by Julia Bednar, NCOS participating artist #10 and Steering Committee Member
I have participated in North Coast Open Studios since the first year it was offered. I continue to open my studio each year because I believe it is worthwhile on many levels.
Humboldt County has a wealth of talented artists, Open Studios is a way to highlight and recognize them.
When people see work hanging in a gallery or a shop for sale they see only the finished product. But getting to visit an artist's work space and see the process one goes through to create a finished work of art is a learning experience that gives greater understanding of the value of an art piece.
For me personally, it is an opportunity to meet new people, to share with them my paintings...both finished and in progress, to explain what I paint and why and to answer questions. I want visitors to enjoy visiting my studio, browsing through paintings, prints and cards. I offer refreshments and lawn chairs for a break on their tour. And visitors are free to walk around my "casual" garden which is usually in bloom in June. Also, a lot of friends and neighbors and fellow artists drop in during the weekend and it's always good to see them.
Name recognition is also important. When I have an art opening, it's always nice to hear someone say, "I remember you. i came to your studio on the Open Studios tour".
While sales are always nice, to me it is more important for visitors to experience what the creative part of an artist's life looks like. I believe that anyone who goes on the open studio tour gains a greater appreciation for the value of our local art and the artists who create it. Also, as we continue on the path to becoming an art destination, open studios will help to assure community support.
Another reason I find Open Studios to be useful to me,,,,it gives me a good reason to
organize and declutter my studio before visitors arrive. Without that incentive, I might put off those mundane chores indefinitely!
All in all, I see Open Studios is a positive and happy experience, both for artists and the visitors who go on the tour.
Image below: Trinidad Bluffs, painting by Julia Bednar