For the first time ever, a unique art contest is being put on by the Tooele City Arts Council in conjunction with the annual Tooele Arts Festival.
The contest, called a plein air art contest, will take place during the week leading up to the arts festival, beginning June 17. Plein Air means “in the open air.” Artists are encouraged to get out of the studio and create artwork highlighting Tooele County, according to Chris Wilcox, vice chair on the Tooele City Arts Council.
“A lot of arts festivals have a plein air art contest,” he said. “We talked about doing it last year, but with the changing of hands with the arts festival organizers, it didn’t work out, so we made sure we did it this year. It’s an opportunity for artists to participate in a contest that all happens over the course of a few days. Instead of an artist being able to paint, draw or take pictures for weeks or months, they have to do it in just a couple of days.”
When the contest begins June 17, participants must go to Tooele City Hall from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to have their canvasses stamped and their photo memory cards cleared. Any canvas that will be used in the contest must be stamped at registration or it will not be accepted, Wilcox said.
Artists will have two days to create their works of art. The completed pictures or artwork must be brought to city hall on June 19 between noon and 2 p.m., Wilcox said. All work must be ready to hang with proper wiring. Artwork will also need a sale price, which should be determined by the artist and disclosed upon returning their work.
Each artist may enter up to two pieces and it is required that art be done in Tooele County. Examples of art could be landscape, still life, portrait and wildlife.
“The whole idea behind plein air is to get out of the studio and do paintings, drawings or photography outside,” Wilcox said. “People can do anything they want with the art. They don’t have to be outside, but the idea is to let people see there’s beautiful art in Tooele County.”
Cash prizes will be given to the first, second and third place winners. Prizes will be determined depending on the amount of entries, but the first place winner could receive up to $500, the second place winner up to $300, and the third place winner up to $100.
The registration fee is $30 if paid before June 17. High school students’ registration fee is $20, and registering the day the contest starts is $40.
The reception and awards ceremony for winners will take place at Tooele City Hall on June 20 at 7 p.m. All entries from the contest can be purchased at the awards reception or throughout the Tooele Arts Festival where they will be displayed. The festival will be held in Tooele City Park from June 21 to 23.
Wilcox said so far, the contest has generated a lot of interest, even from people who live outside of Tooele County. He hopes to have at least 20 artists participate in this year’s contest.
“I think it’ll probably end up being a fairly small show since it’s still new, but it’s a good opportunity,” he said. “We hope we can continue to do it every year and grow it each year.”
For more information on the contest, contact Wilcox at (435) 840-3838.