Southport Plein Air Festival

The Southport Plein Air Festival is a truly unique experience! An annual event jointly hosted by Up Your Arts and the City of Southport, this festival brings local and regional talent (and interested visitors!) to our scenic coastlines in celebration of capturing the true essence and beauty of the city.


En plein air is a French term meaning
“in the open air.”

The plein air movement gained popularity in France in the 1800s. With the ability to store paint in tubes, artists were able to go out into the open air to paint the landscapes around them in natural lighting. Today's plein air enthusiasts borrow from that movement to bring artists around the country to beautiful, inspirational places to paint and celebrate.

Since Southport is, in our totally unbiased opinion, one of the most beautiful and paintable places on earth, Up Your Arts is proud to partner with the City of Southport to present the annual Southport Plein Air Festival.

Ours is an event that features something for everyone. Not only are there an incredible variety of locations for artists to paint our amazing landscapes throughout Southport, we also host a reception for residents and visitors to meet and greet the artists with great food, live music, and painting demonstrations; and we sponsor Kids' Plein Air activities free to the general public that also showcase creative performance artists.

The event culminates in our famous Wet Paint Sale where residents and visitors clamor to buy unique artworks created during the event by participating artists.

2024 Southport Plein Air Festival

Original Art by Bryan Murphy, 2023 People's Choice winner
Original Art by Bryan Murphy, 2023 People's Choice winner

May 02-04, 2024

Registration for the 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival is now open! Please mark your calendars for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 2-4, 2024, and reserve your spot today

Our plein air committee has made some exciting changes to the festival based on  suggestions submitted with the digital survey we received from painters who participated in the last two festivals.  Details are on our 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival page.

2023 Southport Plein Air Festival

2023 Southport Plein Air
Original Art by Jon Cox, 2022 People's Choice winner

2022 Southport Plein Air Festival

PleinAir 2022 (art by Lyudmila Lucy Tomova)
Original Art by Lyudmila Lucy Tomova, 2021 People's Choice winner

2021 Southport Plein Air Festival

PleinAir 2021 (artist Rena Powell)
Original art by Rena Powell, 2019 People's Choice winner

Plein Air Facebook Group

Talk to Plein Air artists and learn about Plein Air events across the state in our facebook group. Join today!

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