Southport Plein Air 2021

Please note that this event is past, and the following content is for informational purposes only.

PleinAir 2021 Montage

2021 Southport Plein Air Festival

Special Acknowledgement To Our Grant Partners 

Plein Air 2021 in Pictures!

After 15 months sheltering in place from a global pandemic, coming out into the sun for the 2021 Southport Plein Air Festival was quite literally a breath of fresh air! And boy, did this festival deliver! With nearly 50 artists and hundreds of friends, family and spectators descending on Southport, the 2021 Plein Air Festival was an event to remember!

But don't take our word for it. Here is a retrospective in pictures!

Opening Reception

The opening ceremony was filled with live music, great food, and a good time for all!

Back Porch Rockers, Free Concert at the Gazebo

The Back Porch Rockers really rocked out in this picturesque outdoor concert that was open to all comers. Thanks to UYA friend Peter A Riekstins for sharing your amazing photos of this event with us!

Artists en Plein Air

Both amateur and professional painters alike came out to paint the glorious vistas of coastal North Carolina for the festival's true purpose, painting in the clean, fresh air. Thanks to UYA friends Keith Green Sr and Ricardo Perez for sharing your photos of the Plein Air painters!

Kids Plein Air

Plein Air is a festival for all ages, and the kids came out to celebrate. We provided all the materials for the kids to paint their own masterpieces, and they delivered, with smiles and giggles. (The live music that kept the parents entertained added smiles to adult faces too!)

Gullah Geechee Storyteller

"The First Lady of Gullah", Anita Singleton-Prather gave a stellar performance as Aunt Pearlie Sue, sharing with the audience the stories and history of the Gullah Geechee people, a culture birthed from the trans-Atlantic slave trade that is unique to the Carolina coast.

Wet Paint Sale

A favorite event of the Plein Air Festival, the wet paint sale gives the artist an opportunity to share their art with eager patrons, and gives attendees a chance to own a masterpiece that was created in front of their very eyes throughout the festival! Thanks to UYA friend Keith Green Sr for sharing your photos of the event!

Award Ceremony

The award ceremony recognizes the hard work and dedication of the Plein Air painters. Local artist judges hand-selected the award winners, while attendees voted on their favorite for the People's Choice award. The People's Choice winner will have their art featured in promotions and t-shirts at the next Southport Plein Air Festival!

The 2021 Southport Plein Air Festival Committee was proud to welcome -- and celebrate! -- the artists who came to our beautiful city last weekend and painted us up proper! The award winners and our citizen judges are pictured here, for those who missed the ceremony at the end of Festival Day 2.

Thanks to All Who Made it Happen

We would like to thank the following members of the community, who went above and beyond to make this festival a success:
Jeremy Truett, Joseph Bardani Gargagliano, Ginger Hedblom, Randy Lewis and the Back Porch Rockers, Richard D'Anjolell and Shelia Bell of Nowcat, Ray Richardson and Denis Lesloge and Jim Ilardi of Lockwood Lite, Peggy Douglas Waterman, Andrew Laing of Moore Street Market, Lori Sanderlin of NC Maritime Museum at Southport, Barbara McFall and Janice Shivetts of Brunswick Community Center Southport Center, Randy Jones and City of Southport staff, and volunteers Beth Baldiga, Cindy Black, Vicky Crane, Kelly Evans, and Josh Youse.
Special thanks to the patron saints of our festival, Jim McIntosh and Rena Powell, whose incredible art we were allowed to showcase for our 2019 and 2021 festival graphics. We were so happy they were able to join us painting again.
What a village we live in!

Much love and thanks from the 2021 Southport Plein Air Festival Committee,

For Spectators

A Festival Like No Other

Mark your calendars for June 18-19 for a unique, family friendly festival. Each year, Southport, North Carolina welcomes painters across the country to take advantage of our incredible scenery by painting 'in plein air' or in the open air. This outdoor festival is fun for the whole family:

6 Things to Do With Your Family at Southport’s Plein Air Festival 2021


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 2021 Southport Plein Air Festival will be positioned all around Southport. As you stroll the streets, take the opportunity to stop and watch the masters at work.

Historic connections

The Gullah Geechee people are unique to our coastal areas, bringing a rich cultural heritage of traditions in language, art, food and music. Your family can spend time with costumed storyteller, Anita Singleton-Prather, “The First Lady of Gullah.” They will learn how the Gullah Geechee people have contributed to the social fabric of the Cape Fear region. Performances will be every hour on the hour.

Her stories will be supported by literature and maps illustrating the efforts currently underway to expand the federally designated Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor through Brunswick County, courtesy of the Brunswick County NAACP. Project head Brayton Willis will be on hand to answer questions. 

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 June 19th, between 10am and 3pm.

Tasty Treats

Food trucks will be serving up great food and cold treats ((ice cream truck!)  all day, too, along with acoustic performances by local musicians during storytelling breaks.

Lots of live Music 

On Friday night, the popular band, Back Porch Rockers will be performing a free concert on the gazebo in Franklin Square Park from 6-8pm. The Back Porch Rockers established in early 2016 is a Rock & Roll band playing a variety of music including Classic Rock, Blues, Country & Beach Music from the 60's into the 2000's.

Up Your Arts will also host live music for the general public at Moore Street Market during the same time, along with a painting demonstration by local artist Joseph Bardani. The event’s judges are the guests of honor, along with Southport elected officials.

Wet Paint Sale

It's your opportunity to own a piece of history when at our unique wet paint sale! Support local artists and bring home a fabulous piece of art painted during the festival at this one-of-a-kind event!

Scheduled Events

  • Jun 18, 2021

    Southport Plein Air 2021 Day 1

    Mark your calendars for a unique, family friendly festival! Each year, Southport, North Carolina welcomes painters across the country to take advantage of our incredible scenery by painting 'in plein air' or in the open air. This outdoor festival is free with fun activities for the whole family!

  • 6pm-8pm

    Back Porch Rockers

    Music by the Back Porch Rockers on the gazebo in Franklin Square Park

  • Jun 19, 2021

    Southport Plein Air 2021 Day 2

    Activities on day 2 will be located in Keziah Memorial Park, thanks to a grant from Brunswick Arts Council, will showcase celebrated Gullah-Geechee storyteller, Anita Singleton-Prather. 

  • 10am-3pm

    Kids' Plein Air

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

  • 10am-3pm

    Gullah Geechee Storyteller

    Live music and Gullah Geechee storyteller Anita Singleton-Prather 

  • 4pm-6pm

    Wet Paint Sale

    Come meet the painters during this Wet Paint sale, discuss their techniques, and buy their art!  

All that AND it's Free!

That's right, the 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, while also staying safe. Be sure to wear your masks at all times you are in the festival areas, and maintain a bubble of 6 feet around your family to help us all have a safe and wonderful experience.

For Artists

Up Your Arts and the City of Southport are very eager to welcome artists back to our beautiful town for the 2021 Southport Plein Air Festival.



The 2021 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 established local artists. Winners will be registered in the 2022 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.


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, June 18

Painting can begin anytime after check-in/registration

  • Check-in/registration from 8am-11am at Brunswick Community College’s Southport Center for Creativity, 701 N. Lord Street
  • Walking tours of Southport’s gallery district on Howe Street from 3-4pm, maps provided
  • Opening reception from 4-6pm at the NC Maritime Museum – Includes a taste of Gullah cuisine and a view of the Cape Fear River that can’t be beat
  • Beer and wine will be served at Moore Street Market next door, along with
  • Music and displays of work by artist judges, and a
  • Painting workshop; check-in/registration continues
  • Music by the Back Porch Rockers on the gazebo in Franklin Square Park from 6-8pm

Saturday, June 19

  • Check-in/registration from 8am-11am, if not previously checked in or registered
  • Kids’ Plein Air from 10am-3pm (art supplies provided)
  • Live music and Gullah Geechee storyteller Anita Singleton-Prather from 10am-3pm
  • Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Trail information kiosk
  • 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
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