En Plein Air

Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage
Select Summer Sundays

EN PLEIN AIR ARTISTS: The Coutts Centre and University of Lethbridge Art Gallery welcome Artists to another summer of En Plein Air art-making, an Art Show & Sale, and a juried En Plein Air Exhibition later in the year.

There is NO CHARGE to participate as an En Plein Air Artist, or to visit the Coutts Centre. Bring friends and family, or just your introverted self. The Centre is open to inspire all, as per Jim Coutts’ vision.

Visitors and Artists are welcome to bring their own lunches and dine in the garden or the pavilion. The ULethbridge Art Gallery will be on-site providing basic drawing supplies and tools. Bottled water will be available in the ChickenHouse, along with self-serve coffee and tea – at no charge.

 2024 Schedule

(All dates are Sundays) – open 10am – 4pm*

*some Artists arrive earlier, some stay later – but these are the hours that will be staffed, with open public washroom access

May 12 – Mother’s Day, with Live Music by The Carolyn Harley Trio

June 16 – Father’s Day, with Live Music by Charlie Ewing and Lonni Robley

July 21 – with the Coutts Centre Arts Festival: Shakespeare-in-the-Pavilion (Twelfth Night)*, with Live Music by Kenna Burima, and original video art by Artist Sandra Vida

August 18 – with the En Plein Air Art Show and Sale, with Live Classical Music by Violinist Laura Reid, and Guitarist Dale Ketcheson

*The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society presentation

All 4 En Plein Air dates feature an optional Sunday meal, catered by Soul Sugar Catering (Okotoks), and served out of the North Barn, next to the bandstand.

Brunches are: $22 for Adult; $20 for Seniors; $15 for 15 and under (5 & under are free).  To book Brunch tickets: https://couttscentre.ca/events/



If you are planning to attend as an En Plein Air Artist, Please Email Jon Oxley  (jondotoxleyatulethdotca)   | Administrative Manager or call 403.329.2569 – and let him know how many are attending with your ‘party’ so that Coutts Centre and Gallery Staff can plan for numbers and staffing needs. Even if you decide ‘last minute’, please let us know, whether you are arriving solo…or with a clan.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I come with a group?

  • Sure. But if they want to eat Brunch, make sure they have tickets, as most brunches will be ‘pre-sold’ by ticket. Soul Sugar catering has some capacity for on-demand meals, but don’t take a chance. Lunch ticket link is available below.

What buildings are open?

  • Most buildings are accessible:  Pavilion – for dining, shelter and live music; ChickenHouse – for art supplies, self-serve coffee and tea, bottled water, shelter, conversation; North Barn – where the Brunch action is; Greenhouse – it’s a work of art…you have to see it!; Camera Obscura; Art Shack; South Barn; Public Washrooms. The Main House is typically locked, unless a tour is scheduled.

Is there food for purchase on-site?

  • Brunch is available, through on-line reservation: https://couttscentre.ca/events/  Be sure to book a ticket and avoid disappointment. Nanton is 7 kms away, and has many good food options downtown and on the highways.

Is there wi-fi?

  • Yes, available through the University of Lethbridge’s open wi-fi network

What’s phone service like?

  • Depends on your phone service provider, but mostly good

What if it rains? Or if it’s too hot?

  • It’s beautiful when it rains – but there’s lots of indoor space to get out of the rare squalls. There’s also lots of cool shade!

What if it’s windy?

  • Well…it IS southern Alberta

Can I attend the Coutts Centre on other days?

  • Yes, but email the Coutts Centre  (couttsdotcentreatulethdotca)   or phone 403.915.6497 to make sure your visit doesn’t clash with a site booking or construction project. 

Can family join Artists for En Plein Air?

  • Of course. Lots of people bring books, laptops and cameras…and spend a lovely day at their own pace.

Can I bring my dog?

  • Yes, provided the dog is well controlled and toileted. There ARE older free-range cats living on site – dogs must be controlled to prevent them from chasing the cats.

Can I bring my own cat?

  • Sure…but why? And… no leaving it behind!

Can I bring a kite or a frisbee?

  • Please DO!

What about a Drone?

  • No drones, or other powered toys or implements, as the site is home to many rare birds and working bees

What kind of artists are welcome?

  • There’s no pre-conceived notion of this – Jim Coutts intended the site to inspire and promote all forms of the arts, and we welcome visual, photographic, and sculptural artists, playwrights, novelists, Blackfoot beaders and round-dancers, Shakespearean troupes, opera singers, folk artists, multi-media artists, bloggers, social media influencers, Tibetan sand painters and interpretive dancers. Yogic flying would be cool to see, but ‘garden-variety’ yoga is okay too (ha! Good one!)

Is there going to be an EN PLEIN AIR EXHIBITION this year?

  • In past years, ULethbridge hosted an En Plein Air exhibition in downtown Lethbridge, for 3 weeks in December. This year, for the first time, there will be a Juried exhibition of artworks created by participating EPA Artists, at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, opening in January, 2025, and running for several months. Details on this exhibition will be developed over the summer, and shared with Artists.


  • Email Jon Oxley  (jondotoxleyatulethdotca)   | Administrative Manager or call 403.329.2569 he will try to answer anything not covered here


Summer artmaking opportunities at the Coutts Centre, May – Sept 2023:

For those who still want to make art at the Coutts Centre, it is possible for solo Artists or small groups to go there, Here’s what you need to do:

  • Contact the Coutts Centre as long in advance as possible, to confirm your day and time range:
    • the Coutts Centre  (couttsdotcentreatulethdotca)   or phone 403.915.6497
  • Abide by any of the rules and conditions set by Coutts Centre Staff, who are committed to providing space rentals for special events, and honouring University of Lethbridge conditions for access and use of the property
  • Coutts Centre staff will:
    • ‘okay’, or: offer alternate dates/times
    • direct your parking and access
    • open public washrooms