When you see a painting, a sculpture, a piece of piece of woodwork, do you ever wonder what went into it?
How the artist found inspiration?
How they summoned a landscape, a face or a figure from some paint, some clay, some chunks of mahogany?
The 2017 Tour de Arts aims to answer those questions.
The self-guided studio and venue tour links Tri-City artists and art lovers — opening up the creative process and inspiring conversation and connection.
It runs Oct. 20-21, with a closing event on Oct. 22.
“It’s a great event for the community,” said Pam Sharp, one of the organizers. “You’ll learn a lot about how art is produced, the stories behind the art — why someone chose to take this particular photo, to paint that particular flower. You can say you’re personally connected with not only the art, but the artist.”
Tour de Arts grew out of Cyber Art 509, an online artist cooperative. The event made its debut last year, with 36 artists showing work at 22 venues.
This year, it’s grown to 46 artists and 27 venues.
Some of the artists, like Sharp — known for her watercolor wildlife work — will be stationed at their personal studios. Others will set up shop at a winery or similar venue for the tour.
Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 20-21, with some winery venues opening at 11 a.m. The tour is free of charge, with a studio and venue map available at 509tourdearts.com.
The studios and venues are in the Tri-Cities and Benton City area.
Tour de Arts concludes on Oct. 22 with a plein air show and sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hamilton Cellars, 55410 N. Sunset Road., Benton City. It’s free and open to the public.
Artists included on the tour range from painters and photographers to sculptors, wood workers, potters, glass artists and paper artists.
Some have been selling their work for years, while others are newer to the art world.
All the artists are from the region, within the 509 area code.
Maja Shaw, another organizer, said the area is full of artistic talent, and Tour de Arts allows that to shine.
“Exposure is important for artists,” said Shaw, a watercolorist. “We work away in our studios, and then the challenge is, how do we let other people know what we’ve done? To be able to show that and interact with people as they see our art — to get an idea of how our art is received and to get feedback” is a great thing.
It’s good for the art lover, too, Sharp added.
“Art is a personal thing. When you go and buy a piece of art, it has to make a connection to you. It helps to have the artist right there, telling his or her story,” she said. “A piece of original art has a soul and spirit in it. There’s an underlying thread that goes with it.”
For more on Tour de Arts, go to 509tourdearts.com.