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Black Hills Plein Air Paint Out
6th Annual
September 21-23, 2023



The French term "plein air" means out of doors and refers to the practice of painting entire finished pictures out of doors rather than in a studio.  Plein Air painting is the largest movement in art history, and growing.

This event is hosted in the beautiful southern Black Hills of South Dakota and provides endless creative opportunities. The area offers rolling green hills, thick green forests, prairie, lakes, creeks, and wildlife.  Hill City and Custer State Park both have a myriad of awe inspiring painting options, and a quick drive will take you to two historic monuments; Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial.  This event includes daily plein air painting, homework displayed for sale in a gallery, Artists meet and greet, wet sale, Sponsors and Artists reception, and a Quick Draw Competition and Auction. Awards totaling $2,000.00.

The Hill City Arts Council’s Mission is to “Enrich the cultural life of the area by nurturing and supporting excellence in the arts; and by providing opportunities for area citizens, students, and visitors to experience the arts in its myriad of forms”.  We would be happy if you would join us in accomplishing our Mission.

Please email me if you would like to be put on our artists mailing list.
JoAnn Hoffman

2023 Application Form is now Closed
Artists listed below

2023 Judge - Tim Peterson

Auctioneer: Adam Karrels

Ranch Manager, NW Ranches, real estate agent

2023 Schedule of Plein Air Events

Thursday, September 21

9:00-3:00 - Registered artists' check in at the Hill City Arts Council office at the Old World Plaza on Main Street, Hill City. All canvas stamping will be done at the Hill City Arts Council office. 280 Main Street, Hill City, Suite 12  (office is upstairs)

  • Blank surfaces must be stamped at office

  • Artists receive registration packets and welcome bags containing information, name tags, event painting price tags, and a list of suggested sites to paint.

  • Deliver your homework to the Jon Crane Gallery, use your homework price tags that were sent to you.

9:00-4:30 - Plein Air Painting-Best of Day
5:00 pm - Thursday event paintings must be submitted at the Jon Crane Gallery by 5:00 pm for Best of Day        judging.

6:00-8:00 - Artists Meet and Greet-Directions in your gift bag and in your name tags
                      Heavy appetizers and drinks at The Hoffman Bunkhouse .
6:30-Talk by Tim Peterson -
Best of Day announced


Friday, September 22
9:00-11:00 - Artist Check in and canvas stamping if needed, Hill City Arts Council office

9:00-2:30 - Plein Air Painting
By 4:
00 - No later than 4:00, turn in your artwork at Jon Crane Gallery
                  Remove your homework from the Jon Crane Gallery
4:00-5:00-Wet sale judging
5:30-6:30 - Sponsors and Artists Reception (invitations only) People's Choice and Artist's Choice                                                    voting. Appetizers and Drinks
6:00-Event Awards Presentation

6:30-8:00 - Sponsor and Artists Reception-Open to public

7:00-People's Choice and Artists Choice-Voting ends 
7:30-People's Choice Award and Artist's Choice Award presented.


Saturday, September 23

8:00-9:00 - Surfaces stamped for Quick Draw at the Hill City Arts Council Office
9:00-Artists will remain at the Old World Plaza until 9:00 at which time the artists will be released to proceed to their location of choice to setup and start painting. No early setup is allowed.

9:00-11:30 - Quick Draw competition painting
12:00 - Submit Quick Draw no later than 12 noon to the 
McGregor & Main Luxury Lofts on Main Street
12:00-12:30 Judging
12:30- Best Quick Draw Award-Live auction immediately following.

12:30 - Live Auction at McGregor & Main Luxury Lofts on Main Street-Auctioneer and public bidding
All are invited to attend and bid! Open to public.

Artists may pick up unsold art from Jon Crane Gallery any time after the completion of the live auction. 


2023 List of Artists

Jill Tesnow

Carol Brookens

Rodger Ellingson

Jovanu Armstrong

Isaiah Welsch Steinbrecher

John Sterner

Sandy Newman

Mary Boylan

Cheryl LeClair
Tommie Leenknecht
Isa Kirk
Melissa Nelson

Lucas Kotschwar
David Sieh
Marsha Knopf

Corinne Hansen

Jayna Watson
Marie Curtin

Alissa Millsap
Tanner Lamphere

2022 Winners

Best of Show:  Nancy Giere, "Mickelson Trail Access"


Honorable Mention:  Jill Tesnow, "On Battle Creek"


Best Downtown Hill City:  Stephen Randall, "Alpine Inn"


Thursday Best of Day:  Blake Luther, "Trestle Near Mystic"


Friday Best of Day:  Margaret Ovitt, "Up High"


Best Quick Draw:  Blake Luther, "Turtle Granite"


Artist's Choice:  Carol Brookens, "Been Here Long"


People's Choice:  Cheryl Le Clair Sommer, "Lofty Peak"

Best of Show $500
Honorable Mention $300
Thursday Best of Day $150
Friday Best of Day $150
Best Downtown Hill City $200
People’s Choice $250
Artists’ Choice $250
Best Quick Draw $200

Great Places to paint in the Hills
Map of the Black Hills