Stapleton is home to a rich community of visual artists who work in various mediums including oil and acrylics, mixed media, sculpture, photographic art, pastel, glass, watercolors and collage.
“We have a good concentration of artists here in Stapleton, making it the perfect place for an open studio tour,” said Lin Clark, coordinator of the event and owner of Art & Framing at Stapleton. The free event will be held Sat. and Sun. Sept. 27 and 28 from 11am to 5pm.
The self-guided tour of the artists’ home studios allows visitors to meet the artists and get a behind-the-scenes look at their creative processes. “There will be demonstrations and talks about how they actually do what they do,” said Clark.
She said most of the artists work primarily out of their Stapleton homes, while some have studios elsewhere. Clark is offering a free 28-page guide and map of studio locations. The guide includes information on each of the artists and their work.
The studios are between Quebec and Havana, from Montview Blvd. to the Conservatory Green neighborhood. “We encourage people to bike the route,” said Clark.
Inspired by open studio tours in Evergreen and Boulder, Clark initiated the Stapleton event last year. “We had about 500 visitors. This year we hope to quadruple that,” she said.
“Last year people loved it,” Clark said. “They said ‘Thank you so much for doing this.’ It made me feel good because I loved bringing the Stapleton community together over art. Art is my passion.”
Learning about art in a casual setting makes people more comfortable and builds their enjoyment, Clark said. “It takes the intimidation out of art. When you walk into a gallery and you can’t tell whether a painting is oil or acrylic, maybe you don’t want to ask. But just talking to the artist, you don’t have to know anything. You learn, so that when you go to a gallery, you have an appreciation for the time and talent required to create a piece.”
A compelling part of the studio tour is learning about the artists. “Some artists have worked at it all their lives, while others retired and took up art,” said Clark.
She pointed to Valli Thayer McDougle, whose acrylic painting is on this year’s commemorative poster. “Valli retired from the academic world and now wins awards for her paintings.”
The creative process can be eye-opening for the public. “Glass artist Linda Wingate’s pieces require so many steps, including forming, hand-drawing a design, sand blasting, carving and cutting,” said Clark. “Art makes the world a better place,” Clark said. “It enriches everyone’s soul.”
All the artists will offer their work for sale. “If you fall in love with a piece, you can buy it directly from the artist and talk to them about it. It personalizes it,” Clark said.
New this year will be the addition of live music. Seven musical ensembles will play on front porches along the tour route and in Autumn Park. Musical offerings are included on the map. “Hopefully we’ll grow the number of musicians participating next year,” said Clark.
Clark would like the tour to become a destination weekend for out-of-town visitors. “I like to think big, like having people from Colorado Springs come to Stapleton for a weekend event,” said Clark, who added that the annual tour will continue to be on the last weekend in September.
A preview of the artists’ work will be on display at Art & Framing at Stapleton, 7483 E. 29th Place, beginning Sept. 2. The public is invited to the opening reception on Fri., Sept. 26 from 6 to 8pm, to meet the artists.
The printed tour guide will be available to pick up Sept. 1 at Art & Framing at Stapleton or it can be downloaded at www.stapletonopenstudios.com. For more information, email Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.