Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Don't turn around, but the 2012 Open Studios Art Tour is just around the corner. Santa Cruz's premiere art event takes place during the first three weekends in October, when more than 300 artists countywide will open their studio doors to the public for the annual self-guided art tour.

You know the drill: South County artists (from Watsonville to the lower Yacht Harbor) will be open October 6 and 7. North County artists (upper Yacht Harbor to Davenport) will be open October 13 and 14. Anything goes on the third, Encore weekend, October 20 and 21, where participating artists countywide can choose to open for one last hurrah. Studios will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Remember, this is not a race (or an endurance test); you don't win a prize for visiting the most studios—but you might make yourself so crazy you no longer even know what you're looking at. The idea is to breathe, Grasshopper, focus on what you really want to see, and open yourself up for the task at hand—the optimum stress-free pleasure of mingling with art and artists in their native habitat.

Start with the OS Artist Guide, a 15-month calendar with a color photo of the work of every OS artist, along with their addresses, websites, emails, phone numbers, shoe sizes, mothers' maiden names—well, you get the idea—all for only $20. Detailed maps and supplemental indexes list artists alphabetically, and according to medium.The Guide also tells you which artists are open which weekends, and whether their premises are wheelchair-accessible.

Go here to buy a calendar online or find a location near you to purchase one in person. All proceeds go to the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County to support OS and fund arts programs throughout the county.

New this year is the OS App, which puts all the info in the Guide on your phone. It's available now for just $4.99 via iTunes or Google Play; click here for details.

And don't forget to visit the Open Studios Preview Exhibit at the Art League (526 Broadway in Santa Cruz), to see a sample of each artist's work. Believe me, seeing the work in real life will save you hours of aimless driving around later. You can also pick up free color postcards of many of the artist's work, or purchase the OS Guide at the Art League.

The OS show opens this Saturday (September 29) and continues through October 21. Meet the artists at the opening reception this Sunday, September 30, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Exhibit hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

And that's all there is to it.  So do your homework, grab an art buddy or two, and maybe I'll see you on the road!


  1. great article :) My Father is Don McPherson

  2. Thanks, Duncan!

    I hope your dad (and everyone else) has a great OS!