Be their guest and enjoy their work, as artists across the county open their doors to the public this weekend.
The seventh annual Stanislaus Artist Open Studio Tour invites the community to see artists where they create Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23. This year’s tour will feature 58 artists at 36 studio locations across Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, Ripon and Escalon.
As in years past, the self-guided tour allows art lovers and patrons to visit artists, ask questions and watch demonstrations. Last year, Open Studio Tour committee member Jim Christiansen, who also shows as part of the event, estimates 800 people attended. Participants purchase a map and can pick and choose their own path through the studios over the two-day event.
Artists who work in various media – from paintings to sculpture, ceramics to fabrics, photography to jewelry – are represented on the eclectic tour. This year, fewer stops have been added to the tour, with more artists doubling up at sites, to make reaching them all easier. Art will be available for purchase at each site.
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Many of the artists return to the tour year after year, but this year close to a third of the artists are new to the event. For tour veterans like Modesto fabric artist Mary Jane Kiskinen, the event offers a rare opportunity to interact directly with the public.
“I love people coming to my studio and asking questions. I just think it’s neat having people in studio to see how we work and ... that there’s a lot of talent in Modesto,” she said.
Kiskinen will have two other artists with her in her studio as well. “Somehow it makes a bigger impression when you actually get to meet who has done the art and talk to them,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll pick up the enthusiasm from the artists.”
Christiansen said at typical gallery shows each artist may have one to a handful of pieces included. But at the open studio tour, they can show off their full portfolios, including works in other media and styles they wouldn’t normally enter into exhibits. It also gives the public a chance to see artists in a more relaxed – often literally at home – environment.
“At a galler,y everything always seems so formal. A lot of people not used to going to galleries think it’s like a museum and they need to dress up,” Christiansen said. “An open studio is more informal. You get to see what we work with, where we work. You are dealing with individual artists. It’s one-on-one.”
This year’s tour is chaired by veteran area artist Linda Knoll, and the purchase prize awards were judged by Turlock artist Don Hall. The seven pieces of artwork selected for the award will then be raffled off to participants who enter in the prize drawing over the weekend.