When I was little, my parents loved going to art shows. A year didn’t go by when they didn’t visit the Powderhorn or Uptown art fairs, the Renaissance Festival, the Tangletown Art and Garden Tour or any other art showing they discovered in the local paper. While most often they were just fulfilling their love for art of all kinds by browsing, they also tended to go with a certain mission in mind—a new painting for the family room, a piece of stained glass that would fit near the stairwell, or a sculpture for a new garden my dad just created in the backyard. I have to admit, when I was ten years old, these outings weren’t my idea of fun, since it usually meant a lot of walking, a lot of people, and looking at something I wasn’t interested in. However, today I completely appreciate what they were doing. They were filling their home with locally made art, and that’s pretty awesome.
When I heard about the Studio ArTour of South Central Minnesota (this weekend, Oct. 20-21), I immediately thought that had the ArTour been around 20 years ago, my dad would’ve packed us into the car for a road trip to look at some local art. The tour is an eight-year-running co-operative event among artists who have studios in Cannon Falls, Northfield, and Faribault. Each October these artists open their doors and let the public come in and see them at work, ask them questions, and buy some pieces. The tour keeps growing, with 52 artists from 24 studios participating this year.
No matter what type of art you enjoy, it’s represented in the ArTour: ceramics, painting, jewelry, textiles, glass, metal, and wood. Plus, the artists themselves are amazing—well known in art circles, award winners, and nationally renowned teachers.
The tour is self-guided, so take a look at the map before you go. It probably isn’t possible to visit all the studios in one day, but it’s a great excuse to stay in Northfield overnight and finish it out the next day. The best part? It’s free! So, whether you’re looking for Christmas gifts, a little something for yourself, or to just expand the horizons of your pre-teen, the Studio ArTour surely won’t disappoint.