The county's biggest art weekend
● By J. Chambless
A landscape by Randall Graham.
By John Chambless
The biggest art event of the year is taking place this weekend, and you're invited to jump in.
The Chester County Studio Tour will spotlight the original works of 127 artists and 53 artist studios, covering the entire county. If that seems a bit daunting, the event's helpful website (www.countystudiotour.com) has maps, addresses and suggested routes that you can download at the click of a button if you want to plan ahead or see works by artists you already know. The great part of the event, of course, is discovering the work of artists you haven't seen before.
If venturing into the realm of art buying seems intimidating, this annual event is designed to put you at ease. You don't have to pay anything to go and look, and at the very least, you'll drive through some spectacular scenery, since the pre-planned routes have been designed to be pretty.
Walking into an artist's work space can be delightfully inspiring, and talking to artists about their work can shed light on a world you never knew existed. There are unframed works stacked here and there that may be just what you're looking for, and you'll get a richer, broader idea of the scope of an artist's work than you would get at any limited exhibition.
You can start anywhere on the tour and see as many studios and galleries as you like, assisted by the website, which has maps and artist bios grouped into regions and themes, such as “Keeping it Real and Plein Air,” or “Different Strokes for Different Folks,” and even “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” It's the spirit of adventure that counts this weekend.
The artists on the tour have been carefully curated – there are no weekend amateur painters here – but they span a wonderful range of mediums and styles – clay, sculpture, wood carvings, jewelry, paintings, photographs, mixed-media works, stained glass and just about every combination you can imagine are represented.
Some of the big names are Jeff Schaller, whose hip, fun paintings combine portraiture with pop culture; Stan Smokler, whose metal sculptures are in several museum collections and never fail to challenge and inspire; Robert Jackson, whose witty paintings of balloon animals, fruit and snacks have garnered him a global following; and J. Clayton Bright, whose acclaimed bronzes of animals almost seem to breathe. But you'll also be able to see atmospheric landscapes by Peter Willard, bold abstracts by Vicki Vinton, intriguing paper vessels by John Baker, elegant handmade furniture by Doug Mooberry, clay vessels and monoprints by Mitch Lyons, distinctive paper collage cityscapes by Teresa Haag, splendidly observed paintings of roads and intersections by Marie Wolfington Jones, vivid landscapes by Gregory Blue … and on and on.
Some of the artists have teamed up to exhibit together at the studios and galleries on the tour, and all the artists will be on hand to talk about their work and meet browsers and buyers alike.
While the prices range as widely as the works themselves, most of the artists on the tour have created a 6-by-6-inch piece of original art priced at $75. The “County Collectors Club,” established by the organizers of the Studio Tour, is a way of getting original art to everyone. “Whether this is your first time buying original art or you are a seasoned collector, the tour now has something for everyone,” the website notes. “In some instances, a favorite artist might be out of someone's price range, but now with the County Collectors Club, art is within reach. Some art enthusiasts are out of wall space yet enjoy the thrill of adding new art to their collection. All pieces are uniform in size and framed with a simple, elegant black frame.” The $75 works will go on sale Saturday, May 21, at 10 a.m.
The tour itself runs May 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and May 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit online before you start out, and have fun.
The complete list of exhibiting artists is: Katherine Bailey, Scott Bailey, John Baker, Susan Bankert, Sarah Baptist, Bob Bauers, David Beck, Siobhan Bedford, Jeffrey Bell, Gregory Blue, Katee Boyle, J. Clayton Bright, Erica Brown, Ellie Byrom-Haley, Derek Carlson, Sue Ciccone, Joanne Legnini Carothers, Diane Cirafesi, Beth Clark, Larry Crossan, Kared D'Allaird, April d'Angelo, Maggi DeBaecke, Heather Davis, Cheryl Decker Sauder, Thomas Del Porte, Tom Dempsey, Frank DePietro, Jennifer Domal, Laura Ducceschi, David Eldreth, Charles Emlen, Lore Evans, Kirsten Fischler, Michael Fleck, Michele Foster, Karen Frattali, Amelia Furman, Lele Galer, Ree Gallagher, Lorraine Glessner, Darcie Goldberg, Randall Graham, Lindsay Grigsby, Joe Grubb, Teresa Haag, Carol Habig, David Haines, Robert Hakun, Michael Hill, Robert Jackson, Jane James, Judith Jarvis, Corey Johnson, Mary Kane, David Katz, Ken Kazanjian, Madeleine Kelly, Kimberly Knorr, Bobby Lewis, Daniel Long, Robert Lott, Mitch Lyons, John Madarasz, Leslie Marsh, Helen Mason, Christy Maurer, Jeremy McGirl, Pam McKee, Erin McNichol, Sherry McVickar, Susan Melrath, Doug Mooberry, Patricia Moobery, Maximilian Morresi, Terri Morse, Lisa Muller, Laurie Murray, Deborah Northey, Susan O'Hanlon, Christina Oddo, David Oleski, Steve Oliver, Cynthia Oswald, Beth Palser, Heather Pasqualino, John Pompeo, Lisa Prinzo, Pete Quarracino, Thomas Ransom, Dan Reed, Jeff Schaller, W.B. Scheirer, Cheryl Schlenker, Sandra Sedmak Engel, Sandra Severson, Lynnette Shelley, Vidya Shyamsundar, Sandra Sigley, Ria Smith, Stan Smokler, Arlene Solomon, Nicola Soricelli, Vaughn Stadmiller, Susan Stefanski, Annie Strack, Randall Strader, Nancy Swope, Andrew Snyder, Robert Vail, Timlyn Vaughan, Vicki Vinton, Denise Vitollo and Thomas Von Koch.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email email@example.com.