The Pembina Valley Studio Tour will be celebrating its 15th year in September, and the organizers want as many artists as possible to join the event.
Committee member Susan Pharaoh said last year was a good year for the self-guided tour. 34 artists participated across the region, drawing in hundreds of visitors to their studios.
“We get lots of people from Winnipeg coming,” Pharaoh said. “People from North Dakota, they come through the Peace Gardens and make it a weekend tour. It’s really fabulous for the artists.”
Pharaoh (and her pottery) has been part of the tour for years out of her La Riviere studio. “Every year is amazing,” she said. “I get people coming back and it’s almost like I’ve got a bit of a following. Then they bring friends when they come through the tour and those friends then share that information and it becomes energy giving.”
“You’ve done the 12th mug or the 27th or the 170th mug and you feel like you’ve done this over and over again, but somebody’s got this look in their eye like, ‘This is special, this is made for me,’” she added. “You can see that people have put themselves in it. When you have the interaction with your audience, it makes your art that much better.”
Pharaoh said the interaction can influence artists and their process. “You get a feel for what people enjoy and the joy that they get from something that you’ve had a lot of pleasure creating,” she said. “You don’t do it in isolation, you do it so there’s a sense of getting out there and touching someone. It brings joy to anybody who participates as well as the people who come to view your art.”
The region is home to a large number of talented artists, and Pharaoh said events like the Studio Tour help showcase that talent to residents of the Pembina Valley and beyond.
Pharaoh said many artists and patrons don’t realize that artists can sell their art at the studio tour as well. “It becomes a get to know your customer, your audience in a sense and develop new contacts for artists,” she said.
Pharaoh said it doesn’t matter what kind of art artists are doing, or how small their studio is. “People that come just want to see your working space,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be clean. In fact, if it’s clean it’s a little bit disappointing. People are interested in anybody who has an artistic bend.”
Pharaoh mentioned quilting, fiber art, glass art and photography as some under-represented art forms at the tour, and urged those artists to join in.
“Anybody who has done anything can be happily engaged with this tour,” she said. “Anybody who has even maybe thought of it as a someday thing, bring it in. There’s lots of support.”
Pharaoh also encouraged artists who are new to the area to come out and join the tour.
If three or more artists register together, they will be considered a gallery and can save the cost of one registration.
The Studio Tour will run September 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and September 8 from 12 to 5 p.m. in Winkler, Morden, Carman, Altona and many locations around and in between.
The deadline for artists to register is March 15. To register or for more information contact tour chairperson Margie Hildebrand at (204) 822-6679 or pvstudiotour.com.
A registration form is available at pembinavalleystudiotour.com under Registration.