Welcome new and returning artists!

This short guide helps you understand the requirements for participation in the Plein Air or the Quick Draw competitions.

Online registration is necessary to participate. Professional Artists must register before May 15 as participation is juried. Emerging Artists must register before July 1st. No walk-ons.

See the registration page for availability and to register. Registration availability will be announced via email newsletter and Facebook.

Requirements and Guidelines

The following lists detail the criteria you and your artwork must meet in order to participate in either competition.

Please read both lists carefully.

Participant Requirements

  1. You must be 18 years or older.
  2. See Artist Timeline for registration deadlines.
  3. See Plein Air Painting Competition Entry Information for competition details.
  4. You must register online and pay application fees in advance by mail.
    1. All application fees must be received by the City of Dexter on or before July 15th
  5. Submission Fees:
    1. Plein Air: $20 for one (1) painting; $30 for two (2) paintings; or $40 for three (3) paintings. Limit 3 submissions.
    2. Quick Draw: $20 for one (1) painting. Limit 1 submission.
    3. Registration Fee for all artists: $10
    4. After online registration is complete, send payment by check payable to CITY OF DEXTER:
      City of Dexter
      Attn.: Justin Breyer
      8140 Main Street, Dexter, MI 48130
  6. You must CHECK-IN at one of the three scheduled check-in times and have your papers or canvases stamped
    1. You can have as many canvas’ stamped as you want.
    2. You may only submit to the competition the number of entries for which you registered and pre-paid.
      1. Up to two (2) additional works (over and above the works submitted for the competitions) painted during the week of the festival, framed similarly to competition works, can be submitted for sale.
    3. See Artist Timeline for locations, times of check-in, and delivery of works.
  7. Watercolor “block pads” will not be stamped at check in. Single sheets of paper only.
  8. All work must be created solely by the artist and done completely from life.
  9. All work must be completed within Dexter Community School District and Lima Township east of Chelsea. Map link.
  10. No mechanical or photographic assistance is to be employed.
  11. All work is to be completed during Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival.
  12. Painting is permitted outdoors at night.
  13. Artists are encouraged to attend “Meet The Artists Wine Reception” on Friday evening. See Artist Timeline for details.

Requirements for Submitted Artwork

  1. All paintings must begin on a white or toned ground.
  2. All work is to be done in a frame-able medium wired for hanging. (NO saw-tooth hangers!).
    1. See video on the page describing how to wire a painting for hanging
  3. Artwork size must be no larger than 24” (including frame) on any side.
  4. Frames should not exceed 4” in width.
  5. Unframed gallery wrapped art must be at least 1” in depth and edges must be pre-painted with an acrylic paint.
  6. Watercolor “block pads” will not be stamped at check in. Single sheets of paper only.
  7. Work on paper must be framed and under glass/Plexiglas.
  8. Don’t forget to sign your artwork.
  9. Only artwork stamped and painted during the week can be sold. Festival staff must be able to check the back of the canvass or paper for the stamp prior to framing/hanging.
  10. All artwork submitted for competition must be for sale.
  11. Selling of artwork outside the festival is discouraged and contrary to the spirit of the festival.
  12. You will receive title cards to fill out with title, media, artists and price.
    1. Price your paintings commensurate with your normal pricing structure.
    2. Prices for paintings are not negotiable once they are entered into competition.
    3. Prices may be changed by the artist on the final day of the sale, but you must notify festival staff prior to changing a painting price.
  13. The Dexter Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee and Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival representatives reserve the right to disqualify any work deemed objectionable or that does not adhere to the rules and guidelines of the competition. All decisions of representatives of the Dexter Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee and Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival will be final.

Art Sales

Sales commission is 30% to the Dexter Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee, the event sponsor, and 70% to the artist, and is required for all paintings sold. Please take this into consideration when setting price. All work that is submitted must be for sale. No NFS (Not For Sale) artwork is allowed as part of the presentation exhibit. Paintings must be priced in accordance with the artist’s current pricing structure. All sales handled by the City of Dexter. Artists will receive payment within two weeks of the sale.

Competition Prize Awards

Participation in the competition requires adherence to the participant and submitted artwork requirements. Please read them carefully as they also help ensure a smooth and consistent experience for the exhibition and patrons. For details about the competition and prizes, see the Paint Dexter Festival Awards Page.

How to Wire Frame Video

Artists' Experience Video

Additional Festival Information for Artists

Re-pricing Artworks

Participating artists will be permitted to reprice their work on Saturday of the Festival. Artists must inform Festival staff prior to re-pricing their work.

Tent Displays

2′ (W) x 6′ (H) white grid panels are provided for the display of works. Artists are permitted to bring the following items to add to their display at their own risk: small business card clip holders and small battery-powered clip-on lights that will reasonably fit on the grid panels provided. Festival staff will not monitor or manage these additions.

Professional and Emerging Artist Categories

During registration, each artist will be asked to choose which category to participate in: Emerging or Professional. There are no criteria, no qualifications. We rely on each artist to self-qualify. The result is that you will exhibit and compete within one of these two groups. We believe this creates more opportunity and fairness in the competition and exhibit. It also allows more artists to win.

Participation is limited. Professional Artists are juried into the competition.

Registered Properties

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival staff work to compile a list of properties of area residents that are interested in potentially having their property be the subject of a Festival plein air painting. This list will be provided in the artist bags that are distributed at Check-in. This list will not be provided prior to the Festival due to: 1) to permit fairness among participating artists; 2) area residents that register their properties expect artists during the Festival, not prior to the Festival; 3) we would like to collect and provide as many properties as possible, so the list will be generated as late as possible to allow for the greatest number of properties (and hopefully the greatest number of sales). Festival staff cannot guarantee that area residents that register their property for the list will purchase a painting, but several people who have had their properties painted have purchased pieces.

Average Artwork Sale Price

While pieces at the Paint Dexter Festival have sold anywhere from $50 – $750, the average sales price for all pieces sold in 2019 was $267; 2018 was $267; and the average sales price in 2017 was $280.

Image Gallery Added to Website

The Paintdexter.org website now features pictures taken during previous years’ Festivals. Check out the new photo gallery.

Artist Etiquette

Oil Painter’s of America published an informative article “Etiquette for Artists at Plein Air Painting Festivals” that is helpful for artists who may be new to plein air painting events. Read it here.

Reception for Artists

Don’t miss this exclusive event for participating artists. Meet and greet your fellow plein air artists. It’s a great opportunity to get to know other artists and talk about your plein air experience.

The Dexter Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee is kind enough to host the artist opening reception every year. See Artist Events for details on time and location.