Add Lexington to the growing number of communities with an artists’ studio tour.
The first Lexington/Rockbridge Studio Tour takes place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and April 22 along a 20-mile loop that starts in downtown Lexington, heads into the county and skirts the Jefferson National Forest before circling back.
The free tour features 11 studios where regional artists will show how their work gets made. Some of the studios have invited guest artists to participate, drawn from North Carolina, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, raising the total participating to more than 30. Sculpture, pottery, painting, prints, jewelry and photography are all part of the mix.
Susan Harb, who creates whimsical animals out of found objects, organized the tour. Her studio, a treehouse 15 feet up the air, promises to be one of the most unusual of the stops.
Harb credits fellow Lexington artist Marsha Heatwole with the idea for the tour. A painter and printmaker with a career that spans 30 years and a veteran of many outdoor shows, Heatwole wanted to hold an open house for her newly built studio and asked other artists if they wanted to take part.
She didn’t want to organize the event, however. Harb gladly volunteered when asked.
“Our plan was to select artists whose work we respected but who also have interesting studios, places that reflects the artists’ various approaches to their work,” Harb wrote in an email. “Lee Taylor has his pottery kiln outside a rebuilt log cabin, which is his showroom. Marsha’s studio is at the base of House Mountain down a gravel road which is also used by chickens, horses and dogs. Bill Johnston’s studio is atop Thorn Hill beside his historic 1792 plantation house.”
Twelve restaurants will provide food and wine to be served at the various studios, and a hotel and a bed and breakfast will offer discounts to visitors who want to make a weekend of the event.
Harb wrote that there’s a bonus for tourgoers who make it to all 11 studios. Their names go into a “Studio Lotto” drawing that makes them eligible to win $300 worth of art, redeemable with any participating artist.
“We only hope Mother Nature is over her tricks and the weather is perfect,” Harb wrote.
For maps of the tour and more information about the artists, visit lexingtonrockbridgestudiotour.com.