If you go
What: Fall Open Studios Tour 2017
When: Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 7-8, 14-15
Where: Various artist studios throughout the Boulder area. Preview reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct 6 at the Canyon Gallery at the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder.
- Get a sneak peek of the artists’ styles and learn more about them at their work and background at the Boulder Public Library exhibit, running during regular gallery hours through Oct. 23. The Canyon Gallery is on the side of the library, near Canyon and Ninth streets.
- Make a list of your favorite artists.
- Then view the map of the studios online and plot out your personalized tour based on your interests.
- Or download the free Open Studios app. You can select the artists you want to visit and the app will create a custom map and tour just for you. The app has filters, such as handicap-accessible and family-friendly.
- Also pick up a free Open Studios catalog with additional info on the artists and an oversized, printed map that you can keep.
More than 100 of Boulder’s best local artists want you to come over and hang out in their studio. They’re opening their doors, planning demonstrations and activities and selling their creations right on the spot.
It’s time for Boulder’s annual Open Studios Tour.
This huge, event runs the first two weekends of October every year. Unlike other common First Friday-style art walks, Open Studios is juried and highly competitive; only the top artists that rise to the top can participate. It’s also only once a year. And it’s not limited to a certain region. Open Studios stretches across Boulder and slightly beyond, into nearby regions like Gunbarrel and Eldorado Springs.
Participating artists typically put a lot of thought and planning into their Open Studios presentations. They often create on the spot and take time to educate visitors about their process and inspiration.
It’s completely free, family-friendly and open to the public.
This year, the 22nd-annual Open Studios is adding a few new features to make it even more accessible to more people — and more fun. You can download a free app that you can use to customize your experience. Select the artists who you want to visit and the app will design a map and tour just for you.
Pair this with Open Studios’ newly updated website, with a printable map and list of artists, as well as a gallery of the artists’ work, their artist statement, links to their website and all kinds of other information. Visit the Boulder Public Library exhibit to see examples of the artwork up close. And for even more info, pick up a printed catalog, with an oversized map of the tour that spreads out over six pages. The map is much bigger than previous years, so it’s easier to use, says Cindy Sepucha, executive director.
In addition, on both Sundays, Open Studios will offer a free, guided bike tour between several of the studios. Just register online (space is limited) and meet at the Rayback Collective food truck court, 2775 Valmont Road, at 11:30 a.m.
This year features more new artists than in the past, she says, as well as more conceptual art than usual. Another big art trend is in mixed media, which continues to grow, and encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting. This old form of painting has recently seen a huge resurgence, Sepucha says.
This year, make sure you look for the artist who submitted kinetic solar system models crafted out of gemstones and metal, too.
The artists are a mixture of new and returning participants across all kinds of media. Most apply and are selected via a jury, but the Open Studios board also grants a limited number of invitations to special artists, Sepucha says.
“A lot of those are people who have participated for many years or someone new and really exciting we want to share with the general public,” she says. “We look for mastery of their medium and an ability to talk about their process.”
She says the jury also looks for a diversity of media and location, to represent all parts of town and types of art.
One notable artist is Brian Grossman, a sculptor with muscular sclerosis who has created unique tools and ways to get around to continue to make art, Sepucha says. You can normally only visit his gallery by appointment.
Another artist, Mitch Levin, is being recognized for creating a thriving group studio in east Boulder.
Over the years, Sepucha says Open Studios has grown in popularity, but the organizers have made a point to limit the size to no more than 125 artists. Sepucha says this is to maintain the high quality and keep it manageable for the public.
Above all, don’t be intimidated to walk into these artists’ studios, Sepucha says.
“Artists are not scary. If you’re interested but nervous about how it works, just go out and do it. The artists want to meet the public. They want to share what they’re doing with the public, and nobody expects the visitors to be experts,” she says. “That’s why they want to do Open Studios: to share what they do.”
A look at some notable artists in this year’s Open Studios:
Gerda Rovetch is in her 90s and for the last several years has been saying it’s her last Open Studios Tour ever, but she keeps coming back. Her collages are whimsical with a decidedly mid-century style: openstudios.org/gerda-rovetch
Mitch and Susie Levin moved to Boulder from Chicago about five years ago and have become active artists in the Boulder cultural scene. Mitch Levin creates mostly metal sculpture, with some other media mixed. Susie Levin is a painter and mixed media artist (mostly 2D work, but she likes to mix in some 3D components in her wall-hanging pieces). Mitch Levin created a group studio a couple years ago out near 55th and Valmont streets and has expanded the space since then. It’s an exciting space, with lots of interesting tools and the largest concentration of artists in one place during the tour: highvoltagestudio.com, susielevinart.com
John Bennet creates planetary models with stone and metal. His outer space art is unlike anything else showcased in the tour. This art will be of particular interest to people into science and astronomy: scienceart.com
William Stoehr creates amazing portraits on a huge scale. He has shown his work all over the world and is widely collected: williamstoehrart.com
Brian Grossman is a sculptor who also has multiple sclerosis. He has created beautiful and detailed art throughout his life and also created his own ways to navigate around his disability to continue to create art. He has an interesting studio up past the city limits on Longhorn Drive, with all kinds of interesting equipment and adaptations he has created for himself: briangrossmansculpture.com