Some 20 artists in Washington County will be displaying their works and promoting artists in the area when Open Studios of Washington County makes its biennial return to the region July 13-16.
The event has brought thousands of visitors to local studios while generating significant revenue for participating artists. It has also raised the visibility of the artists in the communities in which they live.
“Open Studios is a great opportunity for people to discover the extraordinary talent of our regional artists,” said Sue Sanderson, organizer of Open Studios of Washington County. “This year we have a record 20 artists. Many are nationally and internationally acclaimed. Those who aren’t are making their mark. And all support each other.”
She said the diversity of the artists is important to the success of the tour. Established tour artists attract an engaged audience and bring credibility to the event. First-time tour artists offer collectors the opportunity to discover new talent.
Greenwich artist Karen Koziol experienced the enthusiasm for new artists during the 2015 tour. “Doing the tour was absolutely exhilarating,” said Koziol. “People were really engaged and interested in what I was doing, why I was doing it and how I was doing it. I made some great connections.”
For returning artists, Open Studios is an opportunity to show both new work and old, as well as revisit with past tour goers.
“Open Studios is great in that it allows me to share such a full range of my work, including archival pieces that still resonate with me. It demonstrates my development as an artist,” said Leslie Ferst, a clay sculptor and potter based in Cambridge. “Also, I have people who come back from past tours and continue to collect my work. Being connected to the community and seeing that people really appreciate what I do really hits me. It’s important.”
Due to the events popularity, the 2017 tour has been extended to four days, Sanderson said. The additional days will allow participants to spend more time with a broader range of artists—and more time to experience different aspects of Washington County’s cultural richness.
The 2017 tour for the first time will offer artist workshops and demos, as seven Open Studios artists will provide guests with a deeper look into their art, techniques and inspiration. Workshops include:
Finding the Right Composition with Hannie Eisma Varosy; Making Oil Paint with Leslie Parke; Alla Prima Painting with Anne Sutherland; Ink on Yupo with Jeri Macdonald; Throwing Clay on the Wheel & Hand Building Ceramic Sculpture with Leslie Ferst; Encaustic Technique with Karen Koziol; and Creating a Hand-Painted Floorcloth with Mitch Liner.
Workshop details and registration is available online at studiotour.org/demos. Demonstrations are limited to 12 guests.
This year’s Open Studios will feature a range of mediums, from painting to photography, clay arts and sculpture. Participating artists include Gigi Begin, John Begin, Ian Creitz, Leslie Ferst, Ann Fitzgibbons, Barbara Harshman, Jacob Houston, Karen Koziol, Stephen Lack, Mitch Liner, Jeri Macdonald, Elena Mark, Leah McCloskey, Leslie Parke, Leslie Peck, Anne Sutherland, Gyula Varosy, Hannie Eisma Varosy, Regina Wickham and Don Wynn.
All exhibited work on the tour will be available for purchase at the studios. All proceeds go directly to the artists.
Each participating artist will open their studio or home from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during tour dates.
The showcase was established in 2005 by artists Serena Kovalosky and Brenda McMahon. Five successful tours beginning in 2007 have brought thousands of visitors to local studios and generated significant revenue for the artists.
For more information, visit the Open Studios website at www.studiotour.org.