Carolee S. Clark
Newsletter October 2014

Organizing a Studio Tour
"Mill Pond" painting by Carolee Clark
© Carolee Clark, "Mill Pond"
30" x 30", acrylic

I’d like to take credit for coming up with the idea of a Studio Tour but that wouldn’t be truthful.  I actually went on a Yamhill Studio Tour about 14 years ago and had a blast!  There were all sorts of wonderful artists who had opened up their work spaces and gorgeous country to meander through between sites.   I wanted to be on this studio tour!

Since I don’t live in the Yamhill area, I asked two of my artist friends if they would be interested in doing this.  We decided that it would have to be localized to Philomath which is a small town of about 4,500.  If we included nearby Corvallis we would be on the furthest reaches and feared that no one would drive the extra few miles to get to us. 

We approached Wild Rose Gallery in Philomath to see if they would like to be on the tour and to ask about their take on local artists.  The owners Kathy Byram and Suzanne Cutsforth were terrific to work with and receptive to the idea.   We came up with nine artists and two local galleries. 

Where do we begin?  No one had done anything like this but we pooled our talents and it came together.  We split up the responsibilities of getting a postcard designed and published, developing a map, posters and road signs.  Someone organized a newspaper article and advertising, a website and designed a survey for visitors to fill out about their experience on the tour.

The artists busied themselves to get their studios “visitor ready” putting away things that could be tripped over, toxic art supplies and marking private areas.  They also doubled their efforts at getting inventory completed and labelled.

One of the best things we did for ourselves was the “Pre Tour.”  We went on the tour a few days beforehand to see what all of the studios were like and the work that was to be presented.  It was a so much fun.  This was important knowledge as visitors asked questions about other studios (where, how, what, who) and this was fresh in our minds.  We were excited about the other studios and that was contagious.

Twelve years later, the number of artists has ballooned to 36 (we all have guest artists now) and 15 studio sites.  Our website has improved, we did away with the postcard this year moving to a trifold pamphlet that has the map, a list of the artists and a short explanation.   We have more highway signs and it now runs two weekends instead of just one.  It is still artist run, and the work is still high quality.  It is pretty amazing for a small town of 4,500.  I’m very proud of the group.

For the artist, there are good and bad things about the tour.  It is important to get ones work in front of people and helpful to meet those that are interested, hear their comments and answer questions.  People love coming into different studios and see where the art happens.
Several hundred people walk through your work space.  This can be a little disconcerting and tiring, no matter how much the artist loves to talk about their work.  It is a lot of work with meetings and deadlines to organize the event.

I don’t do the tour every year, but I’m so glad that this event has taken on a life of its own. 

Oh … and if you go on the tour, wear shoes that slip on and off … some studio hosts ask that shoes be removed!

Philomath Open Studio Art Tour & Sale
Saturday & Sunday October 25 & 26 and November 1 & 2, 2014  (noon to 5:00 pm)
I have two wonderful guest artists with me this year.  Nena Bement, glass artist and Jean Lawrence who paints on silk.

Ask me to mail you a map or go to the website and download one.

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