Besides the wonderful artistic encounters, Open Studios gives you an excuse to explore areas of the county that might not be a part of your daily routine. This weekend, it’s South County’s moment to shine — that’s the studios from Live Oak down to Watsonville. On Oct. 14 and 15, it’s North County, including Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley. And Oct. 21 and 22 is an encore weekend for the whole county.
There is no more compelling evidence that Santa Cruz County is a creative arts wellspring than the Open Studios Art Tour directory, which this year weighs in with 325 open artists studios countywide from Boulder Creek and Davenport down to Watsonville.
This weekend, it’s South County’s moment to shine — that’s the studios from Live Oak down to Watsonville. On Oct. 14 and 15, it’s North County, including Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley. And the third weekend, Oct. 21 and 22, is an encore weekend for the whole county.
Besides the wonderful artistic encounters, Open Studios gives you an excuse to explore areas of the county that might not be a part of your daily routine. If you live in Aptos, why not pinpoint the artists in Felton? (And maybe take a stroll through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park afterward.) If you live in Scotts Valley, why not go see what the Tannery is all about? Or maybe the Mission Industrial Art Studios at the far end of Mission Street in Santa Cruz?
In the studios, you can meet the artists face to face, learn about their process and maybe glean an insight or two about how the environment inspires creativity.
I hate to single out artists from Open Studios — this is a curated tour, so the participating artists are uniformly talented, but it makes a more compelling case to be specific about what’s in store in the tour to do so. With that in mind, here are a few artists I’ve found fascinating who are in this year’s tour (note: None of these folks are my friends; to the degree I know them, I’ve met them through admiration of their art).
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BOLO is our interactive tool for keeping you in the know. Here are your three key places to bookmark:
Melissa West of Watsonville, for her vivid prints, portraits of figures in the civil rights struggle, and unique take on the prayer flag.
Cristina Sayers of Aptos, for her cheeky collages and images of an ever-evolving sense of feminism.
Andy Orsini of Santa Cruz, for his gorgeous and sensual woodworking and furniture.
Deborah Cross of Santa Cruz, a textile artist who makes striking original apparel that qualifies as art.
Burt Levitsky of Santa Cruz, an old-school painter whose magical images radiate with possibility.
Frank Trueba of Santa Cruz, a printmaker who follows his artistic obsessions, from 9/11 to the churches of New Mexico.
Janet Allinger of Santa Cruz, because sometimes you appreciate a little humor and attitude.
There are so many more amazing artists on the art tour whom I already know and more whom I’ll likely discover this year. Get the app for your phone, pick up the print catalogue at stores and retailers all over the county, and get out and check them out for yourself.
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