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Saint Ursula’s Emily Wachter Wins Cincinnati Art Club's Plein Air Art Contest at Zoo

Saint Ursula’s Emily Wachter Wins Cincinnati Art Club's Plein Air Art Contest at Zoo

Cincinnati, Ohio – October 30, 2017 ––  

The Cincinnati Art Club announced that the winner of the first annual Plein Air Art Contest held at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is Emily Wachter ‘17 of Saint Ursula Academy. Her Black Rhino and Calf colored pencil drawing was selected from the 74 entries submitted by high school students in Hamilton County.


The 2017 Zoo Plein Air Contest was an educational outreach by the Cincinnati Art Club and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens to extend an opportunity for area high school students to work from life in the outdoor environment. A “plein air” contest is a unique type of contest for high school students.  Most contests designed for high school students involve submitting a piece of artwork which the student has “perfected”. 


Plein air contests, meaning “in the open air,” take place over a small amount of time, with limited art supplies and with no assistance or coaching from another person.  In the case of the Cincinnati Art Club’s contest, all work had to be completed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, a collaborative partner for this event, during specific hours on September 30 and October 1. Artwork and supplies had to be turned in at the end of each day.


Emily rose to the challenge of the Plein Air Contest, although it was not without challenges.  “I think the most difficult part of this contest was being out in public. I had to find a place to sit, which was a bench in a very busy area. There was the movement of the sun and shade which sometimes made it hard to see. There were also lots of active children and many interruptions from interested people asking what I was working on. The combination of distractions made it hard to keep myself focused,” said Emily.


In the end, Wachter rose to the challenge and has a great result. Her colored pencil drawing will be on display at the Cincinnati Zoo Center for the next month and will be published in a Zoo publication.  Additionally, $1,000 in prize money from the Cincinnati Art Club will be presented to Emily as an award for her winning entry.

Emily will graduate from Saint Ursula Academy in the spring.  She plans to major in illustration in college so she is able to work in the entertainment industry.  Ultimately, she would love to work with movie and/or game designers as an art director. 

Saint Ursula Academy is a Catholic, college-preparatory, secondary school for young women known for academic excellence and rich tradition. Saint Ursula welcomes students from more than 90 grade schools in the Greater Cincinnati area.  The Academy is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School. The campus, located at 1339 E. McMillan Street in East Walnut Hills has been the home of St. Ursula Academy and Convent since 1910. The Class of 2017 earned college scholarships totaling more than $21-million.    


Photo Caption:  Emily Wachter ’18 of Liberty Township and SUA Art Teacher Kurt Nicaise with Emily’s winning entry in the Hamilton Country Art Students Plein Air Art competition sponsored by the Cincinnati Art Club with help from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.