Throughout the area artists are busy preparing to throw open their studio doors for this year’s Prescott Area Artist Studio Tour, which this year features 70 juried artists and 48 private studios.
Another 25 artists are participating at four art centers: Mountain Artists Guild, Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts, ‘Tis Annex Art Education Building, and new this year, Yavapai College Visual Arts.
There’s something magical about being allowed inside an artist’s workspace, where inspiration takes tangible form. The opportunity to enter an artist’s studio is often rare. Artists frequently need a quiet space to allow their creativity free rein as they explore new techniques and perfect their skills. For visitors it’s a chance to see the evolution of ideas and work-in-progress, and to get a feel for how a particular artist translates ideas into art.
On the tour art-lovers can expect to see a wide range of media represented, including painting in oils, acrylics and watercolors, textiles, jewelry, pottery, woodworking, glass art, sculpture and more. While the range of media and styles is impressive, perhaps even more exciting is the opportunity to meet artists in their studio spaces and talk directly with the creators about their work.
Typically studio visitors can expect to be greeted by the artist and learn a bit about the way that artist works. They can then explore the space, look at the art and ask questions about process, technique, and inspiration.
Now in its 15th year, the Studio Tour has become one of the region’s most beloved fine-arts events for artists and art-lovers. “Year-on-year, I would say somewhere around 70-75% of the artists return,” says tour President Lynn Schmitt. She points to better outreach and technology as reasons for increasing participation among local artists. “We’re communicating a lot with the artists,” she says. “We’ve streamlined the application process, so it is smoother and easier for artists to join.”
Self-paced, the Studio Tour lets the visitor choose which studios they want to see, and move as quickly or slowly as they like. For those new to the tour the sheer number of studios and art centers can be a bit overwhelming. While it is a three-day event, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze in visits to every single studio and center. Fortunately Lynn Schmitt has some great tips for visitors.
“My best advice is to visit our website,” says Schmitt. “You can see all the artists who are going to be in the tour and decide which ones you want to see. Once you decide that, you can go to the Maps and Location section and get directions.” For more specific fans and collectors the site also lists artists by medium.
Another way to help newcomers decide which studios to put on their don’t-miss list is to attend the kickoff Gala event prior to the Studio Tour, which offers opportunities to meet many of the artists and preview some of their work before the tour officially begins.
This year’s Gala Preview will be held 5-8pm on Wednesday, September 28 at the Grand Lodge at Touchmark at The Ranch in Prescott. Touchmark is catering the event and providing complimentary hors d'oeuvres and non-alcoholic drinks, with a cash bar also available. Art shown in the Gala preview is for sale, and if you see a piece you love, you can purchase it on the spot.
“The majority of the tour artists will be (at the Gala) with a piece of their art,” said Schmitt. “So that's one way to see the artists and their work in one place. The art centers will also be there with some of their artists. You can take a brochure, look at the art, and then go through the brochure and checkmark the artists you want to see. So you can plan your tour (at the Gala).”
Raffle tickets for individual art pieces will be available at the Gala as well as at participating studios. Says Schmitt, “Most artists on the tour select one of their pieces to raffle. We're selling them pre-tour at the Gala and at studios that are participating.” Funds raised from the raffle are used to support next year’s Tour, and a portion of the monies raised is set aside for local children’s art programs.
To learn more about the artists and start planning your Studio Tour agenda, visit prescottstudiotour.com. Studios will be open 10am-4pm each day from Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 2. Admission is free.