Studio ARTour allows glimpse of artists and their work environments by Renee Brown

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Studio ARTour allows glimpse of artists and their work environments

The Studio ARTour offers a unique perspective for those who have not seen an artist’s personal work space before.

It involves local artists from Northfield, Faribault and Farmington who open their studio doors for a weekend to allow the public to explore their workplaces and to talk directly with the artists.

This is the 12th annual year for the Studio ARTour, which will showcase 40 artists at 21 studios in the southern Minnesota area.

Judy Saye-Willis, one of the artists and co-chairs for this year’s ARTour, noted that no one person is in charge of everything.

“We put together what needs to get done,” she said. This includes taking care of distributing brochures, creating proofs and raising awareness, blogging, marketing, setting up registration and promoting their sponsors.

It is not just the studios and artists that draw people in, but the variety of styles that are used as well. The tour offers a diverse range of mediums such as ceramics, paint, glass, beads, metals, wood, fabrics, dyes, photography and many more.

This year, the Studio ARTour received a Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) grant along with business sponsors. Saye-Willis noted that most years they do not have grant money, so it’s the artist’s fees and the business sponsors that help fund the tour.

“The planning stages start right after the tour and registration is in March,” she added. “By the time we get to this time of year the work is pretty much done.”

Some of the artists have participated for many years, while others will be joining the tour for this first time. David Allen, a painter and sculptor, is one of those who is new this year. His take on the upcoming tour is that it would be different from the art shows he normally attends in several ways.

“In an art show you bring what you think you can sell,” he said. “With this, you can show people the things you don’t normally bring to attention in shows.”

His hope is that this kind of experience will have a positive impact and that he will form new relationships with customers through meeting them in person.

“It’s not just about the sales,” Allen added. “It’s a fun thing to show people who you are and what you do.”

Showing off the artist behind the work is something that Sue Hammes-Knopf looks forward to as well. She is one of the co-chairs for the tour and is the artist behind Full Bloom Beadwork.

“I love to be able to show in my own space because I’m free from the physicality of setting up an art fair booth,” Hammes-Knopf added. “I just put out my work, invite people in, we have a nice time, and many people purchase and it’s a nice variety from being in the art fair booth.”

Kathy Miller, who paints with watercolors, also enjoys inviting people into her studio for similar reasons. She has participated in the Studio ARTour for six years.

“I like the fact that it’s indoors, in a controlled environment, and I have all of my art supplies there so I can readily demonstrate,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful, it brings people from all over to the area so they’re learning what a strong art community Northfield and Faribault and other areas are.”

A list of all of the artists, the mediums they work with and a detailed map can be found on the Studio ARTour’s website at

What: 12th Annual Studio ARTour


  • Some studios: Oct. 14 from 4 – 8 p.m.
  • Oct.15 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Local artist’s studios