Artists will be opening the doors to their craft once again for the third annual Stanislaus Artist Open Studio Tour next week.
The event, from the Stanislaus County Travel and Tourism Roundtable, is meant to help demystify and bring more people into the artistic process. This year, the event will feature 57 artists showing in 35 home and private studios.
The artistic mix ranges from watercolors and oil paintings to woodwork and pottery, fabrics and jewelry. The studios are spread across the county, in Modesto, Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon.
Roundtable Chairwoman Alice Richards said the goal of the tours always has been to get more people excited about art and highlight the area's diverse talent.
"We're doing this to support our visual artists," she said. "It's a learning process. People get to meet the artists and talk with them and see them demonstrate. It's another way to further people's education, particularly children because they don't always get this in the schools."
The tour will preview with a show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Gallo Center for the Arts. Each artist will feature a piece to preview his or her work. The event itself runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6.
With the purchase of a $10 tour book, the public is invited to visit any of the studios on a self-guided tour during the event. Children under the age of 18 are free with an accompanying paid adult.
While there are fewer artists this year last year, there were 75 Richards said she has been encouraged by the number of new artists who have joined the tour each time. An earlier deadline for submissions caused the lower artist participation, she said.
Last year, about 600 people attended, and the crowds have been growing each year. This year, as with those past, there will be five Purchase Award winners selected from the artists' pieces. An independent judge picks the winners and then the public is eligible to win the artwork through a drawing.
Richards said she has been encouraged by the feedback the volunteer group has received from the community and artists.
"It makes us realize there's so much talent in the community," she said.