34th annual Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour this weekend
MUSKOKAN - The idea of a studio tour is so simple, so straightforward, that it’s easy to forget it was once something new.
But when the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour began 34 years ago, it was a radical departure from the way art had been seen and shown in the past.
In fact, Muskoka was the first place in Canada where a group of artists all opened up their studios on the same weekend and invited visitors to come and tour, not just to see the work but to see where the work was created.
The success of that initial tour was so great that, 34 years later, it is hard to imagine autumn without the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour. Thousands of visitors will drive the region in an event that combines the best of sight-seeing, arts tourism and socializing.
The tour is so popular, in fact, that it’s held over two weekends: Sept. 22 to 23, and 29 to 30 this year, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
The artists featured on the tour are all professionals who work in a wide range of media including fibre, wood, glass, metal, clay, photography, drawing and painting. The tour is a unique opportunity to meet the artists, to learn how and where they work, and to experience a wide range of creativity.
Some of the original members from that first tour are still exhibiting, but there have also been changes through the years, and opportunities for new artists to join. The mix of old and new is a popular element of the tour, since repeat visitors can see what a favourite artist has been doing in the past year, while also getting a glimpse of work they’ve never seen before.
Not surprisingly, many of the artists depict natural images in their work, but each interprets the subject in different ways, from realistic to stylized or impressionistic. It is fascinating to see how imagery can be expressed in wood, metal, glass or fibre, as well as in various painting media.
Other tour members are primarily concerned with form and surface, or expressing emotion through their work. Many create functional items of elegant simplicity. On the tour, visitors will find work suitable for both contemporary and more traditional settings.
The tour covers the entire District of Muskoka. There’s no charge to take part, and visitors are welcome to plan their own route. A brochure with map is available widely at local businesses as well as on the official website (muskokaautumnstudiotour.com).
On the tour days, signs with the official Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour logo will lead drivers from primary roads to the studio locations, making it easy to find the studios.
The tour is so popular that it’s held over two wee