Outdoors, from observation, and in natural light

The Adirondack region has long been known as a wonderful, wild vacation retreat and the inspiration for numerous artists, writers, and musicians. The plein air painters who come and take part in this event know that very well, which is what attracts them from all over the country. The Adirondacks is the largest protected area east of the Mississippi, yet it's still within a day's drive of most of the major cities of the Northeast. There are mountains, lakes, rivers, bogs, forests, farms, and small communities — a full variety of subject matter for artists. 

Held annually the 3rd week in August, fifty juried artists have many opportunities throughout the week to paint outdoors in the scenic wonders of the Saranac Lake area.

Not a painter? Not to worry. Spectators are encouraged to check out the creative process while enjoying the classic Adirondack surroundings.

Adirondack Plein Air Festival Events by Day, Aug 12 - 17, 2024

2024 Festival Schedule

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, AUGUST 10-11: Pre-Festival Plein Air Workshop with Valerie Craig. More details available on the Plein Air Workshop page

MONDAY AUGUST 12: Check In and "Meet the Artists" Reception at the Hotel Saranac, 100 Main St., Saranac Lake, NY. Easy entry to lobby from the back door on Academy Street. 

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. – Artist check-in and surface stamping. Painting may begin afterwards.

7 p.m. - 9 p.m. – "Meet the Artists” Reception, with nocturne painting opportunities. 

TUESDAY AUGUST 13“Paint the VIC” Day. The Paul Smith’s College VIC is the site for the first day of painting. Miles of trails, scenic mountain views, old growth forest, bogs, streams, marsh, beaver lodges, Adirondack lean-tos, and more. Trail maps are available, and artists will enjoy many choice painting spots, including some close to the parking areas and building. Indoor restroom facilities are available. Festival attendees are advised to bring lunch and snacks, and painting through the evening is encouraged.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14“Paint the Adirondacks” Day. Artists are free to choose their own painting locations – note that information and a map is included in your packet. Visitors are invited to pick up maps and watch the artists at work.

THURSDAY AUGUST 15“Paint the Town” Day. All artists are requested to spend the day in the Village to paint. Artists are requested to create a small (11×14 or smaller), unframed painting for a silent auction. Free 5x7 canvases are available for artists, and paintings are due at 4 p.m. Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery, 52 Main Street, for the silent auction scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Artists receive 50% of the winning bid.

5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – 3rd Thursday ArtWalk”. There will be artists and musicians throughout the village as part of our regular monthly ArtWalk. Stroll about, visit the various art venues, and enjoy the evening. Free live music will be available at Berkeley Green. Plein Air artists are welcome to set up and paint, and talk to ArtWalk visitors about the Preview Party and Show & Sale. 

Nocturne Contest: On-going display at the Hotel Saranac; artists should pick up paintings Thursday evening after 8 p.m. or on Friday morning, so they can be added to the Show & Sale in the Town Hall.

FRIDAY AUGUST 16: “Paint the Saranac River” Day. We will have permission to paint the mountain views along the Saranac River.at the Saranac Lake Fish & Game Club in the morning. Choose to paint at this location or at another area nearby. Artists may choose to use this time to have paintings framed.

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. – Framed paintings are due at the Town Hall. Paintings must be labeled and hung before 2 p.m. Note that artists are requested to hanging their own work on assigned walls.

3 p.m. – Jurying

6 p.m. - 9 p.m. – Preview Party A special opportunity to view the hundreds of new paintings created at the event! Beer, wine and snacks will be provided. Awards will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance, or at the door (artists may attend at no cost). This reception is generously sponsored by AdkAction.org.

SATURDAY AUGUST 17: “Quick Draw” competition – Downtown Saranac Lake: Come watch and see who can create the best painting in just 2 hours time! Artists will set up and paint from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Judging of paintings will occur immediately following in front of the Town Hall at 39 Main Street. Winner to be announced at 11:45 a.m.

SATURDAY AUGUST 17 – Show & Sale at the Town Hall.

12 noon – 5 p.m. FREE Meet the artists and view the new paintings created for this event.

4 p.m. - “Paint the Town” Silent Auction concludes

5 p.m. – Festival ends

Visit the Adirondack Plein Air Festival schedule for additional information and event details.

Sponsored by Saranac Lake ArtWorks. 


Plein air artwork on display inside the Saranac Lake Town Hall.
Close-up of a main painting an image of the Town Hall at an easel, with the hall in the background.
A person in a straw hat paints at an easel in a park, surrounded by greenery.
​​A woman paints at an easel at the shore of Lake Flower during the Plein Air Festival, one of the Adirondack art shows in Saranac Lake