Montgomery Art Association

A Lovely Ride: Our Plein Air Festival at the Trolley Museum

25 Apr 2022 8:50 PM | Anonymous

By Judith Levine

On a sunny Saturday, MAA’s plein air painters met up at the National Capital Trolley Museum. The museum, which was established in 1961, was originally in Baltimore but by 1966 had moved to its current home in Colesville, MD. It aims to teach and allow the public to experience how trolley cars and street cars fit into the story of public transportation.

As plein air painters, our aim was to interpret those cars as works of art. And that is precisely what happened. Thirty of us descended on the museum starting at 9:30 am. Nobody had any preconceived ideas about what they would paint.

We spread out from just inside Street Car Hall, which was open on one end for cars to leave for the tracks, then we spread all the way down the tracks. Some chose to paint the cars themselves and just as many set the cars into scenes that would have been normal when they actually ran the streets, providing one of the most common modes of public transportation.

It was an exciting day. Outside of our Paint the Town Labor Day Show, we hadn't previously hosted a plein air event that both lasted all say and was judged. We additionally hadn't ever held an auction.

The judge awarded six prizes to the following works:

  • 1st place: Street Car Hall by Rajendra KC
  • 2nd place: Cart Hall by Vicky Zhou
  • 3rd place: Trolley Bumper by LeAnn Sawyers
  • Honorable mentions: Grand Cypress Green by Christopher Hoppe, Aged to Perfection by Jean Cooper, and Good Memories of the Past by Yik Chek Phan.

Street Car Hall by Rajendra KC (watercolor on paper)

The prize-winning pieces were offered to guests during an auction, and most of the other works painted during the day were available for sale. In total, 11 works sold.

We were also happy to welcome a Pennsylvania video blogger and transport aficionado, Caleb, who created this video of our day, including interviews with a number of participants.

© 2022 Montgomery Art Association Inc., PO Box 2154, Kensington, MD 20891

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