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PALOUSE PLEIN AIR: September 5 - 15, 2022

Palouse Plein Air is an annual painting event that takes place every September, with experiences including painting workshops and a juried exhibition at the Third Street Gallery inside Moscow City Hall. 

Historic Moscow, Idaho and the beautiful Palouse are the perfect destination for plein air artists, and the annual Palouse Plein Air painting event connects artists with the region’s landscape and arts culture.  French for “open air,” the phrase “plein air” (pronounced plen-air) describes the act of painting outdoors. The outdoor experience on the Palouse is particularly rich, as its rolling hills, rivers, mountains, fields, farms, and homes tell the long history of the landscape.

Guided by the vision of the Moscow Arts Commission and University of Idaho art professor Aaron Cordell Johnson, Palouse Plein Air began in 2010, and the event continues to grow. A collaboration of community partners makes this growth possible; the City of Moscow Arts Department and the University of Idaho College of Art + Architecture work together to make a great event for artists and art lovers alike. 

Important Dates 

April 29 – September 1   

Registration will be available online via Submittable. No emailed or paper registrations will be accepted. The registration form is available below, or by clicking this link: https://moscowarts.submittable.com/submit

September 5 - 13  

Painting Period in Latah, Nez Perce, Whitman, and Benewah Counties

September 14

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 Artwork Drop-off at the Third Street Gallery, located inside Moscow City Hall at 206 E Third St.

7:00 p.m. 

Juror Lecture on the UI Campus

September 15  

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Juror Demonstration at the UI Arboretum

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Reception & Awards at the Third Street Gallery

September 15 - October 7 

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday

Exhibition open at the Third Street Gallery

October 10   

9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Artwork Pick-up at the Third Street Gallery


Palouse Plein Air is a painting competition open to all artists 18 years-of-age or older. All painting media are eligible for competition, including gouache, watercolor, acrylic, oil, and pastel.

Painting and Exhibition Guidelines

  • Following registration, participants paint out-of-doors at any location of their choosing within Latah, Nez Perce, Whitman, and Benewah counties. Participants have the option to paint on all days of the competition or any combination of the competition days. No use of electronic, pictorial, or other aids is allowed. All work must be done on location by the individual artist.
  • Each artist will submit photos of their completed works along with inventory information and images of the painting on location. This submission will be completed using a Submittable form to be provided by City staff following the close of event registration. This procedure not only generates content for the publicly-viewable online gallery, but also authenticates that each piece was made on location during the Palouse Plein Air competition period.
  • Participants are invited to deliver finished entries to the Third Street Gallery inside Moscow City Hall on September 14 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. No early drop-off or pick-up of artworks will be allowed. Artworks that arrive at any time other than the stated drop-off period will not be exhibited.
  • Up to 3 (three) paintings will be accepted. Painting sizes accepted will be up to 72” total unframed perimeter inches or smaller. (e.g. a 16” x 20” has a 72” perimeter: 20” x 2 + 16” x 2 = 72”)
  • Artworks must be presented for exhibition in sturdy framing with a wire hanger (no sawtooth hangers). Works submitted without proper framing and wire hangers will not be exhibited.
  • Please label the back of each artwork with the following: artist name, artwork title, medium, sale price or NFS.
  • Event organizers reserve the right to determine suitability of all works shown in the Palouse Plein Air exhibition.
  • Works may be offered for sale, and any sales will be handled by Third Street Gallery staff. Artwork sales will be subject to a 20% Gallery commission and Idaho State sales tax.
  • Works will remain at Third Street Gallery for the entire length of the exhibition. 
  • Artists shall release the City of Moscow to use photographs and/or video of them and their exhibited art works, for future publicity and promotional purposes without copyright, use fees, or charges.

Juror and Awards

Melanie Thompson is the 2022 Palouse Plein Air juror. Thompson is an artist from Richland, Washington, who paints the American West's diverse landscape. While studying graphic design at Washington State University, Thompson spent the summers fighting wildfires, developing a deep connection with the expansive views and untamed beauty of nature. After graduating, she took up a new medium—oils—and painted landscapes inspired by her experience as a wildland firefighter. Since then, Thompson has gone on to win numerous honors in competitions across the country. Inspiration for her work comes from hikes and road trips, and she paints as often as possible on location to better capture the nuances and mood of a place. Whether completed on location or in the studio, Thompson strives in her work to show the sublime beauty of the West’s open spaces.

Thompson will adjudicate the exhibition at the Third Street Gallery and will offer a lecture and painting workshop open to all registered participants. View her works online:


FB: @MelanieThompsonArtist

Insta: @melaniethompsonart

Awards will be announced during the artist reception at the Third Street Gallery. Winning participants need not be present to receive awards. Paintings will be available for sale and are eligible for the following cash and other recognition awards:

  • 1st Place ($400)
  • 2nd Place ($200)
  • 3rd Place ($100)
  • Best Palouse
  • Best Downtown
  • Best Historical
  • Joyce Tamura Memorial Award for Best Watercolor
  • Student Awards (2)
  • Honorable Mentions (2)
  • City of Moscow Purchase Award (1)

Registration Support for Palouse Plein Air 2022
Megan Cherry
Arts Program Manager
206 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843

Amy Petit
Administrative Specialist
206 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843
208.883.7000 ext. 7204

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.