What is the MMPA?


Plein Air painting has been around for hundreds of years…why? There are few things as inspiring as taking brush and canvas outdoors, capturing the beauty of whatever may be happening in a given moment. Evidence of this early movement are rooted in Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and the Barbizon School.

The movement has grown, and today there are plein air competitions all around the country, showcasing some of the finest artists in this genre.

What makes these competitions special is the format – artists arrive in a location, many of which they have never been, and scout out places to paint, rain or shine. They paint continuously over a period of time, only unveiling their completed works at the conclusion of the competition. It is fast, requires tremendous discipline and artistry, and separates the casual artist from those who can dream, paint and complete works in a brief period.

For 10 years, the Allegany Arts Council has hosted its own Plein Air competition, and it’s not just for the artists. The 11th Annual MMPA is a week-long series of events and activities for painters and  those interested in collecting, observing or trying their hand at plein air painting themselves. And what better time after a yearlong pandemic to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings?

We look forward to sharing this very special week with you.