Urban Plein Air Call for Artists

Artist Allowance: $200, plus any tips collected
Application Deadline: Wednesday June 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM
Required Materials: Digital Portfolio in PDF format, details below

Image of artist painting during Urban Plein Air event


THE BLOCKS is activating the streets of downtown Salt Lake City with the spontaneous and participatory nature of Plein Air (outdoor) painting. This project invites audiences to engage with and view artists during the painting process, allowing for a deeper appreciation of this artistic medium. THE BLOCKS will work with a curated team of ten artists to demonstrate their painting skills to the public.

THE BLOCKS are seeking portfolios from local artists to participate in this three-day Plein Air event JULY 15, 16 & 17, 2021. Artists will be capturing the downtown landscape – the people, the architecture, etc. Selected artists will be responsible for completing painting on one 12”x12” canvas during the first two days of the event. The third day will be a time for artists to display their completed work and share it with the community.

This call is open to all professional artists, students and amateur artists residing in Utah. Those new to the public art process or artists working outside of the traditional Plein Air process are also highly encouraged to apply.


THE BLOCKS will provide selected artists with one 12”x12” canvases to complete during the two painting days (July 15 & 16) as well as a drop cloth. Artists will be responsible for providing all other materials they might need (easel, painting/drawing materials, etc.). There will be pre-approved painting/drawing areas along Main Street from 400 South to South Temple for artists to choose from. These locations will act as general vantage points for compositions and subjects. Selected artists will be expected to have their works available for display on the final day of the event (July 17).


Artists will have from 5 PM to 10 PM on painting days to complete their works. These windows are set so that the public will have an idea of when artists are working and can come downtown to view the painting process. This is an important element of the event as we are seeking to share this artistic experience and process with our community. Artists are not expected to paint the entire time.

JULY 15 – Artists will be painting between 5 PM – 10 PM
JULY 16 – Artists will be painting between 5 PM – 10 PM
JULY 17 – Artists will have the opportunity to display their completed works with the community and speak with the public. Consider this a ‘meet the artist’ opportunity

image of artist painting during Urban Plein Air


Submissions should be made via email and must be in PDF format. To apply for Urban Plein Air 2021, please provide the following:
– A short narrative about why you would like to participate including any past experience with Plein Air or landscape painting.
– An example or examples of related artwork. This could include sketches or completed works but should be complete enough to – demonstrate your work. Preference will be given to work that is innovative, playful, and original.
– Any other materials that you would like to share that you believe demonstrate your skill and understanding of the painting process.

Please submit your entry to Cassandra Yerkes, cassandra@downtownslc.org. Your submission must be sent as one PDF document. Entries submitted in other formats will not be considered.


A jury, composed of local artists, arts administrators, community members and stakeholders, will review each submission. Jury members will fill out a scorecard that reflects the submission criteria outlined above. The fifteen submissions with the highest score will be shortlisted for final discussion and selection for Urban Plein Air 2021.


Total compensation for each selected artist is $200. THE BLOCKS is responsible for costs associated with event promotion and management as well as providing a canvas for each selected artist. Artists are permitted to collect tips during the event.

Please send your portfolios in PDF format by
Wednesday June 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM
to the attention of Cassandra Yerkes / cassandra@downtownslc.org

Urban Plein Air is a project of THE BLOCKS. THE BLOCKS is a collaborative initiative between Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County to establish downtown Salt Lake City as a cultural core of the Intermountain West through the promotion of cultural and artistic experiences, bolstering audiences and supporting our creative community.