Four local plein air festivals planned this year | News, sports, jobs

People gather at Harrietstown Town Hall for the 2023 Adirondack Plein Air Festival show and sale in Saranac Lake. (Photo included)

SARANAC LAKE – Four plein air events are planned throughout the region this summer.

Organizers encourage visitors to check schedules and make plans to see the Adirondacks through the eyes of painters from across the country.

The following are planned for the northern Adirondacks in 2024:

¯ July 16-20: Keeseville Plein Air, as part of the Community Arts Festival

¯ August 12-17: Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Saranac Lake

¯ Sept. 18-21: Salmon River Valley Plein Air Festival, Malone

¯ October 1-6: Tupper Lake Plein Air Festival, Tupper Lake

Plein Air is a French term for “painting outdoors in the open air.” Artists participating in these festivals will take their paints and easels to outdoor locations and explore natural light and scenic views, wilderness or farmland, industrial or village sites, with unlimited content. Artists can make several paintings a day, resulting in a group exhibition of hundreds of paintings. Large, small, oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, in a variety of subjects.

Painters have captured the area en plein air for centuries.

In 2009, Sandra Hildreth, a Saranac Lake painter and co-founder of Saranac Lake ArtWorks, decided to organize an outdoor festival for the Adirondack region. The Adirondack Plein Air Festival began with just a few local artists painting for two days and then putting on a show of their work on a Sunday afternoon. Now, after 16 years, the event has a national reputation, a juried selection process, five days of painting and awards over $5,000 in prizes. Capping off the event is the huge show and sale at Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake that regularly sends dozens of paintings on to new homes.

The Keeseville, Malone, and Tupper Lake festivals were all modeled after the Saranac Lake event, and they also attract artists who want to paint Adirondack landscapes, from the High Peaks, to the foothills, from Lake Champlain to the AuSable River valleys.

These events are for artists, many of whom travel around the country attending various festivals, as well as art collectors and spectators. Spectators are welcome at all plein air festivals. Read more at

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