Artist Info

Artists, register here!

A Festival of Art and Nature

Plein Air at the Arboretum 2023 is the State Arboretum of Virginia's inaugural plein air event. NOVA Plein Air Artists is proud and honored to partner with Blandy Experimental Farm/State Arboretum of Virginia in Boyce, VA on this fun, artistic venture.

This four-day event begins on Wednesday, September 27 when artists will gather to paint on over 700 acres of picturesque gardens, meadows, lakes and trails, wetland, woodlands, and the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the arboretum. It will run through Saturday, September 30th.

Artists can paint on all four days or pick and choose days and times. Once registration is confirmed and supports have been stamped, artists can paint from dawn to dusk through Friday evening. All artists should plan to paint on Saturday, September 30 when the public will be invited.

Completing the plein event will be a Quick Draw Competition to be judged by award winning plein air artist, Jill Banks, and a Wet Paint Sale and Exhibit, to be judged by Virginia's own, nationally-renowned artist Gavin Glakas.

September 27-30, 2023
Registration: $30, includes three stamped supports
Additional supports stamped for $5/each



Available daily from 8 a.m.-12 noon from Wednesday, September 27 through Saturday September 30, and Wednesday September 27 from 2 -4 p.m. Registration includes three stamped supports. Additional supports can be stamped during check-in hours for $5/per support. Feel free to explore the grounds to acquaint yourself with the surroundings before or after check-in. Grounds open at dawn and close at dusk daily. Artists can paint everyday through Saturday morning until art drop-off at 1 p.m. for the wet paint sale.

All registered artists are invited to a picnic lunch/meet and greet on Wednesday, September 27. More Information to follow. Additional artist events are in the works. Stay tuned!

The Big Hurrah!

The four-day painting event will culminate in a celebratory art festival, quick draw, and wet-paint sale on Saturday. Expect a crowd! There will be family-friendly activities, performing artists, live music, and food trucks on the grounds for a lively atmosphere. 

Quick Draw

An open event for all, this friendly competition will take place close to the Quarters building area. Participating artists will have two hours to capture their surroundings in true Plein Air style.  Awards will be divided into two categories: junior division age 16 and below, and adult division. Artists may sell their work "off the easel." Registration on site on Saturday. 

Wet Paint Sale  

An indoor facility will be provided for artists to frame artwork. Please bring your own supplies. Art may be dropped off at the Wet Paint Tent on Saturday until 1 p.m. Art must be framed properly or on cradled panels. Artists must provide their own easels for display. 

Ticketed Patron Preview, Meet the Artists, Judging, Awards Ceremony, Public Reception.

All will take place under the tent. ​All times to be confirmed.

Extended Exhibit

The artwork will continue to be on display indoors at The Quarters building after the wet paint sale. This extended art exhibit (in person and online) will remain available to the public to view and purchase during Blandy's widely popular Ginkgofest in the fall. Additional information on the extended exhibit will be forthcoming.

For more information about the NOVA Plein Air Artists, visit

About the Arboretum

The State Arboretum of Virginia is home to more than 6,000 woody trees and shrubs, including a unique 300-tree ginkgo grove and a 36-tree Cedar of Lebanon allee. The Arboretum is part of Blandy Experimental Farm, a research field station for the University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Sciences.

Blandy Experimental Farm is on Route 50 in Clarke County, about 10 miles east of Winchester and 20 miles west of Middleburg. Directions and a calendar of events are online at The grounds of Blandy Experimental Farm are open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. 

Suggested Accommodations and other "Good to Know" info

The Virginia State Arboretum is located in Boyce, Virginia at 400 Blandy Farm Lane, 22620.

Several different types of accommodations are driving distance to the Arboretum, from quaint or fancy Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnb and VRBO rentals, and hotels/motels. Below is a list of neighboring towns and miles within 25 minutes to Boyce to assist in choosing where to stay.

  • Boyce (0 miles)
  • Millwood (2 miles)
  • Berryville ( 6 miles)
  • Winchester (9 miles)
  • Paris (9 miles)
  • Stephens City (10 miles)
  • Upperville (12 miles )
  • Stephenson (14 miles)
  • 16-19 miles Middletown, Delaplane, Front Royal, Bluemont, Round Hill  

Places to Eat In Boyce - okay, there isn't a lot to choose from in town, but what’s there is nothing short of amazing. Several additional casual eateries can be found 8-10 minutes away in Berryville or Winchester.

Lone Oak Tavern, 12696 Lord Fairfax Highway, Boyce, VA 22622, 540-837-1210
Open Wednesday 7 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Thursday -Saturday 7 a.m. - 12 midnight. Dine-in and Takeout, no delivery. Comfort Food.

L'Auberge Provencale,13630 Lord Fairfax Highway, Boyce, VA 22620, 540-837-1375
Open Wednesday-Sunday 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Dine-in, French cuisine, vegetarian friendly, vegan options, GF options.

The Buttery at Locke Store, 2049 Millwood Road, Millwood, VA 22646, 540-837-1275
Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday 5PM - 8 PM by reservations.

Locke Store, 2049 Millwood Road, Millwood, VA 22646,540-837-1275
Coffee, soups, sandwiches. Takeout, no delivery. Open Tuesday-Friday 9a.m.-6 p.m., Sat/Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Closed on Mondays.

Fast Food: Dunkin’, McDonald’s 

Regions 117 at Lake Frederick, 180 Bald Eagle Drive, Lake Frederick, VA, 22630, 540-699-3234, A 15-minute drive from Blandy with regionally-inspired dishes, Region’s 117’s twist on American comfort food is made fresh and flavorful, Wed-Sat, 12 noon-9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

For restaurant options in Berryville (a 15 minute drive from Blandy), visit

Wineries So many to choose from, too many to mention individually! 

Virginia Winery Maps

Virginia Wine Guide

Blandy Art by Radford Wine.

Inaugural Judge

Gavin Glakas grew up in Bethesda, MD, and started drawing about the time he started walking. He studied at Washington University in St. Louis and the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

After graduation, Glakas spent a year and a half working on Capitol Hill as a Senate staffer. He had planned to go to law school, but after an eight-month illness culminating in the removal of a tumor from his lung at the age of 24, he decided to pursue his lifelong ambition of a career as an artist.

Glakas began showing his work in galleries almost immediately and spent five years studying with Danni Dawson and Robert Liberace. His paintings hang in the permanent collections of the United States Capitol, the Virginia State Capitol, the CIA, universities, museums and numerous other collections both public and private. Glakas is represented by Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA and Charleston, SC, and Palm Avenue Fine Art in Sarasota, FL.

He has won numerous honors for his artwork, including awards from the Portrait Society of America, the Art Renewal Center, the Plein Air Salon and the Butler Institute of American Art. His paintings have been featured on NBC News and in The Washington Post, as well as Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, Plein Air, International Artist, The American Scholar, Art Business News, The Strand and Elan magazines, and exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the country.

Glakas teaches painting and drawing at Georgetown University Medical School and the Yellow Barn Studio. He lives in McLean, VA, with his wife, Jasmine, and two barnstorming sons, Nico and Rory.