The Sisters Arts Association started to plan its fourth annual Artist Studio Tour way back in January. Artists began the year filled with creativity and passion. Then came the coronavirus and the pandemic, with closures of shops and galleries. Monthly Fourth Friday Artwalks through the Galleries of Sisters came to a halt. Still, artists continued, with creativity and passion, to do what their gifts and talents demanded — that is, create art.
The Arts Association decided, early on, to move the Artist Studio Tour from the last weekend in June to the last weekend in September, with high hopes that artists would eagerly participate, and that art lovers would safely be able to visit individual studios.
The Studio Tour is still happening, Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27, albeit using appropriate safety measures. Between 10am and 4pm both days, studios will be open to visitors, who will be able to arrive by car, bike or on foot, depending on studio location. Masks are required, artists may limit the number of indoor visitors at any time based on studio size, and everyone must use hand sanitizing and six-foot social distancing.
The number of artists participating is 36, and they will demonstrate and show their art in 26 studio locations in and around Sisters Country. That’s correct — several artists will share studio space to make it easier on visitors to get around to speaking with more of them.
Mel Archer, The Association’s creative encourager and events co-chair, notes that about half of the artists participating in Studio Tour 2020 have done so in previous years; the other half are completely new to the event.
This year’s new tour artists include Art Blumenkron (woodworking and furniture making), Scott Cordner (fine art photography), David Hough and Marianne Fellner (ceramics and clay), Jean Wells Keenan and June Jaeger (quilting), Kaia Sieffert (jewelry) and Kelly Salber (book arts).
Also new this year are Kim Chavez, Bill Hunt, Anne Hunter and Linda Peck (sculpture), Len Babb, Jim Horsley, Scott McAllister, Janice Druian and Terry Solini (oil painting) and pencil artist Stephen Gasior.
Crowd favorites returning on this year’s tour include Mel Archer and Susie Zeitner (glass art), Danae Miller, J. Chester Armstrong and Gary Cooley (sculpture), Mitch and Michelle Deaderick and Mary Moore (pottery and clay sculpture), Kay Baker, Clarke Berryman, Chris Nelson, Sandy Melchiori (acrylic and oil painting), JoAnn Burgess (pastel), Winnie Givot and Terri Dill-Simpson (watercolor), Steve Mathews (colored pencil and ink), Sandy Dutko (mixed media), Paul Bennett (painting and printmaking) and Jennifer Hartwig (scratchboard).
Both artists and visitors will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing. Each artist’s station will have hand sanitizer, also required. Visitors will generally arrive either alone or in small family groups, spend a short amount of time visiting with the artist, and have the opportunity to purchase art before they leave. The nature of the Studio Tour is such that the numbers of people visiting studios are dispersed over a two-day period, never exceeding the current recommendations for gatherings.
Be on the lookout for printed Studio Tour Guides, in local galleries and elsewhere, by the first weekend in September. These guides will list and describe each of the artists and their studio location. Roadside signs will be posted on the days of the tour, but visitors are encouraged to use their mapping devices in conjunction with the Studio Tour Guide for directions to each studio.
A PDF of the Tour Guide is available at sistersartsassociation.org/sistersstudiotour. Further details about the tour and descriptions of the artists are posted on the Sisters Arts Association website.