Arts scene — Annual event throughout Yamhill County provides insight into artists lives and work

For 21 years the Art Harvest Studio Tour has given the public a chance to peek into local artists’ lives. What James Nelson said started as a grassroots organization’s dream to open the art world to the public has blossomed into the oldest studio tour in Oregon.

“We kind of started the whole idea to get kids in school to learn about art making and for the public to un­der­stand artists and their works,” said the Art Harvest tour coordinator. “There’s a lot of curiosity about ar­tists.”by: SUBMITTED - Myrna Anderson is one of 39 artists participating in the Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County Oct. 4-6 and 11-13. This painting, ‘Who's the Fairest,' is a piece she displayed during last year's tour.

Art Har­vest is hosting 39 artists this year, displaying their work and studios across the length and breadth of Yamhill County. New to the tours this year are public exhibits at multiple locations displaying work before the tours begin. The largest of these is from Sept. 25 until Oct. 13 at the Chehalem Cultural Center, where Nelson said each artist will preview two pieces.

While the tours may be focused on providing the public with an understanding of artists and their world, Art Harvest also works to bring art to local children and open their studios during the week for additional tours.

Kathy Thompson, a New­berg mosaics artist, said it’s a wonderful way to expose kids to art. “I’m always amazed at their questions and how they relate my art to their lives,” she said.

Thompson said she’s been involved with Art Harvest for about 10 years with her fa­vorite aspect being the studio tours.

“Visitors can actually see how art is made,” she said. “In my case I can demonstrate that my mosaics are much more than break­ing china dishes and gluing them to a surface. I ac­tually make my tiles from rolled out clay. I walk those who are in­terested through the entire process and whether they buy something or not, they leave with more than they came with.”

James Morehead, a Newberg oil and acrylic painter, got involved with Art Harvest after attending as a visitor.

“I loved talking with the artists and seeing their studios,” he said. “My family and I talked it over and built the studio so I could participate. I continue because I believe in its value to the community and I enjoy meeting art enthusiasts.”

Nelson said although he can’t pick a favorite artist — he said it would be like picking a favorite child — he enjoys the variety the artists bring to the tours.

“It’s important that the public get to see the variety,” he said. “Some are self taught and some have master’s degrees, but no one is better than the others. They’re all developing artists and growing through their work.”

For those who haven’t attended in the past, Nelson said it’s nothing like a gallery opening. No one will be wearing suits and no one will be pushing to sell their work.

“You can see the landscape, some serve some food, they make visiting friendly,” he said. “It will be more like, ‘This is my work and if you want to buy I’d love to sell to you.’ Some do well, others don’t. It’s just the way it is.”

Admission requires a button that can be purchased at five different locations for $7. Studios are open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 4-6 and 11-13.

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