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:
- Yamhill County Art Harvest Studio Tour. This year’s tour in Willamette Valley wine company opened in late September and continues Oct. 7-9. For a good sense of the flavor of a typical studio tour, see David Bates’s ArtsWatch story about the Yamhill tour.
- Washington County Open Studios. The tour of 45 locations in the suburban and rural county west of Portland will be Oct. 15-16.
- Ashland Open Studio Tour. More than 20 Southern Oregon artists will open their studios for this ninth annual tour, Oct. 15-16.
- Philomath Open Studios. Twenty-one artists in and around the Benton County town west of Corvallis will show their work at 10 locations, Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30.
- Clark County Open Studios Tour. Across the Columbia River in Washington state, 50 artists in Vancouver and smaller cities and rural areas in Clark County will open their doors to visitors Nov. 5-6.
- Washougal Studio Artists Holiday Art Market. Getting a jump on the holidays, 15 artists will show their work at five studios in the Clark County, Washington town; Nov. 12-13.
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.