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Festival History

Paint and brushes on the lawnThe Plein Air Camp Hill Arts Festival started in 2011 with the mission of bringing people from outside the area into Camp Hill and the Cumberland County communities to enhance commerce and awareness, educate the public about plein air arts, and support and grow the arts in the community.

Now in its fifth year, the festival continues to promote artistic and economic efforts that will preserve and enhance the scenic and historic values associated with Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River Valley and its core communities, views and vistas by encouraging painting, photography and education related to its most valuable assets.

For those new to the centuries-old tradition of plein air, the term comes from the French en plein air, meaning "in the open air." While a familiar concept today, it was quite revolutionary in the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to capture the effects of sunlight and different times of the day on a subject. The sun moves, shadows change; there is only a short period of time that an artist has to capture the shifts of light and color when painting outdoors – but it is this very desire to distill the energy and freshness of nature that drives the plein air painter.

In 2013, the festival added a photography competition to the plein air painting competitions. This year, photography has been added to the student competition, with 15 regional school districts participating – up from 11 last year.

"This competition and festival has become a 'don't miss' event showcasing regional and national artists and Camp Hill's commitment to the arts, education, our youth, and business and economic development," said Craig Bachik, executive director of the Economic and Cultural Development Group in Camp Hill, the nonprofit organization that presents the annual Plein Air Camp Hill Arts Festival in partnership with the Camp Hill Borough. "With our student competitions, we’re thrilled to be training the next generation of plein air artists."

Each year, attendance has grown as artists and guests are traveling from as far away as Michigan and Massachusetts to participate and attend the festival. Camp Hill's vision is to become known as a center of arts and cultural activities for all ages in the Susquehanna Valley.

Plein Air Camp Hill promo images, 2012-2014

"We're really looking for substantive support from the community to make this a sustainable event," said 2015 Event Chair William Anderson, MD. "This free festival promoting Camp Hill's culturally rich community provides opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to interact directly with artists. It also offers free education and learning opportunities for those of all incomes, exposing them to and promoting local painters, photographers and other artisans."

Ultimately, Camp Hill hopes to create a sustainable event at a national level that attracts artists and tourists from around the country, helping local businesses by showcasing their services and support.

Fast Facts

  • Four years of successful events and created a scholarship fund
  • Raised $420,000+ in donations to support the scholarship fund and sustain the event
  • Engaged over 500 students from 11 regional school districts through the student banner competition each of the first four years
  • Provided music scholarships for students and created a professionally recorded and prepared CD of student music and artwork, "The Sounds of Plein Air 2014"
  • Sold $68,000+ in artwork
  • Provided 50+ free art education workshops and galleries
  • Accommodated 6,500+ attendees and growing
  • Accommodated 182 participating painters and photographers in order to showcase their current works
  • Educated the public on Plein Air painting
  • Free Youth Paint Out event with 500+ participants to date (provided free canvases, paint, brushes and instruction)
  • Created photography "Quick Shoot Event," the only one of its kind in the country

List of Past Awards Winners

2014 Art Competition Winners

1st PlaceJill Peckelun"The Susquehanna"
2nd PlaceJulie Riker"Underneath It All"
3rd PlacePatricia Walach Keough"Spring On High Street"
Honorable MentionJason Tako"The Basement Door"
Honorable MentionElissa Gore"Azalea Nocturne"
Artist's ChoiceJill Peckelun"The Susquehanna"
People's ChoiceJason Tako &
Julie Riker (tie)
"The Basement Door"
"Underneath It All"

2014 Photography Competition Winners

1st PlaceIrene VanBuskirk"Reflections in Concrete"
2nd PlaceJim Crowley"The Wayfarer"
3rd PlaceGeorge Rhyne"Inside Looking Out"
Honorable MentionR. Andrew Hoff"Plastic & Fog"
Honorable MentionDonald Uvick"Cars Only"
Artist's ChoiceSteve Hargrove"The River Awakens"

2014 Quick Draw Winners

1st PlaceJane Albin"Selfie for the Road"
2nd PlaceBeth Bathe"Last of the Irises"
3rd PlaceWilliam Lewis"At the Flower Shop"
Honorable MentionPaul Gallo"Backyards of Houses - 21st Street"
PleinAir Magazine
Award of Excellence
Jane Albin"Selfie for the Road"

2014 Quick Shoot Winners

1st PlaceMike Morris"Salute to Armed Forces Day"
2nd PlaceJames Eash"Ghost Bride"
3rd PlaceJim Whetstone"Jogging on 27th"
Honorable MentionAl Holliday"Granny Doesn't Live Here Anymore"

2014 Student Competition Winners

1st PlaceAnna SchraderLower Dauphin High School
2nd PlaceLauren PinsonCentral Dauphin East High School

2014 Youth Paint Out Winners

1st PlaceMya MarkleyCamp Hill, PA
2nd PlaceAnna Ruth Kadar-KallenHarrisburg, PA

2014 Scavenger Hunt Winners

1st PlaceTeam Kinneman
2nd PlaceTeam Nolan
3rd PlaceTeam Lesko

2013 Art Competition Winners

1st Place: Paul W. Flury, Elizabethtown, PA
2nd Place: Jill Peckelun, Hershey, PA
3rd Place: Jason Tako, Dover, PA
4th Place: Dorothy Hoeschen, Riegelsville, PA
Honorable Mention: Don Lenker, Camp Hill, PA
Artist's Choice: David Diaz, Annapolis, MD
People's Choice Award: Jane Ramsey, Perkasie, PA
Purchase Award: Clare Klaum, Mechanicsburg, PA

2013 Quick Draw Winners

1st Place: Jane Albin, Lewisburg, PA
2nd Place: David Diaz, Annapolis, MD
3rd Place: Peter Emerson, Lewisberry, PA
4th Place: Julie Riker, Camp Hill, PA
Honorable Mention: Claire Carnell, Gardners, PA
Honorable Mention: Beth Bathe, Lancaster, PA
Artist's Choice: Jane Albin, Lewisburg, PA
People's Choice Award: Jason Tako, Dover, PA

2013 Quick Shoot Winners

1st Place: Mike Morris
2nd Place: Steve Bootey
3rd Place: Chris Courogen
4th Place: George Rhyne

2013 Student Art Awards

Liz Barrantes, Susquehanna High School
Meredith Batzler, Camp Hill High School
Tramm-Anh Bul, Central Dauphin East High School
Sofija Chroneos, Hershey High School
Liza Cohen, Camp Hill High School
Caiti Deane, Camp Hill High School
Maia Dupes, Camp Hill High School
Kyler Fackler, Central Dauphin East High School
Alex Haines, Cumberland Valley High School
Aimee Hudson, Northern High School
Autumn Humm, Lower Dauphin High School
Lydia Grace Kadar-Kallen, Homeschool
Julia Kephart, Carlisle High School
Hannah Donnelly, Central Dauphin High School
Angela Linton, Lower Dauphin High School
Mya Markley, Camp Hill High School
Majda Mehanovic, Cumberland Valley High School
Alfi Nurdin, Central Dauphin East High School
Skylar Pfarr, Mechanicsburg Middle School
Laura Pinson, Central Dauphin East High School
Sofie Praestgaard, Carlisle High School
Abby Quinnan, Camp Hill High School
Zoe Roane-Hopkins, Camp Hill High School
Becca Robertson, Camp Hill High School
Mal Sary, Central Dauphin East High School
Anna Schrader,Lower Dauphin High School

2012 Art Competition Winners

1st Place: Patricia Keough, Carlisle, PA
2nd Place: Jonathan Frazier, Dillsburg, PA
3rd Place: Peter Emeson, Lewisberry, PA
4th Place: Luo Hong, Downingtown, PA
Honorable Mention: Jason Tako, Dover, PA
Artist's Choice: Ann Crostic, Baltimore, MD
People's Choice Award: Jason Tako, Dover, PA
Purchase Award: Julie Riker, Camp Hill, PA

2012 Quick Draw Winners

1st Place: Jason Tako, Dover, PA
2nd Place: Stephen Koons, Hummelstown, PA
3rd Place: Julie Riker, Camp Hill, PA
4th Place: Jill Peckelun, Hershey, PA
Honorable Mention: Johanna Monighan-Schaefer, Etters, PA
Honorable Mention: Ann Crostic, ,
People's Choice Award: Julie Riker, Camp Hill, PA

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2015 Sponsors

Camp Hill Borough    Reager Adler, 2014 Bronze Sponsor    Everest Care Management, 2014 Bronze Sponsor   RSR Realtors, 2014 Bronze Sponsor

Penica and Associates, 2015 Painters Awards Sponsor    Lamar Advertising, Contributing Sponsor    Alpha Consulting Engineers, Sustainer of Plein Air    Centric Bank, Sustainer of Plein Air Sponsor    FMA Advisory, Sustainer of Plein Air    Metro Bank, Sustainer of Plein Air

Char's Restaurant, Friend of Plein Air Sponsor    Creative Elegance Boutique, Friend of Plein Air Sponsor    Dr. Peter Brier, Internists of Central PA, Friend of Plein Air Sponsor    Optima Technology Associates, Friend of Plein Air Sponsor    Pennsylvania Retina Specialists, Friends of Plein Air    Kern and Comapny, Friends of Plein Air    PleinAir Magazine, Contributing Sponsor    Leon E. Wintermeyer, Inc, Friend of Plein Air Sponsor    Leon E. Wintermeyer, Inc, Friend of Plein Air Sponsor    West Shore Photpgrpahy Club, Student Awards Sponsor