Download the Studio Discovery Tour guide here.
Visit the Studio Discovery Tour website here to find out about individual artists.
For many artists on the Sonoma-Mendocino coast, the weeks leading up to the Studio Discovery Tour is a very exciting time as they prepare to open their creative spaces and share their work with all who journey through.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the free, self-guided tour along a 25-mile stretch of the coast that allows people to visit artists in their studios, providing a glimpse into the working processes of the artists’ creative minds.
The NCAG Studio Discovery Tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3, Labor Day weekend.
Stretching from south of The Sea Ranch to north of Point Arena, artists’ studio stops are indicated by yellow and white signs along Highway One. Follow the signs along the indicated roads and driveways to discover the creative habitats of 35 participating NCAG Artists, who are jewelry makers, photographers, collage artists, painters, sculptors and more.
Maps for the tour and a description of each of the artists can be found locally at the the Dolphin Gallery across from Gualala Supermarket, the Discovery Gallery in the Sea Cliff Center, the Gualala Arts Center, The Mendocino Arts Center, The Elk Artists Collective and various art galleries and businesses along the way. Maps can also be downloaded from the NCAG website at studiodiscoverytour.com. Note that the catalog is a must when visiting artists on The Sea Ranch, since directional signs are not allowed along that section of Highway 1.
Artist Bruce Jones, who avoids classification as an artist because he likes the freedom of working in multiple medium, has been participating in the studio tour since 2001 and says he likes doing the show for several reason, the biggest one being that it makes him re-evaluate his art and himself as an artist.
“You display all of your work together – all of your stuff – and it really makes you re-think your art,” Jones said. He said showing his art in this way offers him a new perspective into his process. “When people come through, you see your art through other people’s eyes, which is important… You create this art, there’s reasons you did it, you have an idea of what you are trying to capture, but other people don’t know those reasons, so it’s interesting to see what they get from it.”
And, from a practical standpoint, the NCAG commission point of 5% for art sold is “very friendly,” Jones points out. Most galleries charge 40% to 50% commission. Outside of local collectives, where artists pay up front to belong and volunteer their time, commissions can be very high. “It’s great for the artists,” he says.
For artist Kelley Kieve, who will be showing her paintings and mixed media collage at her studio with artists Walt Rush, a jewelry designer, and Cynthia Myers, who works in etched glass, it is as much about the bonding with other artists as it is about showcasing her talent, but that is also an integral piece. “Of course, I love selling art. I like talking with people about my process and I like that (the tour) provides an audience for what I’ve been working on all year.”
Ultimately, as an artist it is about expression, she says. “I love the looks on people’s
faces when they really “get” my art, the feelings it evokes in them. When people are moved by it, it is really an amazing feeling.”
“It’s been important that a more seasoned artist took me under her wing and gave me the confidence to do the studio tour. I’m so grateful for Jennie,” says jewelry maker Marla Skibbins. Skibbins will be showing at Jennie Lee Henderson’s studio, along with Jennie and her husband, Michael Henderson. Jennie Lee works in hand woven and hand dyed textiles while Michael works in various media, including black fired and pit fired ceramics and graphite drawings.