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Take an Artist's Open Studio Tour

Updated on March 3, 2010
Explosion of Birds, Acrylic on Canvas, shown at the Open Studio Tour in Grand Junction, May 4, 2008
Explosion of Birds, Acrylic on Canvas, shown at the Open Studio Tour in Grand Junction, May 4, 2008

If you are looking for something different to do this weekend, check your local paper or the internet for a nearby Open Studios Tour.

Artists' organizations host these delightful events once or twice a year in many communities. It is a chance to see a variety of artists in their workplaces.

What You Might See

When I took the Arroyo Arts Collective Tour in the Northeast section of Los Angeles several years ago, I saw

  • magnificent, huge photographic portraits hung in the garage of an art professor
  • the press of a printer who was working on a limited hand-set edition of the Book of Revelations. Her unique studio, an ex-garage, was constructed from native arroyo stone.

More recently, I took the Art Space spring Open Studio Tour in Grand Junction, Colorado. While exploring fascinating hidden neighborhoods in my town, I discovered

  • Andre Degalvis, a Latvian photographer whose work in digital infrared is destined to be world-famous--soon
  • his wife Susan, who paints dynamic, rich, oils on canvas
  • Yvette Villanueva Campbell, whose sun-drenched pastels on toned paper are certain to be featured in Southwest Art
  • Cynthia Duff, whose graceful stylized cranes and subtle, indescribable works on curved birch are already in great demand nationwide,
  • Kathy Drogos and Linda Schooley, charismatic friends who offer a bit of everything
  • Rocky Ireland, a genuine Irish poet on loan to Grand Junction from rainy Seattle
  • Chuck Morris, an accomplished and successful painter in oils
  • David and Maggie Cook, a gifted couple who go out on regular plein air jaunts in the countryside around Grand Junction
  • Steve Kentz, a talented sculptor in stone who exhibits in Redstone
  • The Gallery and The Blue Pig Gallery, two recent additions to the Grand Valley art scene.

Just Look Around, or Make a Killing

Artists are usually willing to sell their works at these events, but there is no pressure to buy. You are welcome to look around, meet fellow collectors, and learn about how art is made.

Many studios offer inexpensive prints or small studies if you want a remembrance, but cannot afford a large piece.

Sometimes, you will discover an artist who is destined to make it big soon, and you can purchase works that will escalate rapidly in value.

If you are planning to travel to an area and would like to see artists' studios, check the internet for announcements. Some cities, like Flagstaff, Arizona, have well-established annual tours. Others are just starting.

Tips for Planning Your Day

Most tours include more studio spaces than you can possibly see. Select venues by attending the opening reception, viewing sample works, and meeting artists.

Many artists also have websites. Scanning the web before you set out on your adventure can insure that you will see works that match your taste.

If you only have a little time, choose venues where several artists are sharing a single space, or neighborhoods where several studios are close together.

Take Studio Tours Online

If you can't afford a trip right now, visit YouTube or Etsy to find fascinating online studio tours. Here's an example.

What do you think you might enjoy the most about a studio tour?

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    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Wonderful, informative Hub with great suggestions for how to manage limited time on an open tour. Philadelphia's Open Studio Tour launches September 26 this year, and to tell you the truth, I never knew about it until I read your Hub. Thank you!