|Open Studios Tour 2007|
Art Preview: Open Studios Art Tour gives public 100 chances to meet local artists
Article Launched: 10/04/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT
Butte County's 18th annual Open Studios Art Tour begins Saturday with more artists than ever before opening their studios to the public.
"The tour started out modestly with about a dozen artists. This year we have over 100 artists participating," said Jana Lawton, an artist and board member of Chico Art Center who, along with her husband, Dave Lawton, has coordinated the tour for the past eight years. "We have 23 new artists, many of them from Oroville, participating in the tour so it's very exciting."
This three-weekend tour, though Oct. 20-21, is self-guided. Studios will be open from 10 a.m.-5p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and the final weekend is devoted exclusively to Oroville artists.
"We really wanted to give the artists in Oroville a fair shot," Lawton said about the decision to add an Oroville-only weekend to the event. "In the past, we've had some wonderful Oroville artists participating but when they had to compete with the 30 to 40 open studios in Chico it was frustrating. There are some really great artists in Oroville and this will give people a better opportunity to see their work."
Eleven Oroville artists, from painters to bronze sculptures to cartoonists, are joining in the tour this year, including Walton Walker.
"I've opened up my studio for the tour the last three or four years," said Walker, who paints acrylic abstracts and sculpts with metal and wood. "My work has a lot of color and it's very personal and some is political. I don't advertise
or show much. I do it because I enjoy it and the tour gives me the chance to share my enjoyment with other people."
To take the tour, art enthusiasts purchase a tour guide for $10. The guide provides a list of artists, their mediums, which ones are offering demonstrations and maps. Lawton says she expects 800 to 1,000 guides to be sold this year. Usually more than one person uses each guide, multiplying the number of people viewing local art by at least two.
"It's really an outreach activity," she said. "Most of the time you see art in a gallery or museum or coffee shop and you don't know anything about the artists, who they are and their motivation. This really allows the public the chance to get to know the artists and develop that connection with them and their work, making it more meaningful."
Many of the artists participating in the Open Studios Tour, such as Colleen Wampole and Pam Watson-Baker, have taken the tour themselves and enjoyed the experience.
"I went on the tour last year and it was a heady thing to see inside other artists' studios and to meet people from the community who just love art," said Wampole, who does portraiture in oils in Chico. "So I decided to open my studio this year."
Watson-Baker, who creates in fused glass and ceramics in her Paradise studio, say she always takes the tour and enjoys opening her studio to the community.
"I'll be working as people come through so they can see how I do things and ask me questions," Watson-Baker said. "It's very personal and I enjoy the connectedness."
The Open Studios Art Tour is not a juried event, allowing all artists who wish to participate to open their studios. This, Lawton said, gives everyone the chance to participate and the public the chance to view a variety of art that they may otherwise not be able to see.
"We think it's a real bargain to be able to spend three whole weekends touring the county, meeting interesting and unique people," she said. "It's also a fun way to shop for art for your home or garden, to introduce children to art and to really get to know the wealth of talent we have in the county."
Chico Art Center presents the 18th annual self-guided Open Studios Art Tour, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as well as Oct. 13-14 and Oct. 20-21 (the final weekend is devoted to Oroville studios). Tour guides, $10, are available at all Butte County chambers of commerce, in Chico at Art Etc., Avenue 9 Gallery, Chico Art Center, Sally Dimas Art Gallery and Vagabond Rose Gallery and Framing; in Oroville at Bonasera and the State Theater; and in Paradise at Fir Street Gallery and Gifts and Paradise Art Center. Call 895-8726 or visit www. chicoartcenter.com.