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Chester County Press

Explore a wide world of art

05/12/2017 01:33PM ● By J. Chambless

'Money Dawg' by Jeff Schaller.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

It's one thing to buy an artwork in a gallery or shop somewhere. It's a richer, deeper experience to get to know the artist and see their work space, to ask questions and feel like you're connected with the person who made the art. And for the artist, cultivating personal connections is a great way to gain a fan and frequent buyer.

The Chester County Studio Tour is a yearly chance to visit studios and mingle with artists you admire, and artists you may not have met yet. The event will be held virtually everywhere in Chester County on May 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and May 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

'Midsummer' by Beth Clark.

 There are 179 artists exhibiting this year, at 72 different studios. To take part, you start with the website (, and either click on the list of artists to see more of their work, or the list of participating studios to see how you can plan your meandering. Either way, one studio will lead to another, and before you know it, you'll have spent the day discovering beautiful places and distinctive artworks.

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.

There's no charge to snoop, and you can visit as many or as few studios as you want. Artists are grouped together at the studios so that you can experience as much art as possible with each stop. The artists include painters, sculptors, jewelry makers and furniture makers, all creating works in an admirable range of styles – from traditional landscapes to cutting-edge abstracts, from pop art to folk art. All of it – or at least most of it – will be for sale, and the prices will range from inexpensive to higher-end.

'Trestle No. 2' by Erica Brown.

 Even if you can't invest a few hundred dollars – or a few thousand dollars – in an original piece, there will be plenty of smaller works, prints, jewelry and ceramics that won't require a large payment, and you'll have an original artwork to love forever. Many 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. You can download a map at the website, or use it to navigate your way around. There will also be signs posted along the roads to point you in the direction you need to go.
The best thing about the tour each year is that you can admire works by established artists and discover emerging artists you can collect for a lifetime. The list this year includes John Baker, J. Clayton Bright, Beth Clark, Mitch Lyons, David Oleski and Jeff Schaller, along with plein air painter Sarah Baptist, metal sculptor Bob Bauers, furniture craftsman Larry Crossan, sculptor and painter Lele Galer, painter Teresa Haag, jewelry maker Amy Iversen, painters Carol Lesher and Lauren Litwa, painter and potter Karen O'Lone-Hahn, painter Dan Reed and artist Peter Willard. In short, if you've heard of the artist, they will be represented in this tour.

On your mark, get set, browse!

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected].