(Photos above: 2015 Events)

Five years ago, it was determined to establish an accomplished Plein air “outdoor painting” competition modeled after successful competitions in Carmel, CA, Easton, MD, and Saranac Lake, NY. Our founding members enlisted the help and support of other like-minded community members, art patrons, artist and community and business leaders to establish the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition & Festival at Canandaigua, NY. The Ontario County Arts Council was “in” from the start, providing the first installment of seed money. Others quickly followed suit, volunteers signed on, and qualified and national plein air artists were eager to participate.

Fast forward to today, and the festival has become an eminently respected art competition and a popular community event dedicated to promoting our community and enriching our cultural heritage. For those who are new to the event, it celebrates artwork created “en plein air,” meaning literally “in the open air.” This style of painting originated in Europe near the end of the 19th century, when artists left their studios to paint what they saw in the great outdoors! Devotees believe that painting on site, in natural light, produces luminous paintings of unparalleled quality and beauty.

The current festival showcases not only Canandaigua’s quaint downtown and Main Street, but local landmarks like the Granger Homestead and Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens. During the competition, come rain or shine, up to forty-five participating artists from across the U.S. and Canada will be painting around Canandaigua Lake and in the surrounding communities to capture the breathtaking lake vistas, waterways, historic neighborhoods, rolling hillsides, lush gardens, incredible farms, and vineyards of our uniquely beautiful region. The festival will culminate in a sale of paintings at Sonnenberg during a ticketed preview event on Saturday night and a day-long, free public sale on Sunday.

Planning for the 5th annual FLPA Competition & Festival is almost complete. Please explore our website to see what is planned, and for donor and sponsorship opportunities. Our festival lasts for six days – from June 7-12, 2016 – and has a multitude of events that celebrate our community as well as the Arts! We truly believe there is something for everyone.

Your support is critical. We look forward to seeing you during the festival!