Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Approximately every two months, I travel down to Roanoke, Virginia, to visit family and friends. Each year I attempt to time a visit with the Artists Open Studios Tour. It was last weekend and, unfortunately, we were unable to go this year. This tour always gives me the warm fuzzies. Artists often permit you to cruise through their entire house or studio. The tour takes you over a great deal of territory, so driving is required, although some studios are within walking distance of each other. They have put together a great website and brochure.

Has anyone out there been involved in such a tour? Has anyone organized one themselves? I would love to know what is involved.

Roanoke, Virginia is a Southern town. You definitely get that southern hospitality on the tour. I would love to be part of such an event; however, I am no longer a resident of Roanoke. Roanoke is becoming a great art town, yet it is an exclusive art town. The galleries there show local and regional artists. It is becoming a great community for the artists and their customers.

The art "community" in State College, Pennsylvania, seems a far cry from the Roanoke art scene. I have met a few local artists at our huge summer arts festival & when attempting to discuss our local art scene with them (I do not attempt to talk to them when they have customers to deal with), I feel I get the cold shoulder. Our local art "community" seems to be so exclusive that it is nonexistent.

I remember about 6 or 7 years ago, some artists here did put together a studio tour. I was unable to attend and the event was only attempted once and never mentioned again. I don't know if lack of attendance, lack of promotion, lack of organization, etc., was the issue. I have been unable to find any info. about the event to learn which artists were involved. Perhaps it was a dream.

I have come across a handful of artists with attitude here. At a gathering of women I met an artist who lives quite close by. I put in a word here and there, but much of what I heard during her "side" of the "discussion" was how necessary it is to have an extensive art education. I heard many other high and mighty thoughts and crawled home discouraged.

Perhaps it is the northern climate that keeps artists holed up in their studios. Perhaps all the local artists are superior to me and I should never approach them. Perhaps there is a network here, as invisible and delicate as a spider web.

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