Zoo Plein Air

1st Annual Hamilton County High School Art Students
Plein Air Art Competition - October 7, 2017

2017 Artists & Artwork

About the 2017 Zoo Plein Air Event


The Cincinnati Art Club (CAC) and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) are excited to announce the winners of the first annual Hamilton County High School Art Students Plein Air Art Competition. The 2017 Zoo Plein Air Contest was an educational outreach by the CAC and CZBG to extend an opportunity for the area’s high school students to work from life in the outdoor environment.

Invitations were sent to all high schools in Hamilton County, Ohio to nominate student artists to enter the contest with a target of a maximum of 40 entrants. A total of 37 high school artists were accepted and participated in the contest. The artists were instructed to work on their own with art supplies provided through the kind donations of Plaza Artists Materials, Kenwood and Blick Art Materials, Columbus. Mentors from the CAC were on hand to encourage and monitor the students progress. Two sun filled days, September 30 and October 1 at the CZBG produced some exceptional works.

On October 7, 2017 a show of the completed work and an awards ceremony was held at the Cincinnati Art Club. A total of 74 pieces were hung in the Wessel Gallery with some of the artists completing more than one piece during the competition. Nationally recognized professional wildlife artists, Mary Louise Holt, Cincinnati, Ohio and Debbie Lentz, Dayton, Ohio were invited to judge the artwork for prizes. Congratulations to all participants and the following award winners:

  • 1st Prize - Emily Wachter, St. Ursula Academy, $1000, appearance in a Zoo publication and display of artwork at the Zoo Education Center for one month.
  • 2nd Prize - Helen Zhang, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, $500, plus display of artwork at the Zoo Education Center for 1 month.
  • 3rd Prize - Tia Greenlee, Northwest High School, $250, plus display of artwork at the Zoo Education Center for 1 month.
  • CAC Artist Choice - Claire Farrow, Mother of Mercy High School, One Zoo Family Gold Membership.



Both the Cincinnati Zoo and CAC have years of history serving the community. Together, the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Art Club hope to inspire High School art students to use their talents portraying the wildlife and gardens at the Cincinnati Zoo. The partnership for this art show event provides favorable publicity, increased attendance, awareness, and recognition for the participating High Schools.

The purpose of the Cincinnati Art Club is to advance the knowledge and appreciation of art within the community and assist local professional and amateur artists in developing skills to present the highest quality of art to the community. The CAC wants to engage with Cincinnati area High School art students to help develop an awareness of the support offered at CAC as well as within the Cincinnati professional art community. The CAC also awards scholarships on an annual basis to outstanding Art College students to further their arts education.