Artfully Local Studio Tour Gears Up for Bigger and Better Second Year
The art community in Alton is no doubt a special place. From buying each other’s pieces to celebrating art as a whole, people truly treasure the talent and hardwork the art community possesses. The Artfully Local Studio Tour takes this celebration to a whole new level. The tour is in its second year, taking visitors around the area to different studio stops with local artists and their work. There is a map people can follow to pick and choose certain studio stops or follow the map in its entirety. The tour is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 5 and noon to 5 p.m. May 6. Each stop has artwork including paintings, woodwork, pottery, stained glass, graphic design, photography, acrylic painting, leather art and mixed media.
In addition to the tour, there will be a Preview Art Show at The Old Bakery Beer Company 7 to 10 p.m. this Friday, April 27. The show will highlight one piece of art from each artist participating in the tour. Artwork will be available to purchase along with raffle tickets to win a piece of art. During this show, people can vote for their favorite piece. This preview show will give insight to what some stops will look like on the tour.
One of the people in charge of the event, Lynn Carter, is super excited to share this unique event to the Alton area for the second time.
Lauren Leady: What inspired you to get on board with Artfully Local?
Lynn Carter: Several years ago, there was an art tour called Art East that took place in Alton and Edwardsville over 2 weeks. It grew to be a really large event. For multiple reasons, this event basically shut down and left a bit of a void in the art community. A couple of years ago, my sister and her husband, Connie and Barry Clayton, mentioned how they missed the Art East tours and wished this kind of event still took place. Without really thinking, I said that if ever there was a similar event happening, I would love to be a part of it. Soon after this, we were meeting with some other local artists to begin planning Artfully Local Studio Tour.
LL: This is the second year, so have you changed, added or tweaked aspects of the tour from the first year?
LC: Without a doubt we have tweaked things since our first event last year. Prior to our first art tour event, we met with some of the original organizers of Art East to gather some wisdom on how to put on such an event. Last year’s board members of Artfully Local contributed ideas and experiences they had from participating in similar events and we opened our first art tour. After last years tour, we met with the participating artists for a "Lessons Learned" meeting to get input on how we could improve the experience. They didn't hold back, which was awesome. We learned a lot and applied the input to this year’s event. Through the course of planning for the 2018 art tour, we have already adjusted some things and are making notes for our 2019 season.
LL: What is your favorite part of Artfully Local?
LC: There are so many parts of this experience that I really enjoy — like when I went around to local businesses to secure sponsors for the event. I enjoyed meeting business owners that share a strong sense of community and enthusiasm for connecting the community with local artists. I also enjoyed teaming up with another board member to talk about our event on a local radio station. Being able to talk about art — speaking from the heart about something I am passionate about — is very invigorating. Another aspect of helping with getting the word out to the community that I like is showcasing the participating artists' artwork on our social media page. I love to mix and match the various types of art to make it appealing and eye catching. Sharing art is a lot of fun!
LL: Are you looking to expand Artfully Local? If so, how?
LC: I would love to see a few more venues next year and more artists join us. We have so much wonderful talent in the Alton area. I would love to see more artists, maybe even get a few of the jewelry making artists to join us. And, on the other hand, I don't want it to get too big that it becomes difficult to organize or lose the community feel that we have now.
LL: What gave you the idea to have a preview art show?
LC: This was an event that happened with the past tour. We liked the idea and decided to keep it. It gives the community an opportunity to come to an exhibit of art and explore various works under one roof. If a type of art appeals to them, they can mark their tour map to come see the artists the next weekend and peruse all that the artist has to offer — maybe even purchase something for their home or as a gift.
This year we will have a People's Choice Voting for "Best In Show," "Second Place" and "Third Place." Everyone that attends the free art preview will get one vote for their favorite artwork. Around 9 that night, the votes will be counted and the winners will be announced. Each winner will receive a ribbon and the "Best In Show" will also receive prize money.
We will also be having a raffle for four pieces of artwork that have been donated by local artists. Everyone attending the preview show will be able to purchase a raffle ticket for $1 and purchase as many tickets as they want to increase their chances of winning some artwork
LL: What can visitors expect on the tour?
LC: I am so excited about this year’s art tour. We have so many types of art represented, such as photography, paintings, drawings, graphic design art, fused glass, woodworking, pottery and mixed medium. As I reviewed the photos the artists sent in with their registration, I was amazed by the talent that is in the area. There will be something for everyone and at all types of sizes and price ranges. There will be art available that will bring you a sense of peace and joy and art that will be great conversation pieces. At some studios, you may also experience watching an artist in their creative process as they demonstrate making art. Take some time to meet the artists and ask them questions about how they do what they do. This is a great time to own some amazing local art!