There’s the art. And then there’s the story behind it: how it was created, and the person and vision who brought it to life. Something we often don’t think about is the space in which the art we like is born.
The Tacoma Studio Tour, now in its 18th year, offers a special glimpse into the creative work spaces of artists around the city. On Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13, 2019, nearly 100 local artists – from schools to tiny galleries to print shops – will showcase their work and open the doors of their studios and collaborative spaces just for you. There’s something for everyone of all ages. This sensory treasure chest of an event is part of Tacoma Arts Month, and offers a self-guided, family-friendly outing as the Northwest days get rainier and our imaginations seek a spark.
The event has been growing in popularity from year to year. “This is exhilarating growth to see both new and returning artists share their work and space with us on the 2019 tour,” says Chevi Chung, Community Programs Specialist for the Office of Arts and Cultural Vitality. “We have 29 new artists participating on the Studio Tour who work with various media inclusive of book arts, painting, metal work, ceramics, sculpture, stained glass, music, performance art, pottery, risograph [a form of digital printing], sewing and photography to name some of their art forms.”
You can support local artists and learn more about the talent hidden in our city by visiting the spaces on the tour stop, and getting to know the makers. See the artists’ work up close, and learn all about how they do what they do. From elegant ceramic pots (Perez Pots) to airbrush auto body painting (Jason Tauscher) to arresting multi-media collages created from found objects (Lynne Farren Designs), you will be impressed by the variety of talent in our city and fill your creative well while you support local art. You can also support young artists at the Jason Lee Middle School Hilltop Artists’ Hot Shop, where middle schoolers learn to blow glass and create some stunning pieces.
To plan your day, go online to the Studio Tour website and download the brochure and map. Some of the artists offer hands-on activities, such as the opportunity to create Dio de los Muertos dolls with Lynne Ferron. Along the way, why not stop for lunch at one of Tacoma’s unique eateries? Most of the sites are in downtown and in the North End, and some are clustered within walking distance, but a car is definitely handy. The tour is free and open to the public. While you go, you can collect passport stamps, and enter to win a prize from one of the participating artists. Most of the artists will have some of their wares for sale, as well.
Beyond visual art, the Studio Tour also includes chances to enjoy the performing arts, such as a free performance workshop given by artist and spoken word poet and “art-ivist” Laila Tova and dance performances from the Tacoma City Ballet.
It takes a huge effort on the part of our local artists and the City of Tacoma to create the Studio Tour, and it’s perhaps one of the most unique offerings of Tacoma Arts Month. Chung is enthusiastic about the effort. She says, “I’m especially excited to see the growth in artists participating and collaborating together, the varying assortment of art forms, and there are 56 studios opening up on this year’s tour. There are live demonstrations, activities for all ages, and exposure to experiencing art happen in the moment.”
Many artists typically work in isolation or with just a few other artists in a typical day, so they are generally very excited to share their work with the public. You’ll find the artists warm, welcoming and genuinely open to talking about their processes with you in their natural creative habitats. We may think of art as formal or detached from everyday life, but what could be more intimate and alive than seeing working artists in action?
So, take a look at the artists’ line-up and plan your route. Grab the kids, a friend or a date. Maybe power up with some coffee from Valhalla or Corina, and hit the art trail for a memorable day. If you’ve never been, you will find yourself quickly enchanted. And if you’ve been before, you will find some new work to fall in love with, and quickly find this becoming an event you look forward to all year long.
Tacoma Studio Tour takes place Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at locations throughout Tacoma.
For more details and a tour map, visit the Tacoma Studio Tour.