Plein Air Painting Competition

Friday, September 16 to Wednesday, September 21

Rules and guidelines for competing in the Escalante Canyons Plein Air Competition are detailed here: Rules and Guidelines.  All registered artists must agree to these to participate in the competition. 

If you are new to the festival or Escalante Canyons region, this list may help you plan your painting outings.

Registration is taken as agreement to follow CDC Covid-19 guidelines in place when festival is hosted.

Artist Stamp-in

Escalante Community Center – 89 N 100 West (Corner of 100 North and 100 West)










Painting Competition Submission 

Wednesday, September 21 – 10 AM-4 PM – Plein Air Exhibit Tent – Escalante Town Park

Submit one entry per category. At submission, the entire back of submitted artwork must be visible so that the authentication stamp is visible. All entries must be framed or presented for display. Framed artwork must have a wire attached for hanging. Artwork can be framed after submission if need be.  

Competition Categories 

  • Oil or Acrylic
  • Watercolor, Pastel or other media (for example, Wood Block)
  • Quick Draw – any media
  • Nocturne – any media
  • Junior (Grades K-3) – any media
  • Junior (Grades 4-6) – any media
  • Junior (Grades 7-9) – any media
  • Junior (Grades 10-12) – any media

Youth Participation Options

Younger artists are encouraged to participate in the plein air competition.  For college students a reduced entry fee of $25 per category in the main competition is offered (Student ID required at stamp-in).  The Junior Competitions allow high school and elementary students in one of four grade-appropriate categories to compete for cash prizes and include their work in the exhibit – this entry fee is $5.  

Additional Competitions 

Nocturne Competition

Week long competition – Stamp-in at main competition stamp-in- Escalante Community Center – $25 registration

The nocturne artwork must be created during evenings of the competition week and any media can be used.  General competition guidelines apply to this category. 

Quick Draw

Friday, September 23, 2 PM-5 PM  – Stamp-in at entrance to Plein Air Exhibit Tent starting at 1:30 PM – Escalante Town Park – $25 registration

Artists will have three hours to paint within the boundary of the Escalante Town Park. Images may be used for inspiration. Artwork to be displayed and for sale on Saturday.  

Plein Air Competition Judging 

Thursday, September 22, 9-11 AM 

The judges evaluate each competition entry for composition, originality, presentation, skill, technique, and the freshness that is the spirit of plein air.  The Exhibit Area is closed to the public (including artists) during judging.

Plein Air Awards 

  • Best of Show Purchase Award** – Oil/Acrylic – $1500
  • Best of Show Purchase Award** – Watercolor/Mixed Media/Pastel – $1500
  • Award of Excellence – a half-page ad in Southwest Art Magazine valued @ $2,305
  • Awards of Merit – 2 in each category – $500
  • Honorable Mention – 2 in each category – $250
  • People’s Choice Award** – $250
  • Artists’ Choice Award (voted by registered artists) – a quarter-page ad in Plein Air Magazine valued @ $1250
  • Quick Draw People’s Choice – $250
  • Nocturne – 1st Place – $300 / 2nd Place – $200 / 3rd Place – $100
  • Sheila Wooley Faulkner Memorial Award – awarded to painting that best captures historical context of Escalante – $300
  • Most Experimental Award – $300
  • Junior Best of Show – awarded across all junior categories – $100 
  • Junior Awards (K-3rd Grades) – 1st Place – $50 / 2nd Place – $35 / 3rd Place – $25
  • Junior Awards (4th-6th Grades) – 1st Place – $50 / 2nd Place – $35 / 3rd Place – $25
  • Junior Awards (7th-9th Grades) – 1st Place – $50 / 2nd Place – $35 / 3rd Place – $25
  • Junior Awards (10th-12th Grades) – 1st Place – $50 / 2nd Place – $35 / 3rd Place – $25

**Note that Escalante Canyons Art Festival keeps the Best of Show Purchase Award winners in each category.   The People’s Choice Award is granted only once to an artist during the life of the festival.

Artist Meet and Greet 

Saturday, September 17, 6-8 PM – Escalante Town Park Pavilion

Join the festival committee and registered artists at this welcome reception in the park where the food is provided by community businesses and individuals. A great place to see old friends and make new ones.

Art Sales

Plein Air Exhibit and Sale

Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24, 10 AM-6 PM – Plein Air Exhibit Tent – Escalante Town Park

Overflow Sales Tent

Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24, 10 AM-6 PM – Escalante Town Park

Artists can sell paintings in the Overflow Sales Tent that were created during any year of the festival – the paintings must have a festival stamp.

Artwork need not be framed.  Participating artists are encouraged to volunteer to help monitor and staff the tent.  Sales are processed by the festival staff.  Artists are responsible for securing their artwork at the close of each day.

Festival Finale Breakfast

Sunday, September 25 – 9 AM – 11 AM – Location: TBD

Join us for a no-host breakfast to close out the festival.  Artists may sell art of the local area, stamped or not. 


Registration refunds will be provided up to 30 days before the workshop or competition starts. 


Escalante Canyons Art Festival also reserves the right to refuse plein air competition registration to future events to any individuals who do not follow the Rules and Guidelines or conduct themselves in other unethical or fraudulent behavior or actions.

We look forward to seeing you in September!