Saturday, August 12, 2023

15th Annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival in Saranac Lake

adirondack plein air festival, adirondack art

Adirondack Plein Air

Saranac Lake – Forty artists are packing up their paints and canvases from Texas to Illinois, and Maryland to Maine and will be heading to the Adirondacks for a week of wonderful painting. The 2023 Adirondack Plein Air Festival will start on August 14 and culminate with the huge Show & Sale, on August 19, held in the Town Hall in Saranac Lake.

Started in 2009 by Saranac Lake ArtWorks member Sandra Hildreth, this event has grown from an opportunity for local artists to get together and paint outdoors, to a nationally recognized painting experience that often attracts nearly 100 applications. The Saranac Lake area offers an abundance of mountain, lake, and river views, farmland, historic villages, rustic camps, waterfalls, marshes and bogs.

Plein air paintings record the experiences of the artists – if it’s a rainy day, they will convey the grey and overcast landscape. Hot and hazy, the mountains will be blue and pale in the distance. Part of the attraction of plein air paintings, for art collectors, is the fact that the artists are recording what has just happened in the world around them. There is no reliance upon photographs, nor do plein air painters have the luxury of working for days, or weeks, in their studio to create a masterpiece. All their painting skills, knowledge and experience get tightly wrapped up into a time frame that’s often just 4-5 hours! That immediacy, the “here and now” experience, is the main attraction of plein air painting.

Forty Artists from around the country will be scattered throughout the local area painting the town, our parks, and the scenic landscapes and will by vying for recognition and awards of excellence.  They will be in and around the surrounding Village of Saranac Lake beginning Monday, August 14th through to the free and open to the public Show & Sale on Saturday, August 19th from 12noon until 5PM.  Proceeds benefit the participating artists and help support the local arts community.
Saranac Lake ArtWorks, established in 2008 and incorporated as a not-for-profit in 2020, has a mission of using the arts to promote Saranac Lake and the surrounding community and bring cultural consumers to Adirondack artists.

Visitors are also invited to attend the FREE “Meet the Artists” opening night reception on Monday, August 14th from 7 to 9PM at the Hotel Saranac, our partner and sponsor for that event. Spectators are welcomed at painting locations: the Paul Smiths VIC on Tuesday Aug 15, in the village of Saranac Lake on Thursday Aug 17 and at the Saranac Lake Fish & Game Club on Friday Aug 18. Maps and directions to other painting locations can be found at the Chamber, the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery on Main St, and other village art venues.

All completed artwork will be ready for viewing Friday, August 19 th during the Special Preview Party scheduled from 6 to 9PM in the Town Hall, sponsored by Hyde Fuel and AdkAction. Tickets for the Special Preview Party are still available for $20 each.  Get first look at the fresh art, some of it still wet, and buy the best right off the walls.  Proceeds from this event go to support ArtWorks other events and programs, like the ArtWalks and Studio Tours. A percentage goes back to the artists as well.

Kari Ruiz, 2020 1st place winner, returns in 2023

Kari Ruiz, 2020 1st place winner, returns in 2023

Artists compete to paint during the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, and come from as far away as Texas.  Some artists return year after year.  Last year’s first place winner, Thomas Adkins, is back again this year. Local ArtWorks members Nancy Brossard, Anne Diggory, Vera Doumanoff, Ann Haskell, Sandra Hildreth, Diane Leifheit and Susan Whiteman will be competing as well.  First place award is a package of cash and prizes worth nearly $2,600.  Second prize, the Founder’s Award, has a cash award of $1,000 plus art supplies donated by companies. Third prize, given by Jody and Mary Ann Hoyt in memory of Tom Boothe, and by ADK Health, has a cash value of $750. Additionally there are seven cash awards of $250 donated by community sponsors.

“We are successful because we have an amazing environment to share, and the hard work and support of members of ArtWorks, our local arts community, individual contributors like you and me, and our business community.  Each year hundreds of visitors get to interact with the artists as they paint in “plein air.”

Buyers can take these timeless images home with them.  We hope that these spectacular landscapes of the Adirondacks captured on canvas will bring visitors back to the region for years to come”, said Sandra Hildreth, President and Co- Founder of ArtWorks.

To learn more about the artists, view a full schedule of events, and to purchase tickets visit

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. LindaRamirez says:

    An opportunity to see some exquisite paintings of our area. Sorry to miss this years events

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