Hours Today: 9am-3pm

Plein Air Weekend

Artists from across Michigan and throughout the Midwest register to participate in this three-day annual fundraiser, which has become one of Michigan’s largest and most popular Paint Outs. The aim and challenge of the Plein Air Weekend are to “capture the moment”, working quickly to complete a painting. All 2-D works must be initiated and finished on the same day, rain or shine. The artists return to GAAC in the late afternoon to enter their work in the judged exhibit in which the public is invited to attend. Plein air painting refers to the technique of painting out-of-doors which was popularized by the French Impressionists in the mid-nineteenth century.

Held the first weekend in August, we begin with a Thursday evening “Sundowner” event.  Artists gather at the Glen Arbor Town Hall in the late afternoon to check-in, then are free to paint in the area as the sun sets in the west.  This event is contingent on good weather and is cancelled if there is rain.  Friday morning that artwork is returned to the Town Hall and artists are now sent out for a “Quick Draw” event.  They have 3-hours to paint their interpretation of whatever theme the Plein Air Committee has determined to focus the works of art on.  In the past that may have been “Village Life – Capturing Images of Glen Arbor and Empire” or “Pastoral Life – Capturing Images of Barns, Farms, and Fields.”  It’s different every year.  All of that artwork is on display and for sale at the Glen Arbor Town Hall on Friday evening.  The crown jewel of the weekend is the “Saturday Paint-Out” where only 70 artists are eligible to paint the natural beauty of our area.  They capture images of the lakes, the river, buildings, perhaps someone’s garden . . . they are free to paint where they want, what they want for the day.  Those works of art on sale Saturday evening at the Glen Arbor Town Hall, they are professionally installed and the winning piece, receives the Amy L. Clark-Carels Award.  A high honor endowed to the arts center to recognize excellence in the memory of local water color painter Amy L. Clark-Carels.  It is a stellar weekend of creativity and talent descending on our Glen Arbor community, the evening sale and viewing is a visual feast for the eyes!  All open to the public.

Call for Artists

Learn More
Starts: August 4, 2023 Ends: August 5, 2023

Plein Air Weekend: Save the Dates

Save the dates for the 2023 Plein Air Weekend which will be held Friday, August 4 and Saturday August 5.

Find out more »

Thank you Plein Air Weekend Sponsors!




Crystal River Outfitters

Cottage Book Shop

The Secret Garden

Cherry Republic

Becky Thatcher Designs

Sign up for our eNewsletter!

Subscribe Now!
Art Partners

Leelanau Enterprise Angela Saxon Design Northwoods Hardware Image360 DTE Foundation
© 2022 Glen Arbor Arts Center | A tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization