Wyoming Arts Council

Arts in the Parks

The Wyoming Arts Council partners with Wyoming State Parks to hold various arts activities in Parks across the state. Plein Air in the Parks is an annual event that pairs talented artists with beautiful locations. The event is open to artists of all ages and offers cash awards. This annual painting and drawing competition pairs talented artists with beautiful locations, and offers cash prizes to top participants.

Plein Air in the Parks will be held Sept. 13-17 at Curt Gowdy State Park. Full rules and guidelines are below.

Early Bird Registration is now open through August 31.  

Rules and Guidelines

Rules and Guidelines


Registration includes up to two entries in the judged competition. Mediums may include Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor, Pastel, Graphite, or other medium. 

  • Early Bird (through Aug. 23) – $35
  • Regular and Walk Up (September 4-16) – $50
  • College Student (must present valid ID at stamp-in) – $15
  • Junior Divisions – $5
  • Youth Division (age 12 and under)
  • Teen Division (ages 13-18)

Registration includes a waived day use fee to access Curt Gowdy State Park for the participating artist and one guest. You will be given an ID Badge at stamp-in. ID badge must be worn for admission and access throughout the weekend. The general public will need to pay the daily access fee to the State Park. No admission will be charged to attend the show and sale at the visitor’s center on Sunday between 1 and 3 pm.


A select number of campsites have been set aside at Curt Gowdy State Park for registered artists. Sites must be reserved in advance by calling the Park at 307-632-7946 and mentioning the Plein Air in the Parks event. Overnight and day use fees apply. The deadline to reserve one of these sites is August 31. 

For information about Cheyenne, visit the Visit Cheyenne website. Visit the Curt Gowdy State Park website for information about things to do and see, amenities, and maps. 


Curt Gowdy State Park Visitor’s Center (1264 Granite Springs Rd. Cheyenne, WY 82009) 

  • Wednesday, September 13, Noon-5 pm
  • Thursday, September 14, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Friday, September 15, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday, September 16, 9 am – 5pm


Artwork to be included in the show and sale must be dropped off and checked in with completed information (see #7 below) between 3 and 5 pm on Saturday, September 16 or between 9 and 10 am on Sunday, September 17. Artwork not received by 10 am on Sunday will not be judged and will not be included in the sale.


  • Authentication stamp must be visible on the back of artwork. The entire back of the entry must be visible at submission.
  • Artists may work on site between sunrise and sundown. 
  • Entries must be created in the pure intent of outdoor, on location, plein air painting. At least 75% of the painting must be produced outdoors in the spirit of plein air within the bounds of Curt Gowdy State Park.
  • Entries produced using manipulated photographic processes, computer enhanced imagery or other non-plein air means will not be accepted.
  • Registered artists and event attendees agree to respect public lands and historic structures by following the use regulations and any verbal, written or posted rules of the various land management agencies (i.e. obtaining necessary use permits, staying on designated roads and trails, etc.).
  • Up to two (2) stamped entries may be entered into the competition.
  • Artist name, artwork title, medium, age (for youth divisions), and date should be legibly printed on the back of submitted artwork or on a label affixed to the back.
  • The maximum size of the artwork, including framing, should not exceed 30” X 36.”
  • All entries must have wire, hanging hardware, or another means to secure the work for display. It is not required that artwork be framed, however, framing and presentation are considered as part of the jurying criteria. It is highly recommended that pastels, drawings, watercolors, and other works on paper be presented under a mat or glass for their protection. 
  • Artists agree to allow Arts in the Parks (State of Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources) permission to use images of their artwork for educational, promotional, and other non-sales purposes.
  • Registrants (or parents/guardians) will be asked to sign a photo release form at stamp in.


Youth and Teen Divisions can begin working September 1st and can drop off work to be included in the show and sale at the Visitor Center at any time throughout the month prior to the drop off deadline on September 17. Registration fees are due at sign up or drop off. All other rules and guidelines still apply.


Artwork entered into the competition may be listed for sale at the reception and award ceremony. During the reception, artists can sell up to 3 additional works created during the event but not entered in the competition. Artwork need not be framed. Sales are processed by the staff during the event.

A 25% commission will be retained. This includes any sale of artwork generated during the plein air competition, including direct sales facilitated by artists. 15% of the commission will be donated to the Cheyenne Artist Guild. 10% of the commission will be put toward the Plein Air in the Parks program for future events.

Cash prizes and checks for the sale of artwork are mailed after the event.


Judging will be done anonymously. During judging, participating artists and the public will not be permitted into the Visitor Center where work is displayed. The judging panel is comprised of artists or those with an arts background, representatives from the community, and individuals familiar with Curt Gowdy State Park. Checks for cash award prizes will be mailed after the event. The below cash awards will be given.

  • Best of Show Cash Award – $1,000.00
  • 2nd – $500.00
  • 3rd – $250.00
  • People’s Choice Award – $250.00

Junior Division Awards

  • Youth (12 and under category and Teen 13 to 18 category to be judged separately)
    • 1st Place – $50 cash award
    • 2nd Place – $35 cash award
    • 3rd Place – $20 cash award

Contact: Kimberly Mittelstadt