In August of 1998, Kitty Wallis, Portland artist, talked eight other artists into collaborating about a different kind of arts event, an open studio tour. Art lovers and aspiring artists could get an intimate look at the actual space artists use to create their work. They could witness art in the making, learn about media, materials, and the business of creative endeavor. The tour would be educational as well as an opportunity for neighborhoods to foster a community that values the arts.
Sixteen years later, during the second and third weekends of October, almost 100 artists, located all over the Portland metropolitan area, are opening their studios to demonstrate how they work, talk about what inspires them, and show art in its various stages. They work in medias as diverse as oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, fiber, ceramic, jewelry, glass, book arts, and sculpture.
The artists participate in this tour for a variety of reasons. Some love to teach and demonstrate; certainly the chance to sell work is appealing. But one of the prevailing reasons artists enjoy the tour – one of the prevailing reasons people love to tour their studios – is the opportunity for community. They love sharing stories, answering questions and meeting artists and art lovers. Again and again, visitors share how they are being inspired to create themselves by this interaction.
As part of its 501(c)3 non-profit mission to create educational opportunities for the public, Portland Open Studios offers two outstanding programs. The Kimberly Gales Scholarship for Emerging Artists was established in 2005 to cover participation fees and provide a stipend for at least one 20-30 year old jury-selected artist, with the goal of eliminating financial barriers and increasing diversity among the artists on the tour. In 2009, they began offering internships to high school students These students help the artists in their studio while learning about both the making and business of art. Many of them look to these artists as mentors after the tour.
PDXOS still has no paid staff, but ten board members, four contractors, and over ninety volunteers invest time and energy to make the event possible. After ten years of hard work and sacrifice, the then-mayor of Portland, Sam Adams, issued a proclamation recognizing Portland Open Studio’s commitment to providing art education to all members of the community, adults and children alike, and its dedicated support of local working artists. The proclamation also designated the second and third weekends of October officially as Portland Open Studios Weekends.
The tour guide is in the form of a calendar featuring photos of the creations of all of the year’s participants, but they recently introduced a smart phone application and a less-expensive map-only ticket to make the event more accessible to the entire community.
What: Portland Open Studios. An annual self-directed tour of over 100 artists’ studios located throughout the Portland metro area.
Dates: Oct 11,12,18,19, 2014
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $20 for a Full-Color Tour Guide Calendar, $9.99 for the iPhone App or $5 for a Map-Only Ticket. Each includes a ticket for two adults, children under 18 free. Valid both weekends.
Arbor Lodge neighborhood artists that are participating in the Tour include:
Shyama Helin firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Foshee email@example.com
Christopher Wagner firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Fields email@example.com