Plein Air Convention & Expo
Painting outdoors at a previous Plein Air Convention & Expo

On Plein Air Event Planning > Some groups are making some simple mistakes that could be avoided. An Important Message from Publisher Eric Rhoads…

Dear Plein Air Event Planners:

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that the plein air movement is bigger than ever before. There are more artists, more collectors, and more art hanging on walls than ever.

The bad news is that we’ve seen some events die, and we’re watching some other events we think are about to die. Why? Because they are making some simple mistakes that could be avoided.

When I started PleinAir magazine 15 years ago, there were not more than five plein air events in America that I was aware of. Today there is one in almost every city and town. We’re seeing hundreds pop up.

This is great news … but it can be bad news too, because it’s important that plein air be known for quality, not just speed. There are well-meaning event planners and local committees creating events that have the potential to hurt the grand reputation of plein air painting and, of course, hurt their own event unknowingly and keep good artists away.

This is a problem, and we are seeing other issues that need to be addressed. Therefore I’m inviting you to the first ever Plein Air Event Planners track at the Plein Air Convention. This is a place for every event organizer in the world to gather, meet, share best practices, and learn what’s working, what’s killing shows, what’s harming the reputation of plein air painting, and where there are other problems that need to be dealt with.

Most important, we need to celebrate plein air and seek ways that we, as a community, can work together to strengthen all the shows and the reputation of plein air painting so we can keep this movement alive and growing for decades.

We hope you’ll join us and spread the word to all plein air event organizers and those considering it.

Plein air event planning -

Plein Air Event Planners Track

This track at PACE will give planners “best practices” to make the most successful events possible. Designed for people who are planning future plein air events or those who want to make their events more successful.

This track takes place during “painting hours” while other attendees are out painting. That way you can see the entire convention, meet with artists, and make your events the best they can be.

Plus you can network with event organizers to avoid conflicts and date issues, and you’ll have people to call for additional ideas.

PleinAir magazine has watched shows launched incorrectly, instantly destroying the brand and reputation of an event — something almost impossible to fix. We’ve watched good shows die and can tell you exactly why. We’ll show you how to do it right from the beginning, and point to the common mistakes most shows make. We’ll show you what kills shows, what is working, what used to work that no longer works, and how to make a show people will want to come back to for decades. This is a must for event planners and those who are considering creating plein air events.

These sessions are available to all event organizers who have a full registration to the convention. You’ll be able to attend all convention sessions and events; this track will take place when artists are out painting in afternoons. You’ll receive a special “Event Planner” ribbon for your badge.

Plein Air Event Planning Sessions:

The Future of the Plein Air Movement and Plein Air Events: An opening overview of what’s happening from PleinAir Publisher Eric Rhoads.

10 Steps to Planning an Ultra Successful Event: Follow this formula and have a successful event every time.

How to Attract Big Money and Get Them to Spend It at Your Event: Events without strong sales are pointless. This shows you how to get the attention of big money and draw them to your event to buy.

Best Practices of the Most Successful Events and Worst Practices That Caused Failures: What do the most successful events do differently? You’ll be surprised what goes on behind the scenes to make these events sizzle. Find out what the big guns do, and the little guns that make big money. What drives sales? What drives success? What drives buzz? And find out about failed events and what drove their demise so you can avoid the same problems.

Attracting and Keeping Top Artists: Learn what turns painters on, and turns them off. Subtle little things can kill your event because big names don’t want to return. Find out what they love, what is important to them, and what to avoid.

Building the Complex Puzzle to Create an Event: Everything you need to know about selecting the right venue, getting volunteers and support staff, a checklist of all the behind-the-scenes details, and the important things that must be in place before you ever announce or promote an event.

Beating Your Goals: How to Maximize Marketing to Draw a Buying Crowd: Great marketing requires massive action, and special touches in a lot of places. Discover how to draw the national collectors, how to build credibility to attract the right artists and collectors, and on-location marketing techniques to make the cash register ring.

How to Avoid Scams, Traps, Mishaps, and Nightmares: What you don’t know is going on could kill the reputation of your show. Get informed about issues you’ll wish you’d known about. Avoid legal problems, collector problems, and artist problems. Find out what is killing sales, and what’s going on that you need to avoid. This session alone may be worth the trip.

The Judge’s Perspective: What judges want to tell you but might not share for fear of offending you. Understand the proper vetting process, and know what you’re doing that could be hurting you and what you need to do to maintain credibility.


2020 Plein Air Convention & Expo Faculty:

Plein Air Convention 2020 faculty


  1. My view is that “success and fame” destroy creativity weather the artist recognises that or not-Try as I may I have pursued freedom and find any so called success distorts one’s perception of what is quality and not just an illusion of quality. Very little of what is being celebrated can be considered quality in the category of fine painting as exemplified by Leonardo or Rembrandt. My advice to artists is shun success and hype and find solace in nature and in your studio and avoid people who want to praise you and buy your work.

  2. I feel called out.
    Your newsletter last week hit me all excited. This one makes me feel, once again that this may be yet another way for the art world and artists who may be a rung or two higher on the success ladder, may be looking down their noses at upstart events like the one I’m trying to get going here where I live.

    • I certainly hope not, as the intention is quite the opposite! We want to encourage new groups to form. I hope you continue onward and upward with your plans! We’re hoping to be able to provide guidance for people just like you, who are bravely creating new, local, community events and bringing artists together. Stay tuned – we’re working on this as we speak.

  3. I participated in an event (20 years ago). There was a 3 or 4 hour window in which to work. When we submitted the work for final judging, the winner was someone who had a membership at the art park and had been painting all week! It soured my interest in participating in such events.
    I am glad to see you are setting guidelines for these for us non pros !


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