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First Annual 'Plein Air for the Park' Event Finishes with a Flourish

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Date: July 19, 2012
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

Grand Teton National Park served as the inspiration and setting for a 'Plein Air for the Park' fine art exhibition co-hosted by the Grand Teton Association (GTA) and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP). Forty-four professional artists spent two weeks (July 1-14) painting on-location to capture the spectacular landscape, wildflowers and wildlife of the park. The event also highlighted the GTA's 75th anniversary as an educational, non-profit partner for Grand Teton National Park.

The 'Plein Air for the Park' fête culminated with a quick draw on Thursday afternoon, July 12, and a special gala reception and award ceremony on Friday evening, July 13. Approximately 140 pieces of artwork created during the two week event were placed on display and for sale. Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, GTA Board Member Kathryn Mapes Turner, and RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz welcomed a standing-room-only crowd to the gala reception, and kicked off a weekend of art sales that totaled about $50,000, of which 40% will be donated to park through the GTA to support art and educational programs.

"This talented group of artists fascinated park visitors who watched them create artwork out in nature," said Superintendent Scott. "The 'Plein Air in the Park' reminds us of the legacy of the Teton landscape as inspiration for artistic expression. We hope this year's event generates a new tradition."

"It was an outstanding response for our inaugural event. Visitors and locals appreciated seeing so many artists scattered about the park, painting timeless scenes," said Jan Lynch, executive director of the GTA. "Some folks returned to purchase the very piece they watched an artist create. We were truly honored to partner with the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters for this special event that benefits our park."

Former National Park Service employee and renowned fine art painter, Greg McHuron, was honored during the gala reception for his commitment to the arts and his passion for painting in Grand Teton in all weather and throughout all seasons. McHuron, longtime member of Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, was unable to attend due to a health issue; however, his painting "Jackson Lake Mirror" was the first sale of the show and it sold for $10,500.

Several awards were given at the gala event. Those awards include:
Best of Show to Kathryn Turner for "Lily Pads"
Award of Excellence to Dave Santillanes for "String Lake"
Award of Excellence to Kathy Anderson for "Aspen Beauty"
Award of Excellence to Beahanne Kinsella Cople for "Cool Morning"
Superintendents Award to Erin O'Conner for "And Evening Ensues"
Sharlene Milligan Scholarship Award to Carol Swinney for "Mt. Moran"
GTA Board of Directors Award to Stephen C. Datz for "Greeting the Dawn"
GTA Exec. Director Award to Jeanne Mackenzie for "Menor's Ferry, Longing for the Snake"
Artists Choice Best Painting to Kathryn Turner and JeanneMackenzie
Artists Choice Award Best Body of Work to Kathryn Turner and Stephen C. Datz
Honorable Mention Awards:
Stacey Peterson for "Serenity"
John Potter for "Nature Uplifting"
LaNell Arndt for "Lone Star"
Aaron Schuerr for "Afternoon Thunder

GTA operates bookstores at visitor centers in support of the missions of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and other partners such as the National Elk Refuge and surrounding national forests. The GTA provides critical funding through the sale of educational and interpretive materials, and supports interpretive, educational, and research programs at Grand Teton and across the Greater Yellowstone Area. For more information, visit www.grandtetonpark.org.

The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP) is a group of professional artists who shares a love of painting from life. The RMPAP organization encourages and promotes plein air painting within the Rocky Mountain region as a unique form of artistic expression. The RMPAP works to bring artists and art appreciators together in a creative atmosphere with an emphasis on the fellowship of professional artists. Members are encouraged to share ideas, enthusiasm, and knowledge with one another and others. The group's membership has grown steadily through its 12 year history and now includes 50 professional artists from all over North America. Currently, membership is by invitation only. For more information, visit www.rmpap.org.

Did You Know?

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Did you know that Uinta ground squirrels, sometimes mistaken for prairie dogs, hibernate up to eight months a year? These animals leave their burrows in March or April to inhabit the sagebrush flats, but may return by the end of July.