Artist studio tours are a chance to see art and meet the artists who create it. Three self-guided driving tours take place in Arkansas that feature a diverse selection of art by artists in Mountain View, Mena, and Arkadelphia. During the tours (which are
collaboratively known as the Arkansas Artist Studio Tours and are funded via
the Arkansas Arts Council) participants travel the scenic roads of Arkansas as
they visit artists’ private working studios and see where their art is created.
The first tour in the mix is the 9th annual Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour September 17-19 in Mountain View. This was the first studio tour created in the state. This tour includes 30 studios, all located within 30 miles of the Court House Square in Mountain View. Maps and directions to all of the studios are compiled in a 36 page Guide to Artists Studios, which will be available at various locations in the tour area. This tour has been picked as on the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20
Events for September.
Next on the tour lineup is the 3rd annual Ouachita Art Trails Studio Tour in Mena October 8-9. “Before doing the tour three years ago, I had never been on a studio tour,” said Lyn Dilbeck, who is a member of the Mena Art Gallery, the Ouachita Arts & Crafts Guild, and is an artist featured on the tour. “A lot of people don’t really know what it entails. Whenever I heard art tour…in my mind it was artists that did elaborate paintings that just really didn’t fit into my lifestyle or budget. I would like to let folks know we have a very diverse tour and many different types of art from fine art to great artisans of pottery, blown glass and more. I know many are surprised when they tour the artists’ studios. There they can see where
they work, their techniques and meet the personality behind the pieces. They can learn how they gather their inspiration and ideas. It’s also a great place for other artists to come and get new ideas and share their own or for anyone looking to find art treasures hidden in the mountains.”
Dilbeck said she would like to see all the artists’ featured on the tour. “We have a great glass blower, potters, a metal artist, leather work, jewelry, fine art, wood working, pen and ink, and on and on…it would be hard to pick. All of it is interesting to me. I would like to let people know if they’d like to see all the artists they need to allow for two art filled days.”
Dilbeck said there are several artists like herself that live in remote areas. These artists will be set up at the new Mena Resort on Hwy 71. “This will make it easier for folks to see us instead of having to drive so far out,” she said. Registration for the
tour is at the Mena Art Gallery at 607 Mena St. Here each participant will be given a booklet with information on each artist and directions and maps to each gallery. Bios of each artist and pictures of their work are in the book also.
The 4th annual Round About Artists Studio Tour in Arkadelphia October 15-17 rounds out the Arkansas Artist Studio Tours project.
“Our organization in Arkadelphia started with five people who were motivated and encouraged by Mountain View’s art tour,” said Farrell Ford, president of the Caddo
River Art Guild, which sponsors the tour. “In turn, when Mena expressed a desire to organize their tour they looked to us for help.” Farrel said the three communities have continued to collaborate in promoting their tours and encourage other art communities to produce an art studio tour.
“People who come to the tours are very surprised at the number of artists in the area plus the diversity of their art,” she said. She said the artists are also excited about
the interest in their art and the overall interest in the visual arts. She added
there are six new artists on the Round About Artist Studio Tour this year.
“Another interesting aspect is the uniqueness of each artist’s personality which is truly a fun thing to experience.” Last year he said the tour drew people from forty Arkansas cities and eight states. “It is a free event but most of all it is just a fun thing to do,” she said.
For more information on each tour visit www.arkansasartiststudiotours.com or call the Arkansas Arts Council at 501-324-9766.