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The Sanpete Messenger

Over 90 painters put brush to canvas in Plein Air competition

The top three winners of the annual Spring City Arts Plein Air Art Show stand by their paintings, which were displayed during a reception held at the Spring City Arts Gallery last Friday. (L-R): J. Ken Spencer, third place; Steven Heward, first place; and George Handrahn, second place.
The top three winners of the annual Spring City Arts Plein Air Art Show stand by their paintings, which were displayed during a reception held at the Spring City Arts Gallery last Friday. (L-R): J. Ken Spencer, third place; Steven Heward, first place; and George Handrahn, second place. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo
Over 90 painters put brush to canvas in Plein Air competition

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

9-8-2016

 

SPRING CITY—Artists from all over the western United States gathered to the heart of Utah for the 10th annual Plein Air Painting competition and Artists Studio Tour in Spring City.

Over 90 painters perched their easels and canvases throughout scenic Spring City from sun up on Tuesday, Aug. 30 until 4 p.m. Sept. 2 to compete for cash prizes.

Artists submitted their pieces to a string of judges on Friday afternoon, and were invited back to the Spring City Arts Gallery for an award ceremony and reception at 7:30 p.m.

The first place title went to Steven Heward of Sandy who won $1,500 for his oil piece titled “Smokey”. Zions Bank of Ephraim purchased the painting for $1,200.

George Handrahn of Layton placed second with his oil painting titled “Summer Day”, and won $1,000.

Third place went to J. Ken Spencer of Blackfoot, Idaho, who won $500 with his oil painting titled “Watson Barn.”

Forbes Magazine called Spring City “one of America’s prettiest towns,” and it’s not hard to see why. The scenic landscape of the town and surrounding areas lend themselves to creativity; a motive Chris Anderson and Susan Gallacher, two founders of the Spring City Arts organization, said is behind the annual event.

Anderson and Gallacher, who is also a local artist, say the event is to support artists in Sanpete, yet a number of out-of-county artists were drawn to the event with a desire to see local artists’ galleries and compete themselves.

The art show began 12 years ago as a studio tour, which Gallacher said turned out incredibly successful because of the number of art enthusiasts who participated.

The following year brought another successful event, but then began plans to launch a 501c3 non-profit organization to help financially accommodate growth.

“For a long time it took every single weekend meeting in my dining room to make this happen,” Gallacher said. “We [she and co-founder John Stevens] had to come up with a mission statement. What we were going to do, what the function was going to be, etc.”

Gallacher said she and Stevens reached out to Anderson, who had been one of her students and former lawyer, to see if he would provide free legal work, and he jumped on board.

Today the Spring City Plein Art Show is a favorite destination for local and traveling artists because of how well they are treated, thanks to Gallacher, who says because of her background as an artist she knows what many artists want.

Spring City Arts board member Mary Fairbanks is in her element using watercolors to paint what she saw on nature’s canvas.
Spring City Arts board member Mary Fairbanks is in her element using watercolors to paint what she saw on nature’s canvas. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo