Experience Nature’s Love Letter to Spring
With its floral clusters, sweet fragrance, and heart-shaped leaves, the lilac is nature’s love letter to spring. The Burn Family Lilac Collection takes the spotlight as we celebrate this American garden favorite in all of its glorious forms, colors, and aromas with plein-air painting, music, guided tours, and talks.
Fourth Annual Plein-Air Invitational
Saturday, May 4
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Every year, to help mark the Garden’s rites of spring, distinguished plein-air artists from throughout the Northeast gather across the grounds in a public display of painterly talent and nature appreciation.
Led by plein-air master James Gurney, participating artists work in various media while engaging with Garden visitors. Also joining will be artists affiliated with the NYC chapter of Urban Sketchers, an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering a global community of artists who practice on-location drawing.
Events & Activities
Join us for a weekend celebration of this bounty of flowers, featuring live music and gardening tours.
Plein-Air Drop-In and Draw
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Everyone is an artist! Draw inspiration from the Garden as a plein-air artist would. Drop in, grab a stool and materials and create an image of the Garden to take home. Instructors Mark Leibowitz (Saturday) and Naomi Campbell (Sunday) offer guided tips every half hour.
Lilac Garden Tours with Q&A
11 a.m., 12, 1, 2, & 3 p.m.
Meet at the entrance to the Lilac Collection
Deanna Curtis, NYBG’s Curator of Woody Plants will be on hand to share her expertise on this historic collection.
Enter to Win a Lilac Bush
At the entrance of the Lilac Collection
Enter to win a lilac bush to take home. Learn how to care for it from one of our experts on site. Winner must be present at time of drawing to win.
Live Music among the Lilacs
1, 2, & 3 p.m.
String Quartet by so&so
so&so (symphony orchestra and select others) is a curating collective whose symphony-centric performances feature young professional, top-caliber musicians from all over the world. For its debut season, NY-based so&so has partnered with the Brooklyn Landmark, Brooklyn Army Terminal, and Hartford Ballet to present a variety of projects including symphony performances, opera and original ballet.
Related Adult Education Classes
Learn to sketch in the field or how to create your own plein-air drawing with Adult Education Classes.
About the Burn Family Lilac Collection
Lilac lovers have flocked to The New York Botanical Garden to see and smell these charming flowers since 1896. The 2016 expansion of this historic Collection showcases antique specimens as well as new disease-resistant lilacs, tall tree lilacs and dwarf lilacs, and flowers that smell sweet and others that are spicy.
Spring Season sponsored by