For the third year in a row, Louisville Visual Art will host Open Studio Weekend. On Saturday, November 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 15, from noon to 5 p.m., visitors will be able to visit over 100 artists studios in the community to see what the artists are up to and make purchases. We talked to Louisville Visual Art board member and Open Studio Weekend committee chair Marti Kuehn to learn more about the event and what it does for artists and the community as a whole.
How exactly did Open Studio Weekend come about?
After more than 40 years of an annual art auction fundraiser, Louisville Visual Art and Hite Institute decided it was time for fresh ideas. John Begley, who was at that time a Professor at Hite and a former director for LVA, suggested a tour of local artistâ€™s studios. For one low price of $20, you may purchase a ticket that includes a wristband and a listing for the artistâ€™s locations.
The event benefits the LVAâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Fine Art Classes as well as University of Louisville Hite Art Instituteâ€™s Mary Spencer Nay scholarship programs. Why are these such important causes?
We are training the next generation of artists, but whether or not a studentâ€™s ambition is to be an artist, visual art trains people to think more clearly, creatively problem solve and achieve more in their chosen field. Childrenâ€™s Fine Art Classes are unique in providing focused instruction to kids who have been recognized by professional art teachers as gifted in visual arts. At Hite, the Mary Spencer Nay Scholarship is awarded only to students from Kentucky high schools, so it follows the ideal of providing opportunities for training artists from this state.
Â This is the third year the event is taking place. It must be heartening to know that the event has gone from strength to strength, correct?
Absolutely! The interest from artists and the public increases each year. When it was first introduced, some people were uncertain as to what it would be and what impact it would have. There are probably some artists who felt hesitant to open up their workspace to the public. Where we create must be a safe place, and many people might feel protective about their studio. So visitors should appreciate what an opportunity this might be to visit these spaces.
Â What can people expect this year that may be new from last year?
More. The number of artistâ€™s participating jumped this year from 80 to 108! Thatâ€™s very gratifying because we feel this event benefits the artists directly. They have the opportunity to establish new relationships with collectors and sell work to a new audience. The first year, sales by artists in their studios was above $35,000, and that figure has only grown. Otherwise, they can count on a quality experience with artists such as Billy Hertz and Ann Stewart Anderson, both of whom will be available at Galerie Hertz, and it is just impossible to visit everyone in one year. So certainly Open Studio Weekend visitors in their third year still have studios to check off their list.
Â Aside from benefiting the LVA and UofL, there must be an external benefit to the wider arts community in Louisville as a whole, correct?
As much pride as we take in the arts in Louisville, visual arts are often defined by the number of galleries people are aware of, and Open Studio Weekend increases the communityâ€™s awareness of how large and active the network of artists actually is. 108 is still only a portion of the people making art in this city and the surrounding area, and I bet that comes a surprise to many. And the brief exhibit (November 6-15) at UofLâ€™s Cressman Center and LVAâ€™s PUBLIC gallery, which are only a block apart on Main Street, is arguably the single largest show of local artists in the area. Both galleries will have extended hours so the public will have a better chance to catch it!
Â How can people take part this year?
Visit the list of over 100 artists during Open Studio Weekend and support local Art Galleries! Tickets are available online atÂ louisvillevisualart.org/open-studio-weekend or at any one of the following locations: Louisville Visual Art, Cressman Center for Visual Arts, Commonwealth Bank & Trust, Gadabout Gallery, Kentucky Fine Arts Gallery, Preston Arts Center, Revelry Boutique Gallery and Silica Ceramic Studio. VT