PHILADELPHIA - There are many cities, towns and neighborhoods across the United States that inspire residents and visitors alike with their beauty and charm. But which are the crème de la crème? We’ll soon have a better idea.

The Paint Quality Institute (PQI), a leading source of information on coatings, is conducting an ambitious nationwide search to find the “Prettiest Painted Places in America.” The results will be made known this fall when PQI reveals the 12 contest winners.

“We want to show people how beautiful exterior paint schemes can greatly contribute to the ‘curb appeal’ of entire communities,” said Debbie Zimmer, Paint and Color Expert at PQI. “And we want to do it in a fun way.”

“By identifying and recognizing the towns and neighborhoods that have the best painted appearance, we can give others an appreciation for the important role exterior paint can play in protecting and beautifying any home or building,” said Zimmer.

To elicit entries in the competition, PQI is contacting chambers of commerce, tourism departments and historical districts in all 50 states. Since many smaller places may not be represented by such organizations, PQI is also widely publicizing its search.

Anyone can enter a community in the free competition by simply taking some pictures, uploading them on the PQI Web site at and providing a brief description of the community being nominated. Entries will be accepted until August 31.

A panel of judges from major media outlets will then evaluate the entries and select 60 finalists in the competition, 10 from each of six geographic regions. After further research, including unannounced site visits, the judges will name the 12 Prettiest Painted Places in America in October.

In addition to bragging rights for the winners, every place that enters will be part of an extensive national publicity campaign conducted by the Paint Quality Institute.

For more information on the Prettiest Painted Places in America competition, visit

The Paint Quality Institute (SM) was formed by Rohm and Haas Co. (now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co.) in 1989 to educate people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior coatings. The Paint Quality Institute's goal is to provide information on the virtues of quality paint as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of vehicles, including television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, and instructional literature.