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Inaugural Plein Air Duluth delivers honors to artists

Dan Mondloch

On July 17, a small group of painters distinguished themselves among their peers and were recognized with awards and cash prizes at the Duluth Art Institute.

Thirty five participated in the Duluth Art Institute’s inaugural Plein Air Duluth: Paint du Nord festival, painting outdoors in the Duluth-Superior area over the course of seven days. Each entered three paintings into an exhibition and competition, and of the 105 works on view in the Morrison Gallery, just three were selected for prizes by Juror Andy Evansen.

First place was awarded to Dan Mondloch for “Industrial Charm.” Mondloch is a watercolor painter based in St. Cloud, Minn., who teaches at Paramount Visual Arts Center and elsewhere, and who is represented by the Ripple River Gallery in Aitkin, Minn., and Seasons On St. Croix Gallery in St. Cloud.

The second place festival prize went to Arna Rennan for “Hawk’s Ridge,” and third place to Tom Dimock for “Liftbridge at Night.” All three artists received $100 from the Duluth Art Institute.

Honorable mentions included Derek Davis’ “Morning Dip”; Wendy Lacska’s “Beaver River Sunset”; Allison Eklund’s “Plein Air at Glensheen”; and Robert Pokorney’s “GC ‘1’ Duluth Harbor”.

As part of the Plein Air Duluth festival, artists also competed in a special Quick Paint event in which they had a mere 90 minutes to complete a painting at the Rose Garden. Each artist put one Quick Paint painting on view in the DAI Corridor Gallery, which was judged separately from other festival work.

Neil Sherman’s “Let’s Meet Here” was awarded first place in the Quick Paint category, and he took home a $100 cash prize. Mary Pettis’ “Rainy Blues” took second place; Adam Swanson’s “Another Day” took third; and Tom McGregor’s “Rainy Way: Soak Street” was fourth.

Paintings created in the Plein Air Duluth: Paint du Nord festival are on display through Sept. 6. Two additional paintings are held in reserve for each artist, to be rotated into the gallery as sold work rotates out.