BY BETTY FREEMAN
Whidbey Life Magazine, contributor
Aug. 21, 2013
Artists from the north, south and all points in-between open up this weekend on Whidbey.
The first year my husband and I took the Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour there were more than 100 artists represented. Even by starting in Oak Harbor and working our way slowly back home to Clinton, we still had to pick and choose the artists whose work and studios we most wanted to see. There was no way we could do it all in one day, or even a weekend.
This year, the artists of Whidbey Island hope that by offering two tours, one north and one south, more people will be able to see more art and artists-in-action than ever before.
“Whidbey Island is truly an arts destination,” said Kay Parsons, chairman of the Whidbey Working Artists Summer Studio Tour.
“And events like these two tours are bread and butter for our working artists who are trying to make a living with their art.”
Tammi Sloan, who chairs the Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour, agrees.
“If we artists can all work together to optimize the tourist traffic, all of us will benefit,” Sloan said.
The Whidbey Working Artists Studio Tour is the north end event, and will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on two weekends, Aug. 24 to 25 and Aug. 31to Sept. 1. Most of the 31 artists on the tour will open their studios for both weekends, but some will be open for one or the other. Each artist’s entry in the comprehensive Whidbey Working Artists Studio Tour brochure explains when the individual studios will be open.
On Labor Day weekend, north end artists are hoping to draw from the crowd expected at the Oak Harbor Music Festival, a co-sponsor of their tour.
The Whidbey Open Studio Tour focuses on artists on the south end and from Clinton to Greenbank. This tour, in conjunction with the Whidbey Island Arts Council, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 and 25, with 55 artists working in a variety of mediums participating.
South end tour-goers can plan their itineraries by attending the preview show from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 at Whidbey Island Community Education Center (WICEC), located at the historic Bayview School. All 55 artists will show one representative piece at the preview party. Sales from the preview party will benefit the artists and WICEC.
The south end tour map is divided into four areas – Clinton, Langley, Freeland and Greenbank – and gives addresses, but not specific directions, to each studio. Sloan advises tour-goers to visit the website to get directions and view artists’ bios. She also advises alooking for the bright yellow Whidbey Open Studio Tour signs. Here’s the link to the northside Summer Art Studio Tour.
There is a bit of an overlap with the tours as the north end’s map shows clusters of artists in Oak Harbor and Coupeville with one as far south as Freeland.
Three artists – Rob Adamson, Kim Tinuviel and Kathleen Otley – chose to cover all their publicity bases and are advertising their open studios in both tour brochures.
Some artists have formed groups to show at one central location. For example, Carol Ann Bauer’s pottery, Akemi Walker’s jewelry and Kim Tinuviel’s encaustics and photography can all be viewed at Pacific Northwest Art School at 15 NW Birch St. in Coupeville.
On the south end, several group studio showings offer one-stop shopping for tour-goers, so although there are 55 artists on the tour, there are only 29 stops.
“For some people, the open studio tours are like seeing a magic show,” Parsons said.
“When you let them into the experience of how you work in your studio, they can take your vision home with them.”
Find everything you need regarding links to the tours and other events at WLM’s handy weekend list.
(Pictured at top, Patti Picco of Coupeville takes inspiration from natural forms, layering different mediums such as printmaking, photography, collage and encaustic painting.)
Betty Freeman, an award-winning writer and editor, is married to sculptor Dan Freeman, whose studio will be open for the Whidbey Open Studio Tour. That’ll be the studio with the homemade cookies.