Thirty-four artists who live and work in Saugerties will open their studios to visitors during the 12th annual Saugerties Artists’ Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, August 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The event is free of charge and it’s self-guided; one has only to pick up a map (or print one out online) and chart a course. But with so many studios available to choose from, how does one make the decision where to start?
“It’s such an individual exploration,” says tour coordinator and participating artist Barbara Bravo. One way to plan your visit, she suggests, is to view examples of each artist’s work at www.saugertiesarttour.com.
You can also attend the artists’ reception on Friday, August 8 at Opus 40 from 5 to 7 p.m. Each tour artist will have one work on display. The reception is free and open to all, and the regular admission fee to Opus 40 that evening is waived. With food and drink included, “You can’t beat it,” says Bravo. “You’re in this incredible environment, viewing an art show, meeting all these artists, and everybody has a great time.” The annual pre-tour reception at Opus 40 has become more popular with each year, she adds, with some 200 people expected to attend. The exhibit at Opus 40 will remain on view through August.
Another opportunity to preview work by the tour artists can be seen in their group show, “Myth & History,” at the Kiersted House at 119 Main Street in Saugerties through Sunday, August 10. Gallery hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The show will move to Café Mezzaluna on Route 212 in Saugerties on August 16, where it will remain on view through September 21.
The participating artists work in a variety of media and styles. Tourgoers can expect to see examples of printmaking, painting, illustration, digital art, mixed-media works, sculpture, fine furnituremaking, ceramics, metalwork and more.
Four of the artists are new to the tour: Kristy Bishop, Tamara DiMattio, Erika deVries and Christopher Nealon. The rest of the roster is made up of Isaac Abrams, Noelle Auriemma, Anita Barbour, Loel Barr, Ana Bergen, Barbara Bravo, Michael Ciccone, Richard Edelman, Ruth Edwy, Steve Frederick and Cherie Jemsek, Robert George, Carol Zaloom and Mikhail Horowitz, Marsha Kaufman-Rubinstein, Polly M. Law, Yvette Lewis, Ulf Loven, Brian Lynch, Hugh Morris, Ze’ev Willy Neumann, Gus Pedersen, Joan Max Reinmuth, Tad Richards, Jeffrey Schiller, Istar Schwager, Prue See, Viorica Stan, Raymond J. Steiner and Fay Wood.
The artists really enjoy being a part of the tour, says Bravo. “You never know who’s going to walk through your door; whomyou’ll meet. Sometimes you’ll get a commission to create something specifically for someone that they haven’t been able to get anywhere else. Or somebody will come in and see finished work and fall in love with it. You never know.”
She says that she’s always happy to see the families who come with young kids. “I love that. Because the schools have cut the arts budget so severely, I really feel like we’re doing a service by exposing these kids to art. It’s real, it’s in their neighborhoods and it’s to be taken seriously.”
And Bravo has a soft spot for the young aspiring artists who take the tour, too. “They’re wonderful: full of enthusiasm and eagerness. By visiting an artist living the life in their own studio, they see the work: finished work, works in progress…there’s a lot of people that come out of art school, and they know the art, they know the technical, but they don’t know how to sell their work.” She encourages their aspirations, she says, but advises them to be smart about it. “It’s not a bad idea to learn something else along the way that’s marketable… but that’s another conversation.”
When asked what kinds of comments people make about what they get out of taking the tour, Bravo says that she’s struck by one comment in particular that someone made a few years back. “They said, ‘I didn’t know how beautiful Saugerties is.’ These were people not familiar with the area, here for the weekend, and by going around to visit artists’ studios, they discovered what a pretty place we live in.”
The tour is made possible by the sponsorship of local businesses and organizations like the Saugerties Kiwanis Club, radio station WKZE and several grants, including a New York State Council on the Arts grant “that we’re lucky to get every year,” says Bravo. The Town of Saugerties is also affiliated with the Art along the Hudson organization that promotes the arts in Dutchess, Ulster and Orange Counties.
Maps can be printed out at www.saugertiesarttour.com or picked up at a number of local Saugerties businesses, a list of which is online along with some suggestions for where to eat lunch along the way. The Farmers’ Market at 115 Main Street in Saugerties will even have some special lunch options for Saturday tourgoers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tour artists’ reception, Friday, August 8, 5-7 p.m., free, Gallery at Opus 40, 50 Fite Road, Saugerties; Saugerties Artists’ Studio Tour, Saturday/Sunday, August 9/10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free, Town of Saugerties; www.saugertiesarttour.com.