So you want to experience Portland Open Studios over the next two weekends (Oct 14-15 and 21-22). You’ve got a choice of 103 artists to visit over four days. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that planning for your tour might help.
Start by picking up our tour guide: You can download a free phone app, or one with more bells and whistles for $5.99. Or you can buy our commemorative full-color print guide for $15 at New Seasons, most art stores, and other select retail locations. The guide is organized by communities (there are eight communities this year), and includes maps and addresses of participating artist studios in each community. You can find artists by location, by medium, or by name!
We talked to two long-time tour goers, Sharee Schreiner and Diane Hunt, to get some advice on how to best do Portland Open Studios. Some practical tips:
- Plan ahead. Spend some time deciding which artists you want to visit. Diane does this by getting familiar with the tour guide during the weeks before the tour (specifically, she keeps it on her passenger seat in the car, and skims the guide while stopped at traffic lights). Sharee determines whom she might be interested in visiting by perusing the guide, then going online and researching those earmarked artists, and by visiting their personal websites. Once you decide whom you want to visit, mark them on the calendar, and plan your tour around the map itself, maximizing the experience. You can also buy the phone app for $5.99, and mark favorites (it will automatically give you driving directions).
- Don’t be shy, ask questions. The artists have been preparing for this tour for months, and they have a lot to share with you. Just let them know what interests you.
- Expect a really personal experience. Immerse yourself in the fun of it. Especially if you buy something. Says Diane: If you go into each studio in the right frame of mind, you’re not just buying a piece of art, you are buying the story of your encounter with the artist. When we visited her house, Diane had a story for each piece of art she bought during the Portland Open Studios tour.
- If something grabs you, buy it. There’s a good chance that if you don’t, it won’t be there when you come back. “I have missed things,” says Diane ruefully. Remember that many of these artists will let you buy a piece in installments if you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask about an installment plan
- Follow us on Instagram (pdxopenstudios) and watch for chances to win prizes during the tour.
- Be respectful to the artist and their space, because in so many cases the studio is their home. You’re going into someone’s private space, so it’s important to be respectful of that.