Southport Plein Air 2024

Southport Plein Air Festival Teaser

2024 Southport Plein Air Festival

For the Public

A Festival Like No Other

The 2024 Southport Plein Air festival is almost upon us! You will see artists painting outside all over Southport beginning Thursday, May 2nd.  Over 70 artists have registered this year already!  The event culminates in a full day of fun events for the whole family and the highly anticipated Wet Paint Sale on Saturday, May 4th.

Plein Air Activities - open air painting

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

Plein Air Activities - Kids Plein Air

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

Kids' Plein Air

Plein Air Activities - Live music

Live music performances and arts demonstrations are available throughout the festival. See below for more info.

Live Entertainment

What to Do at the 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival

If you aren’t ready to start your own tradition of painting at the festival, there are many other fun things to do and see!

  • For the Children

    Up Your Arts has big plans for the activities scheduled in Keziah Memorial Park on Saturday, May 4th. Beginning at 10 am, award winning storyteller and author Joan Leotta will engage with children of all ages, telling a variety of tales throughout the day.  Back by popular demand, local educator Ginger Hedblom will lead children through a variety of creative art projects.

  • Arts Demonstrations

    Grants from the North Carolina Arts Council via Brunswick Arts Council are underwriting a brand-new event taking place in Keziah Park simultaneously on Saturday. Local artisan craftspeople will be on hand to demonstrate their specialties and instruct audience members in DIY art projects. Be sure to stop by and try your hand at creating with these local artists: Kris Adkins, acrylic paint techniques; Colleen Ament, water color and acrylic paint techniques; Mary Brown, neurographic art; Michelle Field, art journaling and yoga; Lisa Giordano, shell art; Carol Kidd, marbling; Mary Frances Rodriquez, alcohol ink and paint techniques; Missy Ronquillo, encaustic painting; Bob Salemme, color mixing; Pam Swearingin, felting techniques; and Carolyn Tabarini, thread painting. All supplies will be provided.

  • Music

    A variety of local musicians will be performing throughout the day to entertain locals and visitors alike.  Bring a lawn chair and relax under the shade of Keziah Park’s beautiful live oaks to the sounds of three different duos: Up the Creek, Ken Schnedetz and Bob Gentile, and Robert "Higgs" Higgins and Matt Warren.

  • Food & Fun

    Food trucks will be on hand throughout the day for lunch, drinks, and snacks to help you keep your energy up. Pigs Up in Smoke offers amazing BBQ, brisket, and chicken plates that never disappoint and ice cream to finish them off with; and Sea Dogs and More carries more different kinds of hot dogs than you can shake a bun at. Definitely something  for everyone!

  • Wet Paint Sale

    The highlight of the day is the Wet Paint Sale.  It begins with closure of Keziah Park for one hour, from 3 to 4 pm, to allow the registered artists to display the works they have created over the previous two or three days throughout the park.

    At 4 pm, the park will reopen to all.  Stroll through the park and enjoy the amazing images of the beautiful town of Southport.  Each painting is unique.  Watercolor, acrylic, oil, and maybe even some mixed media pieces!  Pick the style and medium you appreciate the most!  Be sure to place your vote for your favorite artist so you can be counted for the People’s Choice Award.  Completed artwork will be offered for sale by the artists.

  • Awards Ceremony

    The judges presiding over the Award Ceremony will have a hard time choosing their favorites. This year, they will be owners of six Southport  businesses who all support and regularly host live music events: American Fish Company, Dry Street Pub and Pizza, The Grape and Ale, Cafe Koa and Fizzy Jane's, and Haven.  The most prestigious award though is awarded by you!  The People’s Choice Award goes to the artist with the most votes cast by the guests attending the festival.  Don’t miss out!

And Last, But Definitely Not Least

On Auction - Original Painting by Southport Plein Air 2023 Peoples Choice Award Winner Bryan Murphy
On Auction - Original Painting by Southport Plein Air 2023 Peoples Choice Award Winner Bryan Murphy

Put a Winner on Your Wall

This year, we are excited to host a raffle to win a painting created during last year’s festival by our People’s Choice winner, Brian Murphy.  Raffle tickets will be available for purchase throughout the day on Saturday.  Tickets are $5 each, or 5 tickets for $20.  The raffle drawing will take place at 6 pm following the awards ceremony.  The winner does not need to be present to win.

And it's Free!

That's right, the 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival is free to audiences of all ages! What a great opportunity to get out of the house, stretch your legs, explore historic Southport, watch artists in real time, and have some fun!

If you can’t attend any of the activities on May 4th, you are invited to seek out the artists who will be painting the 2nd through the 4th  throughout Southport – 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.

Lots to do, lots to see! We hope you can join us, get a t-shirt, have some fun, and buy a painting or two!

Artist Invitation

Up Your Arts and the City of Southport are looking forward to hosting the 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival again in beautiful downtown Southport, May 2-4. We leave it up to you to decide: two days of painting or three?



The 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival is open to all paint artists. It is a non-juried event, with student, merit and People’s Choice awards conferred by local judges. Winners will be registered in the 2025 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.


Choose the number of days you want to paint, then register online below OR mail the registration form, along with your registration fee.

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


Thursday, May 2nd

Painting can begin anytime after check-in/registration

  • Check in/registration from 8am-10am at Keziah Memorial Park, 119 W. Moore Street, Southport.
  • The first artist reception will be held from 4-6pm at Haven of Southport, a gelato and wine bar at 307 N. Howe Street, Southport. If you missed the morning registration, check-in will be available during the reception at Haven. Your registration includes one beverage ticket and an opportunity to meet with fellow artists.

Paint the sunset on the water at 7:57 pm on Thursday, May 2

Friday, May 3rd

Painting can begin anytime after check-in/registration

  • Check in/registration from 8am-10am at Keziah Park, 119 W. Moore Street, Southport.
  • Reception for artists and guests from 4-6pm at the Frying Pan Restaurant, 319 W. Bay Street, Southport. Includes one beverage ticket, happy hour fare, and the opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow artists. Check-in registration is also available here from 4-6pm.

Saturday, May 4th

Activity base from 8am-6pm at Keziah Park, 119 W. Moore St, Southport:
Additional artist support from 8-10:00 am at Keziah Park

  • Kids’ Plein Air & Fiber Art & Craft Demonstrations and DIY workshops from 10am-2pm
  • Storytelling and Festival Entertainment from 10am-2:30pm
  • Food Trucks all day
  • Wet Paint Sale from 4-6pm (artist setup starts at 3pm, closed to the public)
  • Awards ceremony - Merit, Student and People’s Choice awards announced at 5:30 pm
  • Raffle drawing of a painting by last year's People's Choice award winner Brian Murphy

Artist FAQ

Click image for full size, printable map

Welcome! Up Your Arts is looking forward to hosting you soon at the 2024 Southport Plein Air Festival. You are among a group of 75 other registered artists from across North Carolina and other states, some who have participated in previous festivals, some who are brand new to our kind of laid-back experience. Either way, we aim to make this as easy as possible for you to relax and enjoy.

We have prepared a list of frequently asked questions below that may help you navigate the event:

Bring your blank canvases
to Keziah Memorial Park at 119 W. Moore Street (corner of Moore and Lord streets) from 8-10am on Thursday-Friday, May 2-3; and all day Saturday, May 4, starting at 8am. You can also check in at either of the two receptions scheduled: Thursday, May 2, from 4-6pm at Haven of Southport, 307 N. Howe Street; and Friday, May 3, from 4-6pm at Frying Pan Restaurant, 319 W. Bay Street.

Registration begins with checking you in to the festival. You will be given an information packet and a badge identifying you as a plein air artist. This is where you will have your canvases stamped. Only canvases stamped with this year's information are eligible for use. Plein air committee members will be available to assist you at any of the check-in locations. 

, “canvases” include whatever surface you would like to paint on, i.e., canvas, paper, panels, or boards. All canvases must be stamped at one of the registration tables.

. Only canvases stamped with the dates May 2-4, 2024, can be displayed or sold at the Wet Paint Sale. Older date stamps may be in evidence, but the current stamp is required.


    • The Wet Paint Sale will be held in designated areas of Keziah Park at 4pm on Saturday, May 4. You can begin setting up at 3pm, when the park is closed to the public to allow artists to set up for the sale. The park will reopen to the general public at 4pm.
    • No sales will be conducted during the set-up time.
    • The loading and unloading zone will be marked by cones adjacent to Keziah Park. Plein air committee members will be on hand to help unload and transport your equipment and paintings. You can then park your car nearby. Water will be provided and there will be food trucks along W. Moore Street until 5:30pm.
    • The best displays are easels, either full height or table top. We will have a limited number of both available to artists on a first-come, first-served basis. The best way to ensure appropriate display of your work is to bring your own.

All painters will be setting up at the same time, beginning at 3pm.

Yes. You
set the price and decide how to display it on your artwork. You will need to have your own credit card processing device or accept only cash or checks, your preference. There is an ATM machine within easy walking distance.


    • Clothing appropriate for rain/shine/hot/cold, also bug spray and an umbrella
    • Business cards and monetary transaction capability, including a wifi hotspot
    • Easels, tables, etc., to display your artwork

A map (above) in your registration bag will
have scenic landmarks noted, and restroom and ATM locations. We will also give you a list of sheltered places to paint, in case of rain, and information about parking

2024 Southport Plein Air Festival
Approved Rain-Sheltered Painting Locations:

    • North Carolina Maritime Musuem at Southport porches - 204 E. Moore Street
    • Southport Community Building porches and back deck – 223 E. Bay Street (accessible without stairs from E. Moore Street, next door to the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport)
    • Morningstar Marina - 606 W. West Street (along tree-shaded public decks, not occupied piers)
    • Salt Marsh Boardwalk and Waterway gazebo - W. Brunswick Street (near Morningstar Marina)
    • Public parks at various locations:
      • A.C. Caviness Park – N. Caswell and Clarendon avenues (picnic shelter)
      • Lowe-White Memorial Park – E. Leonard and N. Atlantic streets (thick tree canopies)
      • Waterfront Park – E. Moore and S. Howe streets (picnic shelters)
    • American Fish Company, 150 Yacht Basin Drive, welcomes you to paint from its deck, as may other open-air restaurants and bars on the waterfront, upon request.

Public restrooms are located at 107 E. Nash Street
and behind the Ft. Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitors’ Center at 203 E. Bay Street. There are also port-a-potties at Keziah Park brought in specifically to accommodate painters and festival goers on Saturday, May 4.

Public Parking Areas:

    • Waterfront Park* on the Cape Fear River at the base of Howe Street
    • Bay Street from S. Howe to S. Atlantic streets
    • Howe Street from Bay to 8th streets
    • Moore Street from W. Lord to Davis streets
    • Moore Street in front of the Southport Community Building
    • Nash Street behind the Old Brunswick County Courthouse/former Southport City Hall
    • E. Nash Street block in front of the US Post Office, both sides
    • W. Nash Street between Lord and Howe streets
    • W. West Street Between Lord and Howe streets
    • The block formed by Caswell Avenue, Bay Street, Yacht Basin Drive, and Moore Street near the Yacht Basin (four-hour limit)
    • Taylor Field Park* at the end of E. Nash Street
    • A.C. Caviness Park at N. Caswell and Clarendon avenues
    • Lowe-White Memorial Park at E. Leonard and N. Atlantic streets

Public Rights of Way:

    • Base of the Water Tower* off Howe Street
    • W. Brown Street between Lord and Howe streets
    • Rhett Street at the Old Smithfield Burying Ground*
    • Gravel drive for the pond* at the west end of St. George Street

Non-public Approved Parking Areas:

    • Southport Marina* at the end of W. West Street

*Landmarks on the above list are noted on the map included with check-in material. Other landmarks can be Googled by name.

Please text or call
Marty Dorward at 415.531.7134 or Pam Lough at 714.642.3796, if you need help with anything that is not an emergency. Southport police and fire officers will respond to 911 emergency calls.

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