We just wrapped up the 2017 Open Studios Art Tour – 3 weekends chock-full of art and community connections, with 300+ artists across the county opening their doors to the public! To give us a quick recap of the highlights, we caught up with the inimitable Ann Ostermann, Open Studios & Events Director, for a few quick questions about the tour. See you next year!

Hi, Ann! What was different about Open Studios this year?

We made a change to our hosting guidelines and it helped many of this year’s artists. Artist Christine Charter Moorhead returned and she was able to host three other artists at her studio in Boulder Creek, giving the public a great reward for venturing into a more remote area of the county. Her hosted artists live in hard-to-reach locations and were able to share their art with more visitors at Christine’s location than they would have if they had stayed in their studios.

What did artists have to say about their experience this year? Did any comments stand out to you?

I was so happy to hear from many of the first-time artists that they had a wonderful Open Studios experience! They had a lot of visitors and even sold some artwork. It’s brave of anyone to invite complete strangers into their studio to look at and possibly critique their art, and it’s even harder when you’re just starting out. I heard many stories about how gratifying it was to hear people react positively to their art and am glad to have made this experience possible for them.

What did attendees have to say about Open Studios this year? 

I had many wonderful conversations with folks who stopped by the Preview Exhibit at the Santa Cruz Art League!

  • “Wouldn’t miss it!” was a favorite response when I ask them if they tour every year.
  • “Our county has so many amazing artists!” Not surprised to hear this after seeing the incredible Preview Exhibit.
  • “Love the free Guide and the free App.”
  • “Can I contact artists after the tour?” – YES! The Artist Directory at the back of the Guide is there so you can contact artists during the year – find out where they’re showing next, perhaps set up a private visit, or maybe arrange to purchase something you saw during Open Studios.

What are you looking forward to for next year?

Next year will be the fourth year that the Artist Guide is free, and the third year that the App is free as well. We sold the Artist Guide for years at $20 and heard that many people felt unwelcome to walk into a studio if they hadn’t purchased the Guide. Now the Guide is free and the public, especially those who had not toured before, understand that Open Studios is an ALL-access event. There is no guilt involved with just following the green signs or walking into any of the studios in the tour. I look forward to hearing from next year’s artists that there were more visitors than ever and that many of them came touring because they felt welcomed to do just that!

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