Welcome to the 11th Annual Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival!

Festival Dates – Monday, August 14th to Saturday, August 19th, 2023

The Dexter Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee is pleased to host the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival in Dexter, Michigan every year during the month of August.

Situated in the picturesque City of Dexter, our quaint city offers the outdoor painter numerous charming subjects from which to draw inspiration, including parks, meadows, rivers, wetlands, wildlife, historical landmarks and architecture.

Activities are scheduled throughout the week and finished artwork will be on display and available for sale in Monument Park under a large canopy tent on Friday and Saturday.

The Festival also hosts various events for the artists such as a reception and breakfast get-together here in Dexter.

Week-long Artist Interaction

Encounter plein air artists up close and personal in and around the City of Dexter.

The Quick-Draw competition invites the public to watch as participating artists create a painting in three hours on Friday morning.

You will have a wonderful opportunity to meet respected plein air artists and later purchase the fruits of their labor during the Festival.

Art Exhibit and Sale

Check out fresh artwork in the festival tent and purchase your favorite piece. See the Art Sale page to learn how buying and selling artwork works. All of the artwork created throughout the week and submitted for the competitions will be on display in the Gallery Tent in Monument Park starting the Friday of the Festival until the sale closes Saturday evening. After the Festival concludes, artwork will be available in the Paint Dexter Online Store for purchase.

Admission is free to the public.

Children’s Art Event

This year’s children’s art event will take place the Wednesday of the Festival. The youth activities are broken down by three age groups: elementary, middle school, and high school. During past festivals, kids have done a variety of activities ranging from learning the parts of a fish through painting to turning rocks in to works of art to replicating images onto their canvass.

Musical Entertainment

The Gazebo in Monument Park will host a musical performance the Friday of the Festival from 6:30 – 9:00pm as part of the Friday Night Music Series. The Tent Gallery in Monument Park will then host a musical performance the Saturday of the Festival from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

Plein Air Competitions

Our goal is to assemble the finest display of Plein Air paintings by local, regional, and national artists.

The focus in the judging process will be to select paintings that show the highest quality of draftsmanship, color, composition, and emphasizing diversity in representational style and subject matter.

Eligible artists must be at least 18 years old.

Four-Day Plein Air Painting Competitions

Professional and emerging artists will paint together for four days. Judging and prizes will be separated into two categories, allowing both professional and emerging artists to exhibit and compete within their peer group.

The painting competition for both categories commences after the first check-in opportunity at 8am on Monday and ends Friday morning.

Registration online and Check-in are required to participate.

Three-Hour Quick Draw Competition

A lively Three-Hour Quick Draw Competition provides an additional opportunity for artists to create a work of art in a three-hour time frame on the morning of Friday.

This competition is open to both Professional and Emerging artists.

Registration and Check-in are required to participate.

Wet Paint Sale

All Competition artworks will be exhibited in the Tent Gallery in Monument Park and available for sale.

The public has opportunity to view  the exhibited work on Friday and may purchase artwork Friday and Saturday.

If you aren’t able to make it to the Tent Gallery during Paint Dexter, many pieces will be available online for sale in the Paint Dexter Online Store.


In previous years, festival-goers have expressed an interest in or attended workshops to learn the craft of plein air painting, or painting “en plein air”. We are excited to offer plein air painting workshops for adults and children!

Classes for Kids

The Dexter Plein Air Festival will offer several types of painting workshops for children and youths.

An introductory workshop painting class will be offered for children of different age groups under the big tent in Monument Park. In this class, children will receive instruction from expert instructors and gain experience with the materials of painting and technique, including brushwork, canvas and color mixing. Cookies and refreshment provided!

Classes for young adults (high school) include an authentic hands-on plein air painting workshop on location in Mill Creek Park. A workshop geared toward the beginning painter interested in learning about painting outdoors and the unique attributes associated with this style of painting. See the youth workshop page for more information!

Small Fee Required

Classes for Adults

Adult classes are offered every year during the weekend prior to the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival. Over the weekend, participants will spend two days learning from the Awarding Judge for that year’s Festival. All skills levels are welcomed and encouraged to learn from a masterful painter.

Like us on Facebook or via the registration page to be notified with details when they become available.

Space is limited so be sure to respond when registration opens. Registration availability is communicated via email. See the Adult Workshop Page to register for the class.

Fee Required

Sponsorships & Donations

Interested in becoming a sponsor and donating to the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival? Check out the Paint Dexter Sponsor Information to see how you can help make this year’s festival even better than the last!

For any questions regarding sponsorships, please contact paintdexter.com or call (734) 580-2229.