marks they put on,” he said. “This event is a great way to celebrate the arts.”

Rock invites Holladay residents to attend the reception and to enjoy, or purchase, the plein air paintings during October. She said the event is a way to honor the beauty of the city and recognize the talented artists in the state.

“It’s fun because it’s all Holladay. Everyone who paints, paints within the boundaries of Holladay,” Rock said. “Our community does wonderful cultural things. We should be doing this in every little city we can.”