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Southwest Arkansas Showcases Artist Studio Tours

October 6, 2008

Zoie Clift, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Two studio art tours are set to take place this October in Southwest Arkansas. The tours present an opportunity to learn about local artists and visit their private studios. Both are self -guided driving tours so participants can set their own agenda and visit studios of their choosing via a provided map.

The first tour on the calendar is the Ouachita Art Trails Studio Tour, Oct. 10-12 in Mena. Twenty-five artists are currently signed up to be part of the event. Along with the driving tour, booths will be set up at Queen Wilhelmina Lodge and Mena Art Gallery. Demonstrations and a wide variety of art and handcrafted items for sale will also be available. Call 479-243-0059 or visit for more details about the tour and the artists featured.

The 2nd Annual Round About Artist Studio Tour takes place Oct. 17-19 in Arkadelphia. The driving tour takes you to the private studios of working artists where you can view their original creations and possibly watch a demonstration by the artist. There will be items for sale from each artist.

"Anyone who has not attended an artist studio tour is in for a pleasant surprise," said Phyllis Hughes, Treasurer of the Caddo River Art Guild and founding member of the event. "The tour is intended to show artists in their working environments. You will find us in unexpected places, from a lovely studio nestled under huge trees, a barn, garage, even someone's work space in their home. The self driving trip to find all studios is part of the adventure."

Hughes said there are 27 artists on the tour this year, and their locations range from Arkadelphia through Bismarck. "Each artist brings unique and beautiful artwork to the tour experience," said Hughes. "My own picks for a must see are: Deborah and John Tackett's studio among the rocks and trees, Rita Earles studio in her unusual home with full view of wooded area and pond, and Jo Ann Diffee's studio, which is in a woods setting also and well worth the drive."

According to Hughes, the idea for an art tour started when local painters visited the Mountain View Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour. They were so impressed with their experience they wanted to try a similar project themselves. "The first tour went so well, we hope to make it a yearly event," she said. For more information about the tour and the artists involved call 870-245-3612 or check out


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