More than 130 of Boulder’s best local artists want you to come over and hang out in their studios. 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 three 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. It runs noon-5 p.m. on the weekends.
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.
For 2019, annual Open Studios has a new, cool feature. You can visit a “preview exhibit” at the Nalanda Campus of Naropa University this year.
Also, make sure you check out the new Teen Studio, a teen-directed site on the tour where area students from ages 13 to 19 will be showing their art and talking about their own portfolios and works in progress. Find the Teen Studio at Niche Workspaces, 4571 Broadway in Boulder on Oct. 19-20.
Before you head out, visit the Open Studios’ website, with a printable map and list of artists, as well as photos of the artists’ work, links to their website and all kinds of other information. For even more info, pick up a printed catalog, with an oversized map of the tour. Catalogs are available at a variety of locations from Littleton to Breckenridge, including Lucky’s Markets, Meininger’s Art Supplies, Tatter Cover Bookstores, the Boulder Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and more.
Note: Open Studios used to have an app but closed it down in 2018 because it wasn’t used as widely as anticipated.
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. The jury also looks for a diversity of media and location, to represent all parts of town and types of art.
Over the years, Open Studios has grown in popularity, but the organizers have made a point to limit the size of invited artists to maintain the high quality and keep it manageable for the public.
A look at some notable artists in this year’s Open Studios:
Rebecca DiDomenico: “I am interested in unexpected relationships, the way a spider web mimics a wheel, the commonality between Dr. Seuss and the Dalai Lama, the resemblance between patterns in the constellations of the stars and the minute particulars inside the human body,” she explains on the Open Studios Facebook page. See her art on Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13 in Studio #44a in the Swoon Art House, 4295 Broadway, Boulder. Learn more about DiDomenico in Travel Boulder’s artist spotlight here.
Patricia Chapman: “I assemble vintage play things, foam taxidermy forms, rusted metal parts, vintage doll parts and a vast array of worn treasures and mixed medias and air dry and resin clay to create my sculptures. I find it endlessly delightful to experience the alchemy of how all these disparate parts and pieces come together,” Chapman says on the Open Studios Facebook page. See her work in Studio #56, at 3102 Palo Parkway, Boulder, on Oct. 12, 13, 19 and 20.
Bill Border: “Buying art is like falling in love. It’s irresistible, thrilling, and mysterious,” says Bill Border, artist, on his website. Animals and landscapes are common subjects of his traditional oil and contemporary figurative paintings. He explains, “As I paint, my brush strokes go beyond the known world, as I explore and vary both concepts and techniques.” See his art in Studio #110 at 285 Devon Place in Boulder from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 5,6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 (every weekend of the event).
- Preview the artists online in advance. 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.
- Pick up a free Open Studios catalog with additional info on the artists and an oversized, printed map that you can keep.