women looking at paintings.

Alpino Vino and Mad River Valley Arts present the annual Vermont Plein Air Festival in the Mad River Valley, an art event in the villages of Waitsfield and Warren. Artists paint the summer scenery in various mediums on August 12, 13 and 14. This event is an opportunity for community and visitors to see and meet the artist at work together outside.


The term plein air is derived from the French term open air. It originated in the mid-180’s when the Impressionist painters popularized the practice of painting outdoors. Plein air today is the largest art movement in the history of art and continues to gather momentum. The first plein air event in The Valley was held in 2008 when six artists assembled for a day of painting during the Vermont Festival of the Arts.

Each morning at 7:30 after breakfast artists set off to capture the impressions of light on the environment. Colors change throughout the day despite painting the same landscape. Maps noting painting locations can be found at two Festival headquarters -- Bridge Street in Waitsfield and Art in the Village in Warren.

Children can join the Plein Air on Saturday at 11 a.m. and paint next to an artist at work. New this year is Rock Painting on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free paints, brushes and paper for these events are provided, courtesy of the Mad River Valley Rotary Club.

Plans for Saturday also include tie-dying for the family starting at 2 p.m. and paint demos from 3 to 5 p.m.

There will be a daily sidewalk art sale starting at 9 a.m. The sale showcases previous plein air paintings and culminates with a wet paint sale on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

This three-day event takes place rain or shine and is free.