After a year’s planning OUR weekend is here! Yep, planning for the Tour starts the month after the present Tour is over. You can bet we are ready!
So, just how do you “do” an Art Studio Tour? Here are some things to keep in mind
1. Start early in the day to give yourself plenty of time. Artists are usually able to give you a little more attention than they can at an art fair, and there is much to see besides the finished art, so you may spend a little more time at a studio than you planned. Just keep in mind the hours of the Tour and please don’t arrive early, just as you wouldn’t expect the mall to open it’s doors early, you shouldn’t ask the artists to either. Also, don’t expect artists to stay open too late. While most won’t mind spending a few extra minutes with visitors, remember that they have had a long day and may need a break.
2. If you don’t already have one, grab a map/brochure and plan the rest of your trip. Some studios may even have extra information on the other artists to help you plan your route.
3. While children are welcome and encouraged – this is a great learning experience – please keep a close eye on them. Some studios may have dangerous or fragile items or areas that the artist would like left alone. Strollers may not work in all situations.
4. Please remember that some studios are in the artist’s home or on their home property and ask before wandering into areas that are not part of the studio. Many artists will invite you to tour their gardens, but if there are animals around ask before interacting with them. That nice little pony might not be quite so nice up close and personal, and no ones wants to go home with a bite.
5. Not all studios will have bathrooms available to the public. Please be understanding if the artist directs you to the closest convenience store or gas station rather than letting you into their private areas. Often, the artist cannot leave the studio to take you into their home, and there may be considerations that make it difficult or impossible for you to go into those areas on your own.
6. Don’t expect all artists to accept credit cards. Many are open to the public only for this Tour, and the expense of accept credit for just one weekend can be too great. Checks and cash are generally accepted, or many artists will be happy to make other arrangements. Expect to pay sales tax, artists are businesses and have to remit sales tax to the state.
7. Make sure you take a business card for future reference. You might think about that painting or sculpture for a week before making a decision.
8. Most studios will have refreshments, but don’t plan on them providing enough for a lunch/dinner. Many will be more than happy to direct you to their favorite local establishments, and may even have menus to look over.
9. Sign the visitor book or sheet. Most artists will update you on what they are doing throughout the year.
10. Wear layers and comfortable shoes. Studios may be considerably warmer or cooler than the outdoors, so plan ahead. Some studios may have stairs or paths to get into them, the heels might not be such a good idea.
11. Bring some friends and have fun! If you are with people for whom you buy gifts, keep an eye on what they like, pick up a business card, and call the artist after the Tour to make a purchase you know is sure to please. You could also quietly ask the artist to put a particular item aside for you to purchase without your friend along – some artists will be willing to do this if you either give a deposit, or will return within a reasonable time frame. Don’t expect them to put an item on hold indefinitely.
12. If you have any questions, just ask the artist or their helpers. Have a great time and go home with some wonderful art. Tell your friends about the Tour and encourage them to visit!