There is much behind the scenes work that goes on to prepare for an Open Studios event. On an organizational level, meetings for the Oracle tour started months ago. There’s getting the various artists to sign up and pay up. Yes, artists pay to be able to do these types of events in order to cover the costs of signage, advertising etc. There’s all of the publicity to write and disseminate. Decisions about the website, the brochures, the map. The hours, the date. The welcome center. The budget. And so on. Luckily, we’re an amiable group and seems to be able to accomplish it all without any shouting.

On an individual basis, there’s the creation of the artwork to be shown. Without that, well, there’s nothing. For me, we’re talking months of work. After the creation, comes the massive studio clean up. After this, is figuring out how to display of the work and then hanging it. Preparation of goodies for the massive (hopefully) crowd of attendees and art collectors is also part of the process. I made chocolate chip cookies, brownies, plus strawberries and grapes.

Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2011

Early Saturday morning. Photo by James Cowlin

Weeks ago, a friend told us to expect snow on April 9. I thought she was either being overly pessimistic or joking. Imagine my dismay on Saturday morning when I woke up to the return of winter. Grey skies. Wind. Cold. Something was coming out of the sky and it wasn’t rain. The snow started around 8 am and didn’t stop until late Saturday evening. It came down hard. Took a long time to start to stick, but what with the wind and the sloppy conditions, it seemed unlikely that many people would be venturing out.

And yet, they did. We had a small yet fairly steady stream of visitors on Saturday.

Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2011

The sun is shining, the snow is melting, the sign is readable. Photo by James Cowlin

Sunday dawned chilly. It looked like a winter wonderland outside. By noon, nearly all the snow was gone, leaving behind a rather soupy pathway. But the crowds came. We didn’t count the visitors to the studio, but occasionally so many people poured through the door that it looked like a bus had dropped them off. We met lots of friendly and interesting people, and talked like crazy all day.

By Sunday evening, I was barely functional. And guess what, we’re already starting to talk about how to improve the event for next year. For starters, I’m ordering warm and sunny weather.