Debut of new Open Studios tour
- Published: October 20, 2016
The third weekend in October has become widely known among area artists and art lovers as a time to celebrate and support art-making in Yellow Springs. For 15 years, locally based artist Lisa Goldberg organized an annual YS Artist Studio Tour and Sale, which brought creators and connoisseurs to town to connect with our artistic community. When Goldberg announced that the 2015 studio tour would be her last, the event’s end left a void -— and an opening -— in the village.
Four local artists began meeting to address what might fill that space in the village’s life. After a year of planning, Yellow Springs Open Studios will debut this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15–16, with 24 local art studios featuring the work of 34 area-based artists.
Sara Gray, one of the four artists who took on the challenge of answering “what next,” said that this weekend’s Open Studios is a different entity from the former tour. “It’s not an extension of Lisa’s show,” Gray said. The goal of the organizers, who in addition to Gray are Dianne Collinson, Nancy Mellon and Kathy Verner Moulton, was to develop and mark the beginning of something new and distinct.
Their early working question was: “How do individual artists get connected with the community; how do they get their work seen?” And a follow-up question was: “How do we spread the word outside our village about the vibrant art that is going on everywhere in Yellow Springs?”
Gray said that organizers’ underlying interest was and is “to get excited about art in Yellow Springs.”
Toward that end, they felt that making the event open to all artists was important, as was making it open to artists of any medium. The only requirement for inclusion was that participating artists be current members of the Yellow Springs Arts Council.
For this first year of what they hope will be an annual outing that continues to grow, a dozen media categories are represented. They include painting, jewelry, glass, ceramics, sculpture and fiber.
“It’s basically an open house,” Gray said. “The studios are big and small, ranging from a room in an artist’s home, to a rented industrial or business space, to a stand-alone enterprise.
Gray, a glass artist who in recent years has focused on the fused-glass process, maintains a studio in her garage, where in addition to her materials and tools, she has a kiln for glass. She, like a number of participating artists, not only will be welcoming visitors into her work space, but also will be giving demonstrations of the process that goes into creating her art pieces.
The event is meant to provide “a relaxed experience for visitors and hopefully for artists, too,” Gray said. The open studios give visitors a chance to see new art, meet and talk to artists, learn more about how artists create their work, buy work directly from an artist and learn the story behind their purchase.
Painter Libby Rudolf is looking forward to opening her home to tour visitors. While she has a dedicated studio space, she works on her bright and colorful watercolors, acrylics and oils throughout her house on Grinnell Road. While she has painted for many years, she has been able to put more time into her work since the last of her three children left for college. A member of Village Artisans as well as the Arts Council, she currently has work on display at the Village Artisans gallery as well as in a one-person show at Seasons Bistro in Springfield. “One thing you won’t find in my work is pain,” she said. “I try to find beauty. I try to share that thing that catches my heart.”
In addition to sharing her work with visitors, Rudolf, like many of the participating artists, will have refreshments to offer guests.
Gray said that the two-day event represents a major collaboration — between the organizers, the artists, the Arts Council and the village. The Chamber of Commerce has offered its support, including publicity. And Bing Design stepped forward to help with the development of a website.
The website — ysopenstudios.ysartscouncil.org — “is awesome,” Gray said. She said the event, and particularly the development of the website, has taken on a scope that she and the other three original organizers never envisioned when they started talking. The website offers a variety of features, including a color-coded, interactive map of all the participating studios and a listing of artists with bios, contact information and links to their individual websites. Gray noted that information on each site of the tour includes the ability to get directions to any other studio site.
The website’s artist listing will also remain as a directory after the event, so that anyone can continue to have access to artists’ information and contact details. With each year that the event takes place, the directory will grow, Gray said.
The lasting message: “Come to Yellow Springs to see how talented our artists are,” Gray said.
The Yellow Springs Open Studios tour is set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16. Maps are available online at the website listed above, as well as at the YS Arts Council Gallery, the Chamber office at the Train Station and various locations throughout the village. Admission is free.