Public Art

Tour to focus on the creative process

Yellow Springs is becoming known as a destination for artists and art appreciators alike. For the last seven years, the annual October Studio Tour has flooded the town with art buyers, boosting the local tourist economy and supporting its artists.

On Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., local artists will again open their studios to show and sell their artwork to the public. Maps of the self-guided tour can be downloaded from www.ysarts.org or picked up the day of the tour at The Winds Cafe and Young’s Jersey Dairy.

With 19 artists showcasing ceramics, painting, sculpture, jewelry, quilts, beads, gourds, wood clocks and more, this year’s tour features more artists than ever, and a new way visitors can see more art in fewer stops. And it continues to give local artists the chance to bring customers to them and art buyers the opportunity to learn how art is made.

“I had been thinking about creating a way for good artists in town who were going out of town to sell their art, to do it here,” said Lisa Goldberg, a ceramic artist who started the event in 2004. “What people enjoy the most is getting a chance to know artists on a deeper level than going to an art fair. They see the process and it makes them appreciate what they’re looking at — and they like buying it from us more because they feel like they are our friends.”

At the eight studios on this year’s tour, visitors can watch a clay-throwing demonstration, see a raku pottery firing, tour a wood-fired kiln and learn how digital paintings, jewelry and quilts are made. Most studios will also host two to three artists of their choosing, who will be on hand to discuss and sell their work. While most guest artists are local, landscape painter Jim DeVore from Columbus and jeweler Donna D’Aquino from New York City are among the out-of-town artists participating in this year’s event.

D’Aquino, who creates architecture-inspired jewelry from steel, silver and gold, has won numerous awards for her work and was featured in Vogue Italia magazine last year. DeVore’s watercolors, painted with a “romantic mind and a realistic eye,” feature typical Ohio landscapes, from the hills of Southeast Ohio to area farm fields, often with dramatic atmospheric effects like snow, rain and fog.

“People who go on this tour say they don’t have enough time to visit all of the places,” said quilter Pam Geisel, whose traditional and art quilts will be supplemented by her guest artists’ collage paintings and lampwork beads. “With having a smaller number of stops they won’t feel quite so pressured — and there will be different artwork to look at.”

At past tours, each studio has averaged 300 to 400 visitors over the weekend, with most coming from outside the Miami Valley, according to Goldberg, now coordinating her 10th tour. Visitors regularly come from Columbus, Indianapolis, Pennsylvania and Michigan and many stay overnight, patronizing the town’s shops, restaurants and lodging.

“They’re interested and educated about the arts,” said Goldberg of the studio tour’s clientele. “It’s really good not just for [the artists’] economy, but the village’s, bringing people to the village who would not come otherwise.”

In addition to more tourists and increased tax revenue from art sales, Goldberg said she hopes such events will also cause more artists to move to town. Another goal is to eventually make the tour year-round by producing a brochure listing local studios with regular visiting hours.

Whether studio tour artists join the tour to sell their wares or to merely expose their art to more people, the event remains a fun way for artists to share their work and their process.

“It’s an opportunity to show others what is taking place here,” said Bruce Grimes of his 1,800-square-foot pottery studio outside of Clifton. “It gives us a chance to talk about what we do.”

“I really like the whole atmosphere of getting to know people and selling stuff at the same time,” said Alice Young-Basora, a guest artist participating in her first studio tour. She fashions hair clips, necklaces, bracelets and earrings from recycled materials, using junk mail and used clothes to make her beads.

“Just knowing about the process gives you such an appreciation for every step.” Young-Basora said. “The more you know, the cooler it seems to be.”

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