The Aegis

Harford Plein Air Festival to host gallery opening reception

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Maryland Center for the Arts’ 9th Annual Harford Plein Air Festival continues this weekend with several exciting events taking place in downtown Bel Air.

The Harford Plein Air Festival has been held annually since 2015, and draws professional artists from across the nation to capture the county’s charms. The festival’s unique format allows painters to work at their own pace from July 1 to Sept. 14, competing for thousands of dollars in cash prizes and sales commissions, according to the new release.


The reception also serves as the unofficial start of Arts Across Harford, a county-wide initiative aimed at shining a light on the vibrant arts scene in Harford County.

The festivities kick off on Friday evening with the opening reception of the Harford Plein Air Festival gallery at the Bel Air Armory, 37 N. Main Street, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event will feature an awards ceremony for competing artists, food vendors and a performance by members of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, the release said.


On Saturday morning, the festival’s Quick Draw Competition runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon, with both juried and community artists slated to participate. The competition requires artists to complete their paintings in a two-hour time period, followed by judging, awards and sales.

Artist categories include juried artists in this year’s main Plein Air Festival, adult community artists over the age of 18, and students under the age of 18, the release said.

The gallery exhibit inside the Armory will be open to the public on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4: p.m. Complimentary coffee will be available, the release said.

The Harford Plein Air Festival lasts through Sunday. Registration for the quick draw on Sept. 16 begins at 8 a.m. for students ages 17 and under, and 8:30 a.m. for adults 18 and up. Registration is free for students and costs $15 for adults.

The gallery and sales are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 16, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 17. For more information, visit