The first Saugerties Artist Studio Tour was in 2002, with just 11 artists participating and very modest expectations, says tour coordinator Barbara Bravo. This year’s tour, the 16th annual, will feature 45 artists, making this the biggest tour yet. Studios will open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The event is free of charge and self-guided, with no registration necessary. One has only to pick up a map (or print one out online) and chart a course, covering as many or as few studios as desired. But with so many artists participating in the tour, how does one make the decision where to start?
There’s always the event website, of course, and it’s a good one, with plenty of images and videos to get a feel for what it’s all about, and a feature that allows searching by artist or media. But there’s also the opening-night reception on Friday, August 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Opus 40. Each of the tour artists will have one work on display, and most will be in attendance to mingle and talk about their work. Several hundred attendees are expected at the reception, which is free and open to all. Refreshments are included, and the regular admission fee to Opus 40 that evening is waived.
Free full-color maps showing studio locations are available at many village businesses, at the Saugerties Tourism Kiosk opposite the Thruway (Exit 20) and at the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce Visitors’ Center, just off Partition Street at the entrance to the municipal parking lot.
The artists on the tour represent a wide range of styles and techniques. Visitors to the studios will find drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography, along with collage work, mixed-media pieces, digital and video art. In the mix will be wearable art and jewelry, pottery and ceramics and fine furnituremaking.
This year’s roster of artists includes Isaac Abrams, Tara Bach, Anita Barbour, Kristy Bishop, Sharon Broit, Jean Campbell, Vinny Curry, Shelley Davis, Susan Dougherty, David Brown, Michael Ciccone, Josepha Gutelius, Mikhail Horowitz, Marsha Kaufman-Rubinstein, Kay Kenny, Barbara Tepper Levy, Yvette Lewis, Ulf Loven, Brian Lynch, Iain Machell, Marjorie Magid, Elin Menzies, Ann Morris, Grey Morris, Hugh Morris, Michael Nelson, Gus Pedersen, Carolyn Oberst, Bill Reinhart, Joan Reinmuth, Tad Richards, Istar Schwager, Robert Sherman, Michael Sullivan Smith, Viorica Stan, Raymond J. Steiner, Marck Webster, Joshua Stern, Ben Suga, Robert Troxel, Jeff Way, Lorrie and Michael Wardell, Carol Zaloom and Barbara Bravo.
Bravo’s work in clay has evolved over the years from traditional forms such as teapots and bowls to sculpted imagery on tiles. Her current focus is on creating abstracted landscapes in painted paper collage. And as coordinator of the Saugerties Artist Studio Tour since its inception, Bravo has seen a similar evolution in the tour over the years.
“It has grown yearly, and we’re seeing continued growth in artists’ interest in the tour,” she notes. “The new artists, in particular, have expressed their attraction to the artists’ community in Saugerties, and the tour has played a major role in developing that community. It has enabled artists to showcase their work at their private studios, where art ‘happens,’ and to develop a following.”
Visitors get to see new work and works-in-progress, as well as completed work, at each studio. “The best part might be the conversations that organically arise when visitor and artist meet,” Bravo adds.
The tour is made possible by the sponsorship of local businesses and organizations that include the Kiwanis Club of Saugerties, the Town of Saugerties, WKZE 98 radio and several grants, including a project grant from the Decentralization program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts and the Ulster County Cultural Services and Promotion Fund, both administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.
Saugerties Artist Studio Tour, reception, Friday, August 10, 5-7 p.m., free, Gallery at Opus 40, 50 Fite Road, Saugerties; tour, Saturday/Sunday, August 11/12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free, throughout Town of Saugerties; http://saugertiesarttour.org.