How to Visit An Art Studio

9 Mar 2012

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.


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Comments

vintage k wrote
on 9 Mar 2012 6:49 AM

The small town where I live hosts an annual Art Hop Gallery Show & Sale in November. I plan to attend for the first time this year, so the tips in this article are very timely! I love seeing how other people arrange their work spaces and the tools and materials that they use. To me the process of creating is even more compelling that finished product, so I can't wait to get a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of what local artists are doing!

www.downtownhenderson.org/3rd-annual-art-hop-gallery-show-sale

on 9 Mar 2012 7:10 AM

I'm participating in Vermont's 20th annual Open Studio Weekend on May 26-27 (Memorial Day weekend). Hours are 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Come for a tour of my studio, demonstrations, and savings up to 50% off seconds and discontinued styles. There will also be selection of bookbinding supplies available for purchase.

I have an extensive library of books about bookbinding - feel free to camp out for a while and read to your heart's content!

For more information: blueroofdesigns.com/upcoming

fleurdefibre wrote
on 9 Mar 2012 11:15 AM

The area where I live is geographically quite spread out and as such I participate to at least 2 Fall events which combine a mix of studios and community/public spaces. Also when the dates work out, I do have my studio open to the public as part of a rural type tour, which combines the local farming community offering locally made products on their farm with artists/crafts studios also sharing the rural lifestyle.

In one of the tour, I am actually one of many guest artists who show along with the owner of the studio. Their web site: www.scarf.ca. The tour is on a week-end and takes place in Sudbury, Canada.

The other tour is a mix of studios and community halls, and takes place in September for one day only, on a Saturday. This last one happens to be closer to where I live, but not close enough for me to be able to have my studio included. The web site : www.sylvancircle.ca. Again, this tour is in Northern Ontario, North Shore of Lake Huron, on September 15.

khansen6444 wrote
on 9 Mar 2012 12:20 PM

The Topanga Canyon Studio Tour in California is an eclectic mix of offerings from oils to found object sculpture. Viewing the varied studios is inspiring to say the least with incredible canyon views and intimate settings among the oaks. We met a wonderful glass artist last year who has become a friend and will spend the day again taking in the joys... June 6-9, maps available.

Ann B. wrote
on 9 Mar 2012 1:10 PM

We live in San Luis Obispo County, where every October there is a county-wide Open Studios Art Tour. My husband and I, both artists, always participate in the tour and we always love to meet new visitors! For more information, please visit ARTS Obispo's Open Studios page at www.artsobispo.org/openstudios.php and to view downloads of last year's catalog. Later on this year, the 2012 Open Studios Art Tour catalog will be available to download, in print (locally), and (for the first time) as a free app on your smart phone late summer, early fall.

zaz3 wrote
on 10 Mar 2012 1:47 AM

Hej

we have an open studio event here in West Sweden over the Easter holiday - here is the link in English.  Any visitors to Sweden are extremely welcome!  Beautiful islands to visit too :0)

www.konstvandringen.se/index_engelska.html

Sara

on 30 Apr 2013 6:14 PM

May is right around the corner. On my personal calendar that means ramping up for my local Open Studios