Outdoors beckons artists to Fresh Coast Plein Air Painting Festival

Artist Julie Highlen is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

MARQUETTE — The seventh annual Fresh Coast Plein Air Painting Festival will be held this year in Marquette and its shoreline on Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29.

This year, an Afterglow event has been added on Sunday, June 30.

The festival, presented by the Lake Superior Art Association, is part of the Grand Finale of the city of Marquette’s Art Week, a week-long celebration of Marquette’s creative community held during the last full week of June, featuring a wide range of community art projects, installations, performances and more. Learn more about Art Week at https://www.mqtcompass.com/artweek/.

This year’s judging, reception, presentation of awards, and artwork display and sale will be held at Marquette’s Presque Isle Pavilion, located at the picturesque Presque Isle Park. The newly added Afterglow event will be held at Provisions MQT, 401 S. Lakeshore Blvd., one of Marquette’s popular coffeehouses, featuring baked treats, drinks, croissants, gelato and more along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, close to Lower Harbor Park and downtown Marquette, this is a good location to paint and make new friends.

Afterglow is a social event open to all artists (competitive and noncompetitive) and to the public.

Artists can set up and paint anywhere outside Provisions or nearby and enjoy an extra day of noncompetitive painting and sharing.

The 2024 Plein Air Festival will combine evening and daytime segments to allow artists to paint both times for one registration fee.

On the evening of June 28, Dusk to Dark will be held. Artists who choose to participate must register and get their canvases stamped that evening at Presque Isle Pavilion.

Once completed, pieces must be turned in that night by 10 p.m. Emphasis should be placed on capturing the evening light, sunset, nighttime cityscapes, etc. Paintings will be safely stored inside the locked Pavilion.

Saturday will be the all-day painting segment. Artists participating in the daytime competition may get their canvases stamped on Friday evening or Saturday morning, then have until 4:30 p.m. to submit their pieces for jurying and display at the Presque Isle Pavilion.

Painters must be at least 17 years old to enter the competition. Artists may paint anywhere within Marquette and along the Lake Superior shoreline.

All paintings must be stamped upon registration and created outdoors and on-site. The key is to capture real-life scenes and scenery that have been inspired by the Marquette landscape and residents.

Interested artists may preregister with this form to save on entry fees or register the day(s) of. There are two entry levels, (1) Professional and advanced painters, and (2) Novice, intermediate, and/or recreational painters. It is up to the artist to place themselves in the appropriate category and pay the appropriate fees. Entry fees are as follows, to be paid upon check-in at the event when you bring your canvases to get stamped. Entry fees may be paid by cash or check.

Friday — “Dusk to Dark” / Saturday — All Day one fee includes both times.

Level 1:  $25 pre-registered / $30 day-of

Level 2: $15 pre-registered / $20 day-of $2,500 in prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the festival, including first, second and third place for both competition levels, people’s choice, and several door prizes.

Artists are encouraged to price their artwork if they are interested in selling, as there will be an abundance of attendees at the public showing and reception.

Artwork will be judged this year by Wendy McWhorter, prize winning artist from Kewadin. You can view Wendy’s artwork at www.wendymcwhorterartist.

Wendy will also have a few of her artworks on display at the reception. 

For more information, contact Marlene at marlenesew@gmail.com, 847 791-8403 or city of Marquette Office of Arts & Culture — arts-culture@marquettemi.gov, 906-228-0472. 

Registration for Fresh Coast 2023 Competition

Registration can be emailed to marlenesew@gmail.com or mailed to Marlene Wood, P.O. Box 4, Deerton, MI 49822.

Required information:



City, State, zip code

Email Address

Phone Number

Website (if applicable)

Competition level you are registering.

Level 1 — Professional and/or Advanced OR

Level 2 — Novice, Intermediate, and/or Recreational


*All registration and canvas stamping will take place at Marquette’s Presque Isle Pavilion, located at Presque Isle Park, Marquette.

Friday – “Dusk to Dark”

5-7 p.m. *Registration, check-in, canvas stamp at Presque Isle Pavilion

5-10 p.m. Painting Time (Paintings must be turned in by 10 p.m.)

Saturday – All-Day Painting

7 a.m. – 9 p.m.      *Registration, check in, canvas stamp at Presque Isle Pavilion

7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  painting time (throughout Marquette and the Lake Superior shoreline)

3-4:30 p.m. Artwork drop off at Provisions MQT

4:30-6 p.m. Judging inside Provisions (*Judges and volunteers only)

6-7 p.m. Peoples’ Choice voting and public reception

The public may enter the tent to vote and enjoy light refreshments

7-8:30 p.m. Awards ceremony, artist raffle prizes, Public Reception with refreshments, Art Sales

Winners presented with awards. Those unable to attend will be sent checks. ***Artists interested in having their art sold should have artwork priced for the public.

Vickie Fee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 542. Her email address is vfee@miningjournal.net.


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