SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The annual Open Studios, a free self-guided tour of area art studios, opened last weekend and will run this weekend and the following.
The event, in its 34th year, invites the public into more than 300 artist studios across Santa Cruz and North Monterey County.
Produced by the Arts Council Santa Cruz County, the tour sets the stage for a rare opportunity for the public to wander into the place where art is created, meet artists and learn about their process.
Open Studios is also an informal arena to meet neighbors and visit a new part of the county. The format allows visitors to stop by one studio or make a day of touring numerous studios.
“I’ve been doing Open Studios for the past 30 years,” said Margaret Rinkovsky while welcoming guests to her studio during the tour Sunday in Santa Cruz. “One of my favorite things about the tour is meeting people, learning from them and being able to share my art. I like to meet and talk with people. I’ve even had students from years ago come and track me down; that means a lot to me.”
Rinkovsky said she taught painting, drawing and art appreciation for 30 years at Cabrillo College. She also taught for five years at UC Santa Cruz in their art department. Her art teaching also includes three years at Stanford University. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she went on to earn a Master in Fine Art and Painting from UCLA.
“Open Studios is the best thing for a community our size; it’s absolutely wonderful,” she said.
The South County chapter of the tour runs Saturday and Sunday. The All County phase takes place Oct. 19 and 20.
“So far, everything is going great,” said Ann Ostermann, Open Studios director. “The guides are flying off the shelves and that’s a good sign. I went out over the weekend and stopped by several studios and it definitely felt vibrant.”
New this year are car door magnets that artists can slap on their car doors. The signs read, “Open Studios in October. Visit my studio.”
“There are almost 100 of the magnet signs out there; it’s kind of cool — something different,” Ostermann said.
There is no cost for visiting a studio. Artwork is for sale on the tour.
Artists were selected by a jury of seven arts professionals — all from outside of Santa Cruz County — based on their anonymous application.
For information, studio locations and a list of artists, visit santacruzopenstudios.com.