Love Art? Come On In!


More than 225 visual artists across Sacramento will open their workspaces to visitors over two weekends in September during Sac Open Studios, one of the most anticipated and well-attended art events of the year. The tour, which is organized by Verge Center for the Arts, offers a rare glimpse into the private spaces where painters, sculptors, printmakers, ceramists and other artists create their work.

“It’s a really kind, gracious group of people who are opening their homes, in many cases, and their hearts, and you can feel that when you go on the tour,” says tour organizer Ariana Young, public programs manager at Verge. “It is a really unique opportunity to experience that part of the artist’s life. They’re literally welcoming you into their creative space. I think it’s a really brave thing to do.”

We asked Young and two others close to the event for their tips on how to make the most of a visit to an artist’s studio.

Branch out
Cheryl Holben, an interior designer and founding organizer of Sac Open Studios, recommends visiting at least one studio with art outside your normal area of interest. “If you only like landscapes, go see an abstract artist. If you only like painting, go to a sculptor’s studio. You still may not like it, but you’ll have a better understanding about it.” And don’t be afraid to ask the artist questions. “It can be a simple question, like what inspired this piece,” says Holben. “It’s fascinating to hear everything about the artist’s process.”

Pardon the dust
Liv Moe, founding director of Verge, urges tour goers to embrace the studio experience in all its messy glory. “I’ve sometimes heard people say that a studio was cluttered or had a lot going on,” says Moe, “but this is the artist’s workplace, not a gallery. Visiting it is your opportunity to see the way their mind works. You get to see all the ingredients that made that piece of art happen. And you can sort of feel like you had this communion with that person, which is one of the best things about the open-studios experience.”

Be adventurous
Young’s advice: “Start your tour at Verge. It’s a fun show, and seeing the artwork in person really helps you plan your visits.” From there, you can choose your own adventure. “The beauty of the tour is you can make it as small or big as you want,” says Young. “You can go out to brunch with friends and then hit two studios. Or you can pick an area of Sacramento County that you’ve never been to and start exploring.”—Catherine Warmerdam

Box this:
Sac Open Studios
Sept. 6–30 Preview exhibition at Verge
Sept. 8–9 Studios west of Business 80/Highway 99
Sept. 15–16 Studios east of Business 80/Highway 99