How to Visit An Art Studio

Last month our town and the neighboring one held an open art studio tour. The stops included a watercolor artist, a woodworker, a mixed-media jewelry artist, a potter, and many others. Although we didn't make it to every stop on the tour, we were amazed at how much talent exists in our little burg. We were especially intrigued by the home studio of the woodworker; he had developed many ingenious ways to store and label his supplies. I hope hubby was paying attention!

welcome table at art studio
Welcome! The table is set to greet visitors at
Jenn's open studio event.

We visited these studios because we were curious, and it was fun. But we also did it to expand our art network and see how other people sell art. We gathered business cards along the way for future gift-buying opportunities, asked the artists lots of questions, and took notes on how they packaged, sold, displayed, and priced their items, in case we host an event like this ourselves.

I was glad I had reviewed Jenn Mason's advice on how to visit an open studio event before going. Jenn is a veteran of hosting and visiting open studios, having chaired her town's event for many years.

Here are Jenn's tips, taken from the article she wrote for the Fall 2009 issue of Studios magazine, "Unlocking the Secrets of Open Studios."

1. Get a brochure, pamphlet, map, or other printed material from the open studios you want to visit.

2. Check their website to see if they have a preview party. Attend the preview and note the artists you're interested in on the map.

3. If there's no preview or you don't have time to go, check the event's website to see if they have links to the artists' individual websites. Visit the websites and note the artists you like on the map.

4. If you think you might buy something, bring a checkbook or cash.

fred free art studio
Brookline, Mass., artist Fred Free makes a
variety of artwork available, should visitors
want to purchase.

5. If a large piece of art isn't in your budget, consider buying a smaller piece, a postcard, or a print. But be sure to also sign the guestbook so the artist can keep you apprised of her gallery shows and future open studios.

6. Wear comfortable shoes and plan for the weather. Rainy days are great for open studios, as the crowds are low and the artists will have more time to chat.

7. Do not hesitate to ask questions! Most artists who join an open studio event love to talk about their work.

8. If you do buy, buy what you love-don't worry about investment. If you buy what makes your heart sing, it will always be a valuable possession.

9. Let the artist know if you like their work, even if you are unable to purchase anything.

10. While the experience is still fresh in your mind, jot down notes of what you liked and didn't like about each artist's set-up so you can apply what you learned to your own open studio event.

When it comes to opening your own home art studio to the public,  Jenn's article has plenty more tips. It covers everything from how to make a home studio safe for visitors to how to price your art. Plus you'll be able to tour studios from the comfort of your own home, just by visiting back issues of Studios.

P.S. Do you have an open studio tour you especially enjoy going to or are you hosting one this spring? Tell everyone about it below, and be sure to leave a link to the studio tour website.


Art Business, Blog


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