Paint It! Ellicott City plein air event returns to June after being moved last year due to COVID

After taking place in October last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Paint It! Ellicott City returns to its traditional spot in June, promising a hint of normalcy while maintaining health and safety precautions.

Sponsored by the Howard County Arts Council, Art in Ellicott City and Visit Howard County, Paint It! Ellicott City is a plein air event in which both juried and amateur artists set up their easels outside and around historic Ellicott City from June 10 to 13.


“We have returning artists and a few new artists,” said Elli Hernandez, gallery and programs coordinator, of the 30 selected juried artists who will be competing for monetary prizes, including two prizes of $1,000 each. The top awards are named in memory of Gino Manelli, a local artist who had an art studio in Ellicott City until his death in 2010.

While pandemic restrictions are easing, both the opening and closing award ceremonies will be conducted virtually, Hernandez said. When artists are out painting during the event, people are asked to be respectful and keep a safe distance, though each artist will make their own decision about whether to wear a mask or talk with the public.


After winners are announced during a virtual award ceremony June 18, the juried artists’ works will be on display at the Howard County Center for the Arts from June 19 to Aug. 7 in Gallery 1. A virtual Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 exhibit will be available on the center’s website.

The event’s Open Paint contest gives amateur artists a chance to paint alongside the juried artists during the plein air event and to compete for monetary prizes of up to $400 for the director’s choice award. Registration is $10. Art completed during the Open Paint contest will be displayed in an exhibit at the Howard County Welcome Center on Main Street.

“This year, Visit Howard County is offering an exhibit of open paint entries,” Hernandez said. “They were gracious enough to offer space from June 14 through July 21.”

In past years, Open Air entries were set up in a temporary exhibit in the Howard County Center for the Arts lobby.


“People will have plenty of time to see the artwork while visiting historic Ellicott City,” Hernandez said.

Though it took place in October, last year’s Paint It! Ellicott City event was “very successful,” Hernandez said.

“The artists were so happy they got to go to an event that was not canceled,” Hernandez said. “We had 25 juried artists. It went really well.”

The event will go on rain or shine.

“These artists ... come out with umbrellas,” Hernandez said. “They find areas where they are more sheltered. They find a way to work around it.”

Artists participating in the 2021 event are:

  • Lissa Abrams
  • Bruno Baran
  • Pamela Betts
  • Julia Bowden
  • Cathy Cole
  • Shawn Costello
  • Ann Crostic
  • David Drown
  • Vlad Duchev
  • Kathleen Gray Farthing
  • Kathleen Ryan Gardiner
  • Erin Gill
  • Marita Hines
  • Nishita Jain
  • Rajendra KC
  • Jane Knighton
  • Kathleen Kotarba
  • Michael Kotarba
  • Laura Martinez-Bianco
  • Michael McSorley
  • Amanda Milliner
  • Christine Rapa
  • Tom Ritchie
  • J. Stacy Rogers
  • Duane Sabiston
  • Maggii Sarfaty
  • Stacey Sass
  • Lida Stifel
  • Nancy Thomas
  • Nancy Van Meter

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