The Artists Collective | Spartanburg, the Chapman Cultural Center, the Spartanburg Art Museum and the Artists Guild of Spartanburg will host a first-of-its-kind for Spartanburg two-day Open Doors Studio Tour April 22 and 23 to showcase 45 artists’ working studio spaces and their works.
Every participating artist will be included in a two-month-long Open Doors preview exhibition in the Soloman Gallery at the Artists Collective. Twenty-three artists have work on display in the Connections Gallery within the GSP International Airport through the end of March.
“This is an exciting opportunity for artists to open their doors to the public and invite visitors and collectors to come view their artwork, learn about the creative process and purchase works for sale,” says Beth Regula, chair of the management board of the Artists Collective and co-chair with local artist Glenda Guion for the Open Doors event.
More than 1,000 pieces of artwork will be part of the tour. The tour includes painters, sculptors, potters, photographers, jewelers, printmakers, fiber artists and more. Participation in the event was opened to all local artists, whether they were members of any of the sponsoring organizations or not.
“A part of each of these organizations’ mission statements is to help the artists in the area and help the cultural growth of the community” Regula continues. “We all have been doing this, but I felt that since we had similar missions that the event would be successful if we collaborated to help make it happen. We plan for this to become an annual event that artists and non-artists will look forward to each year.”
Guion, who was one of dozens of artists who started Greenville Open Studios 20 years ago, began talking with Regula and others about 10 years ago when she and her husband moved to Spartanburg about a similar event there. The idea did not go anywhere because of other focus and projects of the organizations.
Last fall, Regula revived the idea with Guion, and partnerships and a committee were formed.
“Art studio tours are a unique, fun attraction for all ages – from the seasoned art collector – to the youngest art student,” Guion says. “The focus of the Open Doors tour is to provide both support for local visual artists and to heighten artistic and cultural awareness within our community. Collectors, supporters and the art-interested public will have the opportunity to see how art is created by visiting the artists in their studios all across the county.”
The studios are required to include a “working” artist space. All artists will show their creative process inside their studios, some doing demonstrations, some allowing the visitors to touch a ball of clay or watch a print being pulled from a press or see artworks in various stages of completion. “Educating the general public about where and how artists create is an element not available in any other event in the county,” Guion adds.
“It has been proven that arts drive tourism,” Guion says. “Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. Art studio tours are known to attract people from both inside and outside of the community. Visitors will drive across Spartanburg County to visit studios, enjoying the beauty of both our city and rural areas along the way.”
The Open Doors Studio Tour is a self-guided two-day event that is free to the public. Participating artists will open their studios to show and sell their work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 22, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 23. Visitors will be directed by a map on the Open Doors website at opendoorstudios.art. A printed map also will be available in the Open Doors catalog.
“We hope to build an event that will be anticipated year after year, and we hope to encourage people to look for art beyond main street,” Guion says. “We also would like to see more and more artists open their doors in the years to come.”