The fourth annual Artist Open Studio Tour welcomes new and familiar faces to the two-day program, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The free, self-guided tour across Indiana County is open to the public, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at local artists and their studios.
“Looking at art in a museum is clinical,” Indiana Arts Council executive director Rebecca Slak said. “In a studio, you smell the paint, see the 800-pound piece of wood, see how they’re mixing paint. It opens the door to a lot of new insights.”
The tour began with a core group of local artists in 1995 and lasted for almost a decade. With support from the arts council, the tour started again in 2010 and has now grown to include 14 artists, many of whom were on the original tour, Slak said.
Though art is available for purchase, the main purpose of the tour is creating access and understanding of artist’s work in Indiana County.
“This is first about opening doors for the community to come to the artists,” Slak said. “But any time an artist gets noticed, that’s a positive thing.”
This year the arts council expects more than 1,000 visits among all 13 locations, twice the number from last year’s tour, because of event publicity in the Johnstown, Pittsburgh and State College markets. The arts council has also worked with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to market the event and reached out to area schools, since the event is geared toward art enthusiasts of any age.
Artist Chuck Olson will display his work in Room 204 in the Indiana Theater Building, 637 Philadelphia St. To see his work, enter through the side door in the alley on Carpenter Avenue. Also displaying work during the tour is Ned Wert, one of the founding artists on the tour, who will display his work at 5460 Route 56, Brush Valley; Sandy Trimble, who will show her artwork at 80 Old Gate Road, Penn Run; Greg Langham, who will exhibit his work at 2400 Evergreen Drive, White Township; H.K. Miller Jr., who will open his studio at 306 Tulip Drive, Armstrong Township; Jonelle Summerfield, who will showcase her paintings at 450 Grant St., Indiana; Vaughn Clay, who will display his work at 939 Nibert Road, Rayne Township; Tony DeFurio, who will exhibit his art at 96 McHenry Road, White Township; Fuyuko Matsubara and Michael Smithhammer, who will both be showcasing work at 625 Lutz School Road, White Township; Donn Hedman, a founding member of the tour returning for the first time, who will be at 1636 Wells Road, Smicksburg; Betty Hedman, who will display her pottery at 105 E. Kittanning St., Smicksburg; and Kamal and Hisham Youssef, who will exhibit their work at 5417 Mahoning Road, Dayton. The Artists Hand Gallery at 732 Philadelphia St., Indiana, will also exhibit local artwork for the tour.
The artists currently on the tour set the criteria for the work displayed and pool their money to cover marketing costs. They hope to expand next year’s tour even more by allowing local artists to apply to become part of the tour.