The Annual Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival

The Dexter Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee is pleased to host the Annual 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. Finished artwork will be on display and available for sale in Monument Park under a large canopy tent.

Artists will have the opportunity to enjoy a reception together 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.

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 Sale

Check out fresh smelling artwork in the festival tent and purchase your favorite. 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 from 2-9pm on the Friday of the Festival; and will be on sale from 2pm Friday until the sale closes at 8:00pm on Saturday.

Admission is free to the public.

Children’s Art Event

Kids will learn the different parts of the fish: from gill slits to names and locations of fins and types of fish to be found in and around Dexter.

They will use a brayer with ink (comes in tubes like oil paint) to cover the “fish”, lay a piece of paper over and press on the various parts of the fish to make sure the paper gets coated with the ink from the fish, then take their fish print home, along with a bit of knowledge about that particular fish.

Musical Entertainment

The Gazebo in Monument Park will host a musical performance the Friday of the Festival from 6:30 – 8:30pm 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 6:00 – 8:00pm.


In previous years, festival-goers have expressed an interest in or attended workshops learning 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 for our children 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 have included 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.

Small Fee Required

Classes for Adults

Adult classes are offered and vary year to year. Sign up on Facebook or via the registration page to be notified with details when they become available.

Space is usually limited so be sure to respond when registration opens. Registration availability is communicated via email. See the registration page to add your email to our list.

Fee Required

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 on the morning of Friday.

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.