From the Publisher's Invitational, Fall Color Week
From the Publisher's Invitational, Fall Color Week

Take advantage of these art and plein air painting events and opportunities from our 2023 Ultimate Guide to Painting Events and Organizations.

(We want to include your plein air painting events! Don’t see your group listed here? Contact our marketing team to learn how to advertise your plein air painting events and more with Plein Air Today.)


Grand Canyon Celebration of Art
Dates: September 9, 2023-January 15, 2024
Sponsoring Organization: Grand Canyon Conservancy
Venue: Grand Canyon National Park
Format: Juried
Contact: Kathy Duley
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 480.277.0458
Celebration of Art provides a vibrant experience for visitors, a venue for artists inspired by the canyon, and a successful fundraiser to benefit a dedicated art venue at the park. Artists paint for a week at the South Rim, capturing the colors and light as the sun moves across the layers of the canyon. A sale and exhibition follow at Kolb Studio.


21st Annual Sonoma Plein Air Festival
Date: September 11-16
Sponsoring Organization: Sonoma Plein Air Foundation
Venue: Historic Sonoma Plaza
Format: Juried
Contact: Irene Cook
E-Mail: [email protected]
Juried artists gather to paint throughout the wine country, spectacular Sonoma coast, and incomparable city of San Francisco. Artists enjoy housing, welcome reception, artists’ luncheon, patron gala with silent art auction, and finally a one-day art show and sale on historic Sonoma Plaza. The festival supports arts education for Sonoma Valley’s youth with 60% of sales to artists and 40% to Sonoma Plein Air Foundation.

Mendocino Open Paint Out
Date: September 18-24
Sponsoring Organization and Venue: Mendocino Art Center
Format: Open
Contact: Michael McDonald
E-Mail: [email protected]
A weeklong plein air festival held in a spectacular setting along the Northern California Coast. From the rugged surrounding landscape and beaches, to the quaint Victorian architecture and water towers, to the nearby vineyards and wineries, abundant creative inspiration is sure to be found. Enjoy daily plein air painting, wet-paint sales in a professional gallery, demonstrations by featured plein air artists, a Quick Draw Competition and Sale, a Collectors’ Event, and an awards presentation.


Steamboat Art Museum Plein Air 2023
Date: September 22-29
Opening Reception: September 29
Entry Deadline: September 15
Sponsoring Organization and Venue: Steamboat Art Museum
Format: Open
Award Total: $10,000
Contact: Dottie Zabel
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 970.870.1755
Paint the fall splendor in Steamboat Springs, offering landmark ranches, alpine and river vistas, historic towns, and exclusive painting sites. Three unique sales events: Kick-Off Quick Draw at the popular Farmers Market, Sunset Preview Reception, and Opening Reception and Awards. Exhibit and sale in the Steamboat Art Museum through November 4. Limited to 50 artists. Non-juried with professional and open categories. Early registration and museum membership discounts available.


AIS 24th Annual National Juried Exhibition
Date: August 3-September 2
Sponsoring Organization: American Impressionist Society
Venue: Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville
Format: Juried
Juror of Awards: Quang Ho AISM
Award Total: $78,000
Contact: Liz Ahrens
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 231.881.7685
American Impressionist Society provides opportunities to artists working in the style of Impressionism. Annually AIS presents four juried exhibitions and panel discussions, demonstrations, workshops, critiques, painting competitions, and educational programs. Exhibitions and events are open to the public.


Carmel on Canvas
Date: September 15-17
Entry Deadline: September 15
Sponsoring Organization: The City of Carmel
Venue: The Carmel Arts & Design District
Format: Open
Award Total: $13,000
Contact: Anne O’Brien
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 317.571.2787
Carmel on Canvas Plein Air Paint Out provides artists with two days of plein air painting in the Carmel Arts & Design District, Carmel Midtown, the City Hall Japanese Gardens, Carmel City Center, and Carmel Central Park with its 161 acres of beautiful green space. There are 4 divisions: Professional, Non-professional, Teen, and Child. There will be more than $13,000 in total prizes — including Purchase Awards.


Bluff Strokes 2023 Paint Out
Dates: September 17-23
Sponsoring Organization: Bluff Strokes
Venue: Steeple Square
City: Dubuque
Format: Juried
Award Total: $10,000
Contact: Wes Heitzman
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 563.845.1801
Paint historic Dubuque, Iowa, on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Dubuque boasts historic residences, buildings, and parks; river vistas and riverfront scenes; and interesting barge, rail, and industrial infrastructure. Dubuque is nestled in the Driftless Region, with unique topography and many interesting rural scenes. Our sales venue is a beautiful former German Catholic church. Visit our website for last year’s winners and explore our “Paint Dubuque” section for painting opportunities.


FRESH! Plein Air Milford
Date: September 15-17
Sponsoring Organization: Village Fine Arts Association
Contact: Keri Cleasby
E-Mail: [email protected]


Plein Air Grand Marais
Dates: September 15-22
Sponsoring Organization: Outdoor Painters of Minnesota
Exhibit: September 22-October 15, 2023
Opening Reception: September 22, 2023
Venue: Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery
Format: Combination / Juried, Open Class & Invitational
Juror: Kim Casebeer
Award Total: $6000
Contact: Allison Eklund
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 651.592.7858
For 20 years, painters from across the country have gathered to paint in Cook County, Minnesota, from Lake Superior to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Daily mini-workshops, paint-outs, artist socials, and a hootenanny make this a beloved tradition. All painters are welcome: the Open Class is oriented toward learning artists, and the Competition Class is juried. An Invitational Class features Mini-Workshop Instructors and painters from the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. Join us in 2023!

Flora & Fauna – The Plein Air Experience
Dates: September 28 – October 1
Sponsoring Organizations: The Minnesota Marine Art Museum and River Arts Alliance
Venue: Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona
Featuring workshops led by renowned artists, Fred Somers, Kami Mendlik, and David R. Smith, a weekend-long invitational plein air exhibition, presentations, and a public opening reception. All centered around the celebration of the Upper Mississippi’s flora and fauna, and presented en plein air. We welcome plein air artists from near and far to take part in Flora & Fauna: The Plein Air Experience, 2023 by spending time painting outdoors in and around the Winona community during these four days. Paint along during one of the demonstrations above, or at a time and place of your choosing.


Plein Air in the Parks
Dates: September 6-11
Sponsoring Organization: Idaho Art Lab
Venue: West Yellowstone Montana
Contact Kara Hidalgo
E-Mail: [email protected]

New York

Fall Color Week 
Dates: September 29-October 5
Sponsoring Organization: PleinAir Magazine
Venue: Saranac Village City, in Saranac Lake
Contact: PleinAir Magazine, 561.655.8778 or 800.610.5771
PleinAir Magazine’s Eric Rhoads lives in a place where fall color isn’t great, so he created the Fall Color Week retreat, held in various locations during peak color season annually. It’s a week of painting with old friends and new ones. We have our meals together, and we stay on the same property … all for one price. Join Eric this fall in Saranac Lake in New York during the peak fall color season. Come enjoy the beautiful fall scenery with no competition, just painting alongside your friends. No meals to cook, no one to care for, just roll out of bed, get fed, and paint all day. It’s glorious.

North Carolina

5th Annual Plein Air Paint Out
Date: September 23
Sponsoring Organization: Arts Mount Holly & Arts on the Greenway
Contact: Stephanie McLaughlin
E-Mail: [email protected]


Ohio Plein Air Society 20th Annual Competition
Dates: September 21-24
Opening Reception: September 24
Entry Deadline: September 18
Sponsoring Organization: Ohio Plein Air Society
Venue: Mansfield Art Center
Format: Open
Contact: Mary Ann Clady
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 419.512.0594
Artists can paint anywhere in Richland County, a tourist and recreational hub for north central Ohio featuring state parks, Malabar Farm, the Carousel District in Mansfield, and the Ohio State Reformatory, a world-renowned historic site that serves as a location for major motion pictures such as The Shawshank Redemption. Ohio Plein Air Society, since 2002, is a group of artists and art lovers sharing a common interest in outdoor painting.


Plein Air Painting Call to Artists
Dates: September 8th, 10th, 30th, and October 7th and 14th
Sponsoring Organization and Venue: Laurel Hill Mansion, Philadelphia
Call to Artists and other creatives! Spend the day painting, sketching, and making on the grounds of Laurel Hill Mansion in East Fairmount Park.

South Dakota

Black Hills Plein Air Paint Out
Dates: September 21-23
Sponsoring Organization: Hill City Arts Council
Venue: Downtown Hill City
Format: Open
Award Total: $1850
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 605.574.2810
The 6th Annual Black Hills Plein Air Paint Out Show & Sale will be held in beautiful Hill City, South Dakota. Quickly becoming a favorite among artists and enthusiasts alike, the event consists of all the exciting activities that make this event special: plein air painting, a special Meet and Greet event, a fabulous Sponsor & Artist Reception, and wrapping up with the fun and exciting Quick Draw and Live Auction. Make plans to attend!


Johnson County Cultural Heritage Plein Air Event
Date: September 1-30
Sponsoring Organization: Johnson County Center for the Arts
City: Mountain City
Contact: Temple Reece
E-Mail: [email protected]

Welcome to Plein Air in the Smokies
Dates: September 24-30
Sponsoring Organization: Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Venue: Clayton Center for the Arts
City: Kodak
Format: Combination
Contact: Lauren Gass
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 865.257.4776
Welcome to Plein Air in the Smokies, the second annual art event inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In September 2023, 20 nationally acclaimed plein air artists will gather in the most-visited national park to capture the beauty and magic of the Smokies.


2nd Annual St George Plein Air Festival
Date: September 22-30
Sponsoring Organization: ART Provides
Contact: Elizabeth Gunter
E-Mail: info@artprovides. org


Suffolk Plein Air Festival 2023
Date: September 5-10
Opening Reception: September 8
Sponsoring Organizations: Suffolk Art League, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk Tourism, and City of Suffolk, VA
Format: Juried
Award Total: $4500
Contact: Darlene Keyt
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 757.630.9832
Art enthusiasts throughout Virginia welcome artists to paint our pristine waterways, farmlands, and historic downtown. This juried event includes an Artists’ Lunch, ticketed Wet Paint Sale & Awards Celebration on Friday night with cash prizes over $4500, plus a QuickDraw competition on Saturday during the “Taste of Suffolk” Downtown Street Festival with 5,000+ attendees. Local residents offer accommodations and special hotel rates are available. We invite you to join us for this fun and artist-focused event.

2023 Scenes in the City Plein Air Festival
Dates: September 15-29
Sponsoring Organization: Falls Church Arts
Includes a Quick Draw Contest open to all ages. In 2002, prizes totaled $5,000. The festival takes place on September 30 and includes a Quick Draw competition for all ages. A rain date has been set for October 14. An award ceremony will conclude the festival.

Plein Air at the Arboretum
Dates: September 27-30
Sponsoring Organization: NOVA Plein Air Artists and the Foundation of the State Arboretum
Venue: Blandy Experimental Farm at the State Arboretum of Virginia, Boyce
Artists will gather to paint on over 700 acres of picturesque gardens, meadows, lakes and trails, wetlands, woodlands, and the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the arboretum. Artists can paint on all four days, or pick and choose days and times. Once registration is confirmed and supports have been stamped, artists can paint from dawn to dusk through Friday evening. All artists should plan to paint on Saturday, September 30 when the public will be invited. Completing the plein event will be a Quick Draw Competition to be judged by award-winning plein air artist, Jill Banks, and a Wet Paint Sale and Exhibit, to be judged by Virginia’s own, nationally-renowned artist Gavin Glakas.


Plein Air in the Parks
Dates: September 13-17
Opening Reception: September 17
Sponsoring Organization: Wyoming Arts Council, Wyoming State Parks
Venue: Curt Gowdy State Park
City: Cheyenne
Format: Juried
Award Total: $2000
Contact: Kim Mittelstadt
E-Mail: [email protected]
Phone: 307.274.6673
The 6th annual Plein Air in the Parks will be held at Curt Gowdy State Park, located in the foothills of the Laramie Mountains. Camping, recreation, wildlife, and exquisite vistas abound. There will be cash prizes for Best in Show, 2nd, and 3rd place, along with a People’s Choice Award. There will be art educational opportunities, an artist social, youth division, and more. The event will conclude with a reception and wet sale on Sunday.

International Plein Air Events


Plein Air Down Under
September 19-26
Sponsoring Organization: Mandurah
Performing Arts Centre
City: Mandurah, WA
Plein Air Down Under provides a unique opportunity for artists, spectators, and collectors to participate in Western Australia’s largest outdoor painting festival. Over 200 artists will be painting throughout Mandurah’s town centre, cultural precinct, and the historic town of Pinjarra. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre will serve as the festival hub, enabling artists to exhibit and sell their work at a central location. Plein Air Down Under celebrates the diversity of the Peel Region by combining creativity with connection.

Ontario, Canada

International Plein Air Painters Worldwide Paint Out
Date: September 8-10
Sponsoring Organization: International Plein Air Painters Organization
City: Niagara Falls
Contact: J Baldini
E-Mail: [email protected]

United Kingdom

EXHIBITION: Mont Blanc: The Summit Paintings
Dates: September 27 – October 8
Venue: Cromwell Place, London
In July 2022 James Hart Dyke climbed to the summit of Mont Blanc to paint the sunset, emulating as closely as possible the conditions under which the legendary French painter of the Alps, Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913) made his pair of summit paintings in August 1873.

Painting Events Coming Soon

Realism Live
Dates: November 9-11, with an Essential Techniques Day on November 8
Sponsoring Organization: Streamline Publishing
Fast-track your journey to Realism extraordinaire in just three days with the world’s best Realism artists, including Cindy Baron, Gavin Glakas, CW Mundy, Mark Shasha, and many more.

PleinAir Salon Art Competition
Date: Monthly
Sponsoring Organization: Streamline Publishing / PleinAir Magazine
Enter the PleinAir Salon $50,000 Art Competition. This is open to all artists and not just for plein air painters. You could win $15,000 and be on the cover of PleinAir Magazine!

Stay tuned for more painting events coming online or near your hometown! We’ll post the September painting events soon!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here