Third annual West Plains artists’ studio tou expanding after growth in 2011
By BECKY THOMAS
West Plains potter Adam Scoggin has a theory about why people like to tour artists’ studios. Regular folks with little art experience will ask detailed questions about the process of creating a work of art, but why? Scoggin says it’s simple curiosity.
“People love an opportunity to see where art is made, to see artists at work. They just love it,” he said. “They know that there’s tools and processes involved that are a mystery to them and they want to find out about it.”
Curious art lovers have the opportunity to visit eight different studios and to view and purchase work from 19 artists during the third annual Slightly West of Spokane Artists’ Studio Tour Nov. 24. The free tour features a driving loop to studios and shops in Medical Lake, Cheney and the West Plains that will be open all day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with artists on hand to explain their work, answer questions and, they hope, to sell a few pieces.
After heavy snow dampened turnout at the first tour in 2010, 2011 saw hundreds of people participate, with many stopping at each location, qualifying for a raffle. Tour coordinator and participating artist Janet Wilbanks said organizers are hoping to capitalize on last year’s success.
“It really is cool and exciting to offer something like this to the community and to have them respond,” she said.
This year’s tour features 19 artists working in a variety of mediums including pottery, jewelry, polymer clay, water color, acrylic, oil, charcoal, mixed media, photography and wood. Most stops on the tour feature more than one artist, many who are new to the tour.
Scoggin’s home studio Blue Heron Pottery, located just off Salnave Road, will be one of the stops. He will have his own pottery on display, including usable and decorative items and his signature “Ancestors” outdoor decorations. Scoggin will also feature two of his former pottery students, Michelle Snyder and Annette Axtell, as well as glass artist Ann Glynn, who creates unique and affordable fused glass jewelry.
“A lot of West Plains artists don’t have the retail connections, so this might be the only time they can get their stuff in front of a lot of people,” Scoggin said. “It’s always good to get that exposure.”
The event was modeled after Medical Lake artist Dennis Smith’s annual open studio day, which he has hosted the Saturday after Thanksgiving for many years. The tour was created to help more artists and get people out of the house and viewing local art on the holiday weekend. So far it’s been a success, and organizers are hoping for more to come.
“It’s really worth doing,” Scoggin said.
Signs will be posted on the route on Nov. 24, and detailed maps of the tour are viewable on the city of Cheney’s website. Visit cityofcheney.org and click on the “City Calendar” tab.
Becky Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.