The self-guided Stapleton Open Studios tour of artists’ studios is back, with 22 artists ready to meet visitors, show their work and demonstrate how it is made. This year’s artists represent a range of disciplines, including painting, photography, jewelry, glass and fiber art.
“I love that visitors get to talk with the artists and see their tools,” says Lin Clark, coordinator of the event that began in 2013. “It’s an intimate experience.”
Artists’ studios will be open from 11am–5pm on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25. All art is for sale. The studios are between Quebec and Havana, from Montview Blvd. to the Conservatory Green neighborhood. Visitors are invited to pick up a tour map/brochure at Abode & Co. in Northfield, or download it at stapletonopenstudios.com.
The public is also invited to the opening reception on Friday, Sept. 23 from 6–8pm at The Cube in North Stapleton. “All the artists will be there and each will bring one piece to show,” said Clark.
Two artists on the tour are painter Hunter Jay and photographer Michael Holtby. Though each focuses on different subject matter, both are passionate about their art and message.
Michael Holtby has travelled to 35 countries with his camera. His One Planet One People project celebrates the indigenous cultures he experiences. “Like Edward Curtis in the 19th century documented the American Indian tribes before they were gone, I hope to document cultures around the world that may be gone in 50 years.”
He said cultures are being homogenized by globalization and the internet. “Their uniqueness is being lost, along with many languages. Natives in Papua New Guinea who wore colorful clothing now wear jeans and T-shirts. I focus on cultures and wildlife that won’t be around when my grandson has kids.”
Holtby hopes to emphasize the connections between people. “My work honors diversity but essentially we are all one family. We are more similar than different. We are all one people and our home is only one planet.”
Holtby looks forward to showing his work at the Open Studios Tour. “When people look at my work, they want stories—every photo has a story,” said Holtby. “I hope it inspires them to travel.”
Hunter Jay specializes in realistic painting of natural elements. Working in acrylics, Jay is drawn to smaller subjects in close-up. “When I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a microscope for Christmas,” Jay said. “The best thing was getting a good look into an infinitely tiny magical world. It’s easy to overlook the small things, but painting them brings them into focus. When you really look at an aspen leaf you see its color variations, how this leaf is different from any other leaf. I also love to paint water: creeks, rivers, the ocean.”
He said he hopes people feel calm and peaceful when they see his paintings. “My goal is to present the world I see and am drawn to in nature—I hope to communicate that. Nature has a purity that is the same now as it has been for thousands of years. Peacefulness comes from that, without anything added.”
Clark said this event illustrates the power of one-on-one relating between the artists and visitors. “Talking with artists takes the intimidation out of art. The studio is an atmosphere of seeing firsthand and asking questions. People love it.”
As Stapleton grows, so does the number of artists, says Clark. “Artists are good for the community because they give back. Their openness and creativity drive them to share and bring beauty into the world.”
For more information, see stapletonopenstudios.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cube is at 8371 Northfield Blvd., Suite C.; Abode & Co. is at 8210 Northfield Blvd., Suite 1250. For more about Michael Holtby, see DenverPhotography.com. For more about Hunter Jay, see wildernesscreekcreations.com.