Southport Plein Air 2022

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2022 Southport Plein Air Festival

For Spectators

A Festival Like No Other

Mark your calendars for May 13-14, 2022, for a unique, family-friendly festival. Each year, Southport, North Carolina, welcomes painters across the state to take advantage of our incredible scenery by painting 'en plein air' or in the open air. This outdoor festival is fun for the whole family!

The 2022 Southport Plein Air Festival will showcase elements of Hispanic culture on both days of the festival this year. These include a Latin-themed dinner reception on Friday, May 13, to meet the artists; and several activities on Saturday, May 14, featuring Brazilian and Spanish guitar performers; traditional Hispanic meals and treats served from mobile food trucks; and children engaged with Mexican folk-art projects during Kid’s Plein Air. The Southport Plein Air Festival seeks to create not just a celebration of painting, but a celebration of the wide range of artistic expression flourishing here and its contribution to the strength of our entire community.

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As you stroll the streets of Southport enjoying the festival, take time to stop and watch the creative process of the painters in real-time.

Open Air Painting

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Give your children an opportunity to create their own masterpiece at the Kids Plein Air (art supplies provided). 

Kids' Plein Air

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Check out the live music performances throughout the festival. See below for times and locations.


Things to Do at Southport’s Plein Air Festival 2022


Experience the Creative Process, Live!

Watch artists paint en plein air live! It's not often one gets to watch the creative process of a master painter in real-time. The artists participating in the 2022 Southport Plein Air Festival will be painting all around Southport. As you stroll the streets, take the opportunity to stop and watch the masters at work.

Day 1, May 13

Artist Reception

Come meet the artists at a reception in the Southport Community Building after the first day of painting on Friday, May 13, from 4-6pm. The $15 entrance fee includes a light meal of Latin American cuisine accompanied by jazz pianist David Pope, and one glass of beer or wine, with more available for purchase. Reserve your spot here for free and pay at the door.

Free Evening Concert

The Back Porch Rockers will perform for the general public from 6-8pm on the Community Building lawn immediately following Friday’s reception. This popular six-piece band features a playlist all can enjoy, from classic rock to beach music. The band members are accomplished musicians who generously donate their time and talents during benefit concerts for non-profit organizations in the area, like Up Your Arts, as a way of giving back to the community. Be sure to bring your own lawn chairs and refreshments.

Day 2, May 14

Painting for the Kids

Plein air painting isn’t just for adults! Kids Plein Air gives children a chance to share in your passion and make masterpieces of their own. We provide all of the art supplies so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Kids can walk in anytime Saturday May 14th, between 10am and 2pm. Kids Plein Air activities will take place at Keziah Memorial Park at the corner of Moore and Lord Streets at no cost to the public. Children will have an array of ways to experience their own creativity, including Mexican folk art crafts, plein air painting, and Pollock in the Park, a mural extravaganza led by Ginger Hedblom of 2nd Story Art and Music Studio.

Tasty Treats

Families should plan to spend the day eating well. Wilmington’s Tacqueria La Vallita mobile food truck will be at Keziah Park from 11am-5pm serving up all kinds of deliciousness – specialty tacos, tortes, sopes, quesadillas – and pushcarts full of icy goodness from Oak Island’s Lil & John’s Sweetreat Homemade Ice Cream will make it hard to resist dessert.

Lots of live Music 

Up Your Arts will also host live music for the general public throughout the festival. Hispanic-themed live performances underwritten by a North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Grant awarded to Up Your Arts by Brunswick Arts Council will be featured all day Saturday. Brazilian jazz guitarist Raphael Namé is center stage from 10am-noon and Spanish guitarist Perry Smith with percussion accompaniment from 1-3pm. The Tedward Brothers trio will entertain in between, from noon-1pm.

Wet Paint Sale

One of the highlights of the event every year is the Wet Paint Sale, Saturday’s final activity. Keziah Park will close from 3-4pm, while artists return to set up their newly completed paintings for display and sale to the public. Anticipation will build as potential customers gather on the sidewalk, waiting in full-view of their favorite painters’ canvasses until a 4 o’clock bell reopens the park and then rush in to be the first to claim their desired purchases. The sale goes on until 6pm or until there are no more paintings left to buy, whichever comes first.

Awards Ceremony

The Southport Plein Air Festival offers something more personal than cash prizes to the artists who participate: the chance to win the People’s Choice Award bestowed by Wet Paint Sale attendees, who vote once for the artist with the most captivating body of work of the festival. Last year’s winner, Lyudmila Lucy Tomova, has won a variety of state and regional awards since then and is featured in all the graphics for this year’s event, including the t-shirt designs -- which, if you aren’t able to acquire one of her original paintings, might be the next best thing.

The award ceremony starts at 5pm Saturday in Keziah, after the Wet Paint Sale gets underway. The most prestigious of them all is the Mayor’s Award presented by City of Southport Mayor Joseph P. Hatem. Five other judges participate, all people with ties to Southport in some measure. Two festival’s ago, the judges were all artists, themselves, and last year’s group was a collection of art patrons and educators. This year’s judges are still to be determined, but they could all very well be musicians.

All That AND it's Free!

That's right, the 2022 Southport Plein Air Festival is free to audiences of all ages! What a great opportunity to get out of the house, stretch your legs, embrace some culture, and have some fun!

If you can’t attend any of the activities May 13-14, you are invited to seek out the artists who will be painting those two days along shorelines, in streets and yards, on the grounds of public buildings, in restaurant courtyards and decks – just about any nook and cranny from which a typical Southport scene can be captured on canvas. It’s interesting to see a new take on scenes we see every day, and the artists will likely be interested in your perspective, too.

For Artists

Up Your Arts and the City of Southport are thrilled to welcome artists back to our beautiful town for the 2022 Southport Plein Air Festival. Turn out in previous years has exceeded our imagination and we are ready to do it again -- two full days, May 13-14, 2022, rain or shine!



The 2022 Southport Plein Air Festival is open to all painters, regardless of age. It is a non-juried event, with merit and People’s Choice awards conferred by local notables. Winners will be registered in the 2023 Southport Plein Air Festival free of charge. There is no limit on medium, quantity or size. Painters retain all proceeds from the sale of their work during the Wet Paint Sale. We will be at capacity with 75 artists, so don’t delay signing up: first come, first serve!


Register online below OR mail this registration form with a check for $50 to: Up Your Arts, P.O. Box 11326, Southport, NC 28461.

  • All canvases to be entered in the Wet Paint Sale must be stamped at check-in/registration time.
  • Welcome packets will include a map of Southport, with suggested painting spots and other points of interest.
  • Commemorative T-shirts will be available for sale throughout the festival.


Friday, May 13

Painting can begin anytime after check-in/registration

  • Check-in/registration from 8am-11am outside Franklin Square Gallery, 130 E. West Street
  • Walking tours of Southport’s gallery district on Howe Street from 3-4pm, maps provided
  • Opening reception from 4-6pm at the Southport Community Building, 223 E. Bay Street
    • Includes 2 drink tickets for beer or wine
    • Light fare with a Latin theme
    • Music by Jazz pianist David Pope
    • Check-in/registration continues
  • Live music from 6-8pm on the community building lawn overlooking the Cape Fear River
    • Featuring the Back Porch Rockers
    • Bring your own lawn chairs and coolers
    • Open to the public, bring friends and family!

Paint the sunset on the water at 8:05pm on Friday, May 13

Saturday, May 14

Information base from 8am-6pm at Keziah Memorial Park, 113 W. Moore Street:

  • Check-in/registration from 8am-11am, if not previously checked in or registered
  • Kids’ Plein Air from 10am-2pm (supplies for painting and Mexican folk art crafts provided)
  • Live Music
    • 10am to Noon: Singer and Brazillian Jazz Guitarist, Raphael Namé
    • Noon to 1pm: Original music by the Tedward Brothers
    • 1pm to 3pm: Instrumental Spanish Guitar by Perry Smith and percussionist
  • Delicious Food from 11am to 5pm:
    • Wilmington’s Tacqueria La Vallita mobile food truck
    • Oak Island’s Lil & John’s Sweetreat Homemade Ice Cream
  • Wet Paint Sale from 4-6pm (artist setup starts at 3pm, closed to the public)
  • Merit and People’s Choice awards announced at 5 pm

Supported By:

The 2022 Southport Plein Air Festival is supported in part by grants from:

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