The late afternoon sunlight sparkled off the Old Town Temecula fountain as artists, fans, and friends waited to hear the winners of the Temecula Street Painting and Ralph Plein Air Painting Competition announced on Sunday, June 24.
“We had over 140 artists entered this year, with 96 murals, 40 artists exhibiting and selling their works and 90 more youth artists presenting inside,” said Melody Brunsting, public relations and event promoter.
“This year’s theme was ‘My Country ‘tis of Thee’ for patriotism, and we’ve seen some of the best and tightest competitions yet. The young artists were incredible,” she said.
Thousands of Temecula locals showed up over the course of the weekend to view the colorful 12 by 14 foot murals, browse the artist tents, and view the exhibitions circling Temecula City Hall.
Participating artists came from all over California.
Nancy Holly of Laguna Beach said: “I love coming to Temecula. So many horse people here and the event has been amazing,” Holly said.
President of the Arts Council of Temecula Valley Jake Dickinson said he was thrilled with the turnout and the quality of the art displayed at the event. His wife Maureen discussed the importance of involving the younger artists in the program.
“The kids don’t just get to display their works of art, but to sell them, as well—if they want to. It helps them understand that art isn’t just pretty, but something to value and that has value to others, as well,” Maureen said.
Street painter Maddie Meyer translated her vision into reality for the third year in a row and the second year of entering by herself.
Her mural won Best of 13 and under.
“The girl—Zooloni—is a dragon tamer. She’s reading a story to the dragons, and they are listening, and even falling asleep,” Maddie said. “She’s what I wish I could be.”
Maddie’s father Robert Meyer described himself as one proud parent.
“She draws lots of pictures with pencil sketch and has work (displayed) at the Merc and the Temecula Library.”
Meyer was sponsored by The Old Waggin’ Tail — her grandmother Donna Heimbuck’s ’s dog grooming business.
Artist Michaela Chapman who painted Laurel and Hardy in black and white didn’t sleep at all Saturday night.
“I started at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, and did the faces. I finished the background and bottom today. I just couldn’t wait to get back to work,” Chapman said. The project took a combined 17 hours to complete.
Last year’s Best in Show winner Cecelia Linayao of San Diego also tackled black and white with her mural from her grandfather’s World War II navy picture.
“I love working in black and white. It’s challenging, and tender, with the memory of my grandfather,” Linayao said “I love working this way, with the people walking by and talking to you. The sunshine and out of doors. The level of art gets better every year and the young artists are right on our heels.”
Temecula donated mass quantities of pastels to supply the artists at the event.
Brunsting, said: “We asked for more this year, and they delivered yet again. A great event, and another wonderful year for Temecula Street Painting.”
Plein Air Contest Winners:
First Place: Shawn McElvy
Second Place: Lisa Fu
Third Place: Ginger Pena
Honorable Mention: Jack Ragland
Street Painting Winners:
Best in Show: Lee Rupp
People’s Choice: Jan Hauser
Best Theme: Shalene Holm
Best Youth Thirteen and Under: Maddie Meyer
Best Youth Fourteen-Nineteen: Alina Bartolini-Yerna
Best Monochromatic (Black and White): Shawndell Pickard
Best Newcomer: Matt Piekutowski
Best Balloon and Wine: Lisa Owen Lynch
Most Obstacles to Overcome: Grant Metzel
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.