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City of Moscow Press Releases

Posted on: September 23, 2020

Palouse Plein Air Finds Virtual Ground, Awards Top Artists

Palouse Plein Aire Logo

Moscow, ID—A new exhibition by regional artists opened online September 23 as part of the 11th Annual Palouse Plein Air competition presented by the City of Moscow Arts Department.   

Artists from Deary to Spokane and Naples to Meridian gathered virtually to celebrate the beauty of the open air. In the exhibition, artists created works of art outdoors to capture outdoor scenes of nature, gardens, towns and more. 

“Although I work out of my Crooked Creek Art Studio in Southwestern Idaho, plein air events take me across the western U.S. to paint the landscape,” said participating artist Bonnie Zahn Griffith. 

Artworks were created Sept. 11 – 21 and feature scenes from not only the Palouse region, but Northern and Southern Idaho. Artists were encouraged to prioritize safety over travel as needed, and paint a view from their local area.  

The virtual exhibition also features on-site photos from artist’s time on location. These photos share a glimpse into the creative process and the various locations selected for painting.

“We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place,” says Ed Robinson, a participating artist working in Bonner County. “Plein air painting allows me to stand knee deep in that splendor and enjoy it in a very intimate way. The places I paint are important to me.”

This year’s guest juror was Katy Ann Fox, an accomplished oil painter and plein air artist.  Fox adjudicated the exhibition and award prizes to the top artists. This year’s award winners included:

1st Place – “Sunlit Marsh,” Denise Gilroy
2nd Place – “In the Arboretum,” Bobbi Kelly
3rd Place – “Fields of Smoke,” Carol Maddux
Best Palouse – “East View,” Jean Arnold
Best Downtown – “Support your Police: City of Moscow Police Department,” Sharon Macy
Best Historical – “Farm Life,” Cathy Gottschalk
Best On-site Photos of Artwork – Pam Rogers
Student Awards – “Moscow Farmers Market,” Kelsey Grafton and “Smokey Rolling Hills,” Emma Woolstenhulme
Honorable Mentions – “Autumn Haze,” Ed Robinson and “Sun Through Smoke,” Virginia Shawver

Fox is based in Teton Valley, Idaho and has established herself as a studied and dedicated Jackson Hole artist and art professional. She works at the National Museum of Wildlife Art and earned her MFA in painting from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, CA after completing her undergraduate at the University of Idaho.   

The online Palouse Plein Air Gallery remains open through October 31. To view the gallery, visit: 

Historic Moscow, Idaho and the beautiful Palouse are the perfect destination for plein air artists, and the annual Palouse Plein Air painting event connects artists with the region’s landscape and arts culture. French for “open air,” the phrase “plein air” (pronounced plen-air) describes the act of painting outdoors. The outdoor experience on the Palouse is particularly rich, as its rolling hills, rivers, mountains, fields, farms, and homes tell the long history of the landscape.

Guided by the vision of the Moscow Arts Commission and University of Idaho art professor Aaron Cordell Johnson, Palouse Plein Air began in 2010, and the event continues to grow. A collaboration of community partners makes this growth possible; the City of Moscow, the Prichard Art Gallery, and the University of Idaho College of Art + Architecture work together to make a great event for artists and art lovers alike.


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