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En Plein Air Competition


Organized by McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Application Deadline

Friday, August 20 by 5 pm

Competition Dates

Saturday, August 28 to Sunday, September 26

Competition Description

The McMichael is pleased to invite the community to join the 2021 En Plein Air Competition. With COVID-19 related safety guidelines still in place, this year’s competition will not take place over one weekend, as it did in prior years. Instead, this year’s competition will take place over the course of a longer period to allow for social-distancing while also providing artists with more time to work on their masterpieces!

As with previous iterations of the En Plein Air Competition, the McMichael is inviting artists to celebrate the legacy of the Humber River by responding to the natural and cultural heritage through art in two distinct mediums:

  • Works on canvas/panel
  • Works on paper

Successful applicants for the 2021 En Plein Air Competition will be able to return to the grounds over the course of a month to capture and share their unique vision of the Humber River Valley.

Application Process & Requirements

Application Deadline: Friday, August 20 by 5 pm

Please complete the Online Application Form. Questions can be directed to competitions@mcmichael.com.

To apply, artists are required to submit the following:

  • Artist information and a short artist’s biography (100 word maximum)
  • JPEG images of a maximum of two completed examples of your previous works; 72 dpi, 1024 x 768 pixels; label image files with a number, your name and title of piece (ex. 01_JohnSmith_BirchTrees.jpg)

Successful applicants will be contacted by email on August 25 by 5 pm. Please note, the registration confirmation email will be sent only to successful applicants. Also, the McMichael is only accepting online submissions at this time. We thank you for your understanding.

Competition & Submission Process

Between Saturday, August 28 and Sunday, September 26 all registered artists (those who were deemed successful applicants) will be granted free parking for easy access of the McMichael’s grounds. Artists are also encouraged to set up their easels within the Village of Kleinburg and along the shores of the Humber River. In keeping with the spirit of the genre, artworks must be created en plein air in one of these three locations. Minor touch ups in studio are acceptable.

To remain eligible for the En Plein Air Competition, the McMichael requires that registered artists provide their artworks in either of the following sizes:

  • 16″ x 20″ for works on canvas
  • 11″ x 14″ for works on paper

Artists desiring to work in different sizes must indicate their preference within their application. Any size variation must be pre-approved by McMichael staff.

Accepted applicants to the competition will be sent an email with instructions on how to submit their en plein air entries for the show, to a maximum of 3 submissions per artist. Competition artwork submissions are due by October 3, 5 pm EST.

Awards and Exhibition

In the first round of jurying, up to 15 artists in each category will be shortlisted. Each of the selected artist will be included in the exhibition presented in the McMichael’s Community Gallery and on mcmichael.com.

Up to three artists from each category will be named First, Second and Third Prize winners through a jury comprised of the Gallery’s curators, educators and associate community artists. An additional Kleinburg Award will be given to the best artwork depicting the distinctive landscape of Kleinburg in each category.

A special Young Artist Award will be given at this year’s competition within the 18–25 age category.

A pair of People’s Choice Awards will be given to two artworks as nominated by online and in-gallery visitors.

All of the participating artists will be responsible for providing a high-resolution photo of their artwork by October 3. The photographs will be used to display the artwork in an online exhibition at mcmichael.com.

A final group of shortlisted artists will be selected to display their works in-gallery as well as online. Selected artists will be notified by email on October 16 at 5 pm EST. Participants will be responsible for arranging for the transportation and drop-off of their artwork at the Gallery prior to October 23, in preparation for the in-gallery exhibition.

The in-gallery and online exhibitions will be on view from October 30, 2021 to April 3, 2022 and will feature short artist statements.

The final award winners will be announced on Saturday, October 30, 2021.

General Information

The artworks produced during the competition will belong to the artists. The McMichael reserves the right to use image(s) for documental and promotional purposes.

The artists will be responsible for art supplies used during the competitions such as materials, easels, etc.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection will cover exhibition costs (framing, exhibition panel, labeling and production of promotional material), and opening reception expenditures.


Participants must be practicing artists, aged 18 years+, specializing in landscape and/or the urban scene genre.

Please note that the McMichael’s grounds provide several fully accessible places and facilities. However, some areas are not wheelchair accessible. The McMichael Café and washrooms will be open for visiting artists. Information will be provided to artists in order to gain access to gallery spaces as a timed-ticket is required.

Selection Process

The selection/advisory committee (jury) is comprised of practicing artists, McMichael art educators, curators, associate artists and members of the Kleinburg BIA. The committee will review applications and select artists specializing in acrylic/oil, and in each of the drawing and watercolour categories. Selections will be made based on the merit of presented artworks and how well they align with the competition character as well as the ability of the applicant to complete the project.

The committee will review applications in two rounds. The first round concludes with the announcement of the shortlisted artists on Saturday, October 16. The second round concludes with the announcement of awards on Saturday, October 30.

Insurance and Publicity

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is covered under the Ontario government’s protection program for claims by third parties for bodily injuries, property damage, and personal injury liability.

The selected applicants will be required to sign a release form for the use of images in promoting the McMichael En Plein Air Competition.


August 4, 2021
August 20, 2021
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10365 Islington Ave
Kleinburg, Ontario L0J1C0 Canada
1(905) 893-1121


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