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Plein Air refers to the simple act of going outdoors to create a piece of art. Artists have long painted outdoors, but the act of painting in natural light from observation has grown in popularity in recent years. The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri wants to be a part of this growing passion.

In October 2017, the Arts Council held its first PAINT Cape Girardeau Plein-Air Competition. The event was so successful that we have decided to bring it back again in October 2018. Mark your calendar for your opportunity to exerience Cape's fall scenery while recreating its historical buildings and bluffs on canvas. This year's juror and workshop instructor will be M. Shawn Cornell. Using his own words, Mr. Cornell is "a plein air painter by the strictest terms" - meaning all his paintings are 100% produced en plein air with no touch-ups or after thoughts. More information about this year's judge can be found on his website at

We will continue to update this page with more information about the 2018 PAINT Cape Girardeau Plein-Air Festival.

Click Here to View the 2017 PAINT Cape Participants and Winners 

About the PAINT Cape Girardeau Plein-Air Competition

Our event is open to all individuals and skill levels. Please see the definitions we have applied to each competition category in order to register appropriately. Each Quick Paint and the Long Paint is open to all three categories. Participants will only be judged against those in their own category. Special Paints are open to Intermediates and Professionals, but only a single winner will be chosen. Canvas sizes are at the discretion of the artist. You will need to supply your own materials. 

Acceptable mediums: oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, pen, pencil, etc. 

Registration Cost: $50 or $40 for Art Council members
This category includes individuals who consider themselves experienced artists, have placed in Plein Air events, have taught art, or feel that their experience level places them in a professional standing. 

Registration Cost: $25 or $20 for Art Council members
This category includes individuals who have not previously placed in a juried Plein Air event, who do not make the majority of their income from painting sales, and who have not taught art.

Registration Cost: $10
This category includes individuals who want to participate in our exciting annual event. We welcome all ages in this category, but all individuals under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. 

For more information about the PAINT Cape Girardeau Plein-Air Competition, e-mail us at or call 573-334-9233.