Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington

News & Notes: It’s Open Studios time

From Portland to Ashland to Philomath to Washington, Yamhill and Clark counties, artists open their studios for free tours.

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Montage courtesy Portland Open Studios.

For some people, the official greeting of October is a pumpkin spice latte. For some it’s college football, or the baseball playoffs and the World Series. For some it’s all those autumn leaves. For some it’s time to get serious about election season, or gearing up for Halloween.

And for a lot of people, October means it’s Open Studios Season. In the past couple of decades or more the open studios movement has swept the nation, and for good reason. It allows art followers to visit local studios and peek behind the curtain to see works in progress, and it allows artists to meet interested potential buyers and make some sales straight out of their studios. For artists without gallery representation it offers a chance to gain exposure, make themselves known, and sell some art. For people who find the gallery scene intimidating, it’s an excellent way to break down barriers, get a sense of the process of artmaking, and discover some artists whose work appeals to them. And for most everyone, spending a day dropping in on a variety of studios is just a lot of fun.

Portland Open Studios, the biggest in the state, opens its 24th season this weekend as 118 artists open their doors to visitors: dates are Oct. 8-9 and Oct. 15-16. You can see work in just about any medium you can think of, from acrylics to wood, and decide where you’d like to visit just about any way you’d like — by artist, or medium, or particular neighborhood: maps of where the studios are by neighborhood are here.

Several other open-studio tours re coming up soon, too. A few to watch for:

Other communities in and around Oregon also hold open studios tours at other times of the year. Astoria’s is in late July, the tour in Damascus is in May, and the Columbia Gorge tour is in April.

Artist Larry Holt, in his welding studio, will be part of Clark County’s tour. Photo courtesy Clark County Open Studios tour.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."

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