Lifestyle

Whidbey Open Studio Tour marks another success

Stephanie Schuemann preps her display at Crockett Barn during the Whidbey Open Studio Tour in September. - Photo courtesy of Sherrye Wyatt
Stephanie Schuemann preps her display at Crockett Barn during the Whidbey Open Studio Tour in September.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Sherrye Wyatt

Those who love art and the artists who love to make it are all sitting pretty after a satisfying tour.

Ticket sales set a new record this year, as more than 1,000 people attended the 13th Annual Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour this past September. That’s more than any other studio tour to date.

The self-guided tour brought art lovers into the studios of 92 artists island-wide.

The $10 ticket included a map of studio locations and a colorful wall calendar featuring the participating artists’ work.

Heading up the list of sponsors this year was platinum sponsor Whidbey Telecom. Other key sponsors included Windermere Real Estate/South Whidbey, the South Whidbey Record, the Whidbey News-Times, Amica Seattle Marathon and the Open Door Gallery + Coffee.

The Open Studio Tour committee would like to thank these and other sponsors, the more than 20 businesses that sold tickets, its advertisers, and the small army of volunteers who helped make this year’s tour a success.

Sue Taves, the tour committee chairperson and one of the tour artists, was pleased with the outcome.

“What made this year’s tour special was the positive creative energy flowing between the artists and the tour attendees, the whole weekend was electric,” Taves said.

Art was sold from both tour exhibits at the Open Door Gallery in Langley and at the Crockett Barn gallery in Coupeville. Artists, too, reported a number of sales out of their studios.

Artist Jan Hoy, a newcomer on the tour along with her husband Jim Ball, didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised.

“The people who visited our studio were really interested in the work and in talking to us,” Hoy said.

“Since there were 92 studios on the tour, we found people had planned their own tour, visiting just a few and taking time to enjoy each studio visit. We made sales, but almost more importantly for us as newcomers to the island, we made new contacts and met art lovers.”

Clinton jewelry designer Beth Wyatt, a veteran tour artist, was equally impressed with this year’s crowd.

“I thought the tour was wonderful this year. My husband, painter Richard Engstrom, and I had a great time and good sales,” Wyatt said.

“The majority of my visitors very enthusiastically initiated their own exploration of the ‘wearable’ aspect of my art, by trying it all on! I love this tour because I can be right there when they do, and get all their feedback for future jewelry designs.”

Ultimately, the ubiquitousness of both artists and patrons on Whidbey Island makes the tour work well for everyone involved.

“I am so grateful for the wonderful and talented artists here on Whidbey Island and the strong support from the community for this event,” added Taves.

The Whidbey Open Studio Tour’s net profit this year was $9,292, which will help to provide for the $4,000 in scholarships and grants for local students and aspiring artists awarded by the Whidbey Island Arts Council, the presenting organization for the Whidbey Open Studio Tour.

Additional calendars may be purchased for a special “after-tour” price of $5 each at 2nd Street Wine Shop in Langley; Open Door Gallery + Coffee in the Bayview Cash Store; and at 1504 Coffee Bar in Freeland.

Next year’s tour will be Sept. 25-26. To learn more, go to the Web site at www.whidbeyopenstudiotour.org or call 221-4121. To learn more about the Whidbey Island Arts Council, visit www.islandartscouncil.org.

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