What is an Open Studio Tour?

An open studio event provides an opportunity for artists and craftspeople to reach a broad audience, to educate their community and ultimately to develop new markets. During these events, the general public is invited to view the artists’ studios, to experience this creative environment and, hopefully, to make a purchase directly from the artist.

What distinguishes an open studio event from a studio visit or museum sponsored tour is the intended audience. Whether organized under the auspices of a community arts group or by independent artists, an open studio event welcomes the general public rather than a specific group. Some of those who attend an open studio event may never venture into an art or craft gallery or attend a museum exhibition opening. It is this egalitarian distinction that makes an open studio event a vibrant addition to the community.

The Economic Impact of Open Studios

 The economic benefits to the artist: Artists who do not have gallery representation in the area can benefit significantly. This type of event may be the most effective way for an artist to reach a local or regional audience. The artist can show their work to the public, sell it at retail prices and keep 100% of the revenue without giving a commission to galleries.

These events can also be instrumental in building professional relationships. Collectors or gallery owners may go to open sStudio events looking for new artists. Keeping this in mind, artists should sell their work at retail prices. Price parity allows all who view the work to understand its established market value. Interested artists will receive an artist checklist to prepare their studio and themselves for this unique, entrepreneurial experience. Meetings will be planned to distribute and discuss.

The economic benefits of open studio events to the community: Open studio events may attract people from outside the community in addition to local residents. The event can generate income for artists and for local businesses, restaurants and hotels. Open studios can generate revenue for the local art organization/charity sponsoring the open studios or create visibility and focus for the local art organization, which may increase membership.

Purpose: The event is intended for artists who are currently producing and exhibiting their work and offers them an opportunity to show a body of work in their studio environment.

Artists are required to demonstrate or otherwise show their process at their open studio. An important aspect of the event is to educate the public about the value and importance of original art work.

Visitors see work in many disciplines across a diverse range of media and style.

Revenue: Revenue to support the countywide open studios program is from two sources: the application fee, and private and corporate sponsors. We anticipate that over 5,000 visitors will attend the event this year, and that the event will grow every year. Outreach and advertising will bring people from adjacent counties and regions.

Community Impact: Visitors will see a wide variety of work and become personally informed about art and craft processes, materials, and the creative spirit. The public is educated to become patrons of the arts in their own way.

Conclusion: The participation of individual artists and the greater community in an open studio event can be beneficial in many ways. Some of the tangible gains have already been addressed, but it is the intangible benefits such as strengthened community ties, expanded communication and a greater education in and appreciation for the arts that must not be undervalued.

© 2004, 2008, 2010 Harriete Estel Berman