Evanston Plein Air Festival

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Evanston Plein Air Festival

July 12 @ 5:00 pm - July 21 @ 8:00 pm

Evanston Plein Air Festival

Evanston Made presents the 3rd Annual Evanston Plein Air Festival: July 12-21, 2024. This citywide summer arts festival invites the community to plein air art events and competitions hosted in every neighborhood, accessible and free for all!

Watch competing artists paint in the Plein Air style, capturing the beauty of Evanston’s natural and built environment and favorite landmarks.


SCHEDULE OF EVENTSRSVP to receive event updates


Friday, July 12Main Dempster Mile hosts the Plein Air Festival Kick Off Block Party! Pick up the festival map, meet the competing artists, see live art demonstrations, shop for plein air art, enjoy live music and delicious drinks and bites! 5:30-7:30p, INFO


Saturday, July 13- Workshop with Mark Cleveland

Artist talk and instruction: learn the basic techniques to start painting outside or “en plein air”. Artist and founder of the Evanston Plein Air Festival Mark Cleveland. 9 – 11:30 a. Sign up at Evanston Park District Here


Monday, 7/15- Class with Thomas Trausch

The day will begin with a demonstration and all media are welcome. If you have wanted to paint “en plein air” or have limited experience in doing so, we can go over supplies and answer any specific questions. Workshop hosted at the Evanston Lighthouse, $110. Register HERE


Plein Air Festival Paint Outs, July 13-19, 2024

Paint Outs are “quick paint” competitions for competing plein air painters! Watch painters work during the painting time. Join us for award ceremonies at the end of the day. See below for times and locations across Evanston, free to attend, RSVP here

Saturday, July 13

Bastille Day Nocturne Paint Out: LeTour, Judge: Amy Morton

  • Painting time: 5-8p 
  • Award Ceremony: LeTour, 625 Davis Street
  • Award Time: 8:30p

Monday, July 15

  • Painting Area: Church & Dodge, Judge: Mark Cleveland
  • Painting time: 12-5p 
  • Award Ceremony: C&W Market and Ice Cream, 1901 Church St., 6-7p
  • Award Time: 6:30p

Tuesday, July 16 

  • Painting Area: Downtown Evanston, Judges: Darren Oberto and Ross Martens
  • Painting time: 12 – 5p 
  • Award Ceremony: Alley Gallery, 1712 Rear 2, Sherman Ave., 6-7p
  • Award Time: 6:30p

Wednesday, July 17 

  • Painting Area: Arrington Pond, Judges: Matt Puchalski and Katherine Gotsick
  • Painting time: 8a – 12p
  • Award Ceremony: CoCo Design & Build, 602 Dempster St., 5-6p
  • Award Time: 5:30p
  • After Party: Artist Reception for Mark Cleveland and Nina Weiss, Plein Air Exhibit, POUR Evanston, 528 Dempster St., 6-8p

Thursday, July 18 

  • Painting Area: Central Street by Independence Park, Judge: Laurie Kennard, Exec. Director PAPC
  • Painting time: 11a – 3p 
  • Awards Ceremony: DeSalvo’s Pizza, 1945 Central St., 3-4p 
  • Award Time: 3:30p

Friday, July 19 (Paint Out & Member Mixer)

  • Painting Area: Noyes Street, Judge: Nina Weiss 
  • Painting time: 8a – 12p 
  • Award Ceremony: Sarah Kaiser Artist Studio, 927 Noyes St., 6-8p
  • Award Time: 7p


Wednesday, July 17 – Plein Air Judges Exhibit Opening Party

The exhibit includes examples of plein air and studio work from our judges;  award winning artists and educators Nina Weiss and Tom Trausch joined by Festival Founder Mark Cleveland. POUR, 528 Dempster St., 6-8p, RSVP here.


Saturday, July 20 – Painting Demonstrations 

See artists Mark Cleveland (oil), Claire Tarnaki (acrylic) and Maria Delton (watercolor) work in plein air. Fountain Square in Downtown Evanston, FREE, 9-11a


Sunday, July 21, Plein Air Festival Grand Finale

Join us for an afternoon of art, awards and an Outdoor Art Market where artists will sell their work “off the easel”. Enjoy food and drink vendors and family-friendly activities hosted by Downtown Evanston and festival partners. Free for all to attend.

Plein Air Festival competing artists will submit one work for judging. 

View submitted art and vote Festival Favorite, 12-3p

Festival Award Ceremony: 3:30p

Art Market with Artists on Site: 12-4p

Hosted at Rotary International, Downtown Evanston, 1560 Sherman Ave., RSVP here

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