20th Annual Sedona Open Studio Tour is April 28-30

20th Annual Sedona Open Studio Tour is April 28-30

Springtime in Sedona means the annual Open Studios Tour is open for business…and more!

Artist: Ed Krish: Cathederal Glow: Photography

This year the much anticipated event will include artist studios in Sedona, Cornville, Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Camp Verde. The Tour’s co-chairs are clay artist Mike Upp and painter Julie Ronning Talbot who are counting the days until Open Studios 2023 kicks off the weekend of April 28-30. “Astounding, gratifying, exciting,” are words both say pretty much describe the phenomenal growth of the 20-year-old Open Studios Tour.

The tour is sponsored by the Sedona Visual Artists Coalition (SVAC) and always happens the last weekend in April every year.  “First of all, the whole Open Studios concept is a big deal everywhere,” co-chair Mike Upp explains, noting that over the past ten years he’s met and talked with Open Studios organizers all over the country and they all say what makes it unique and fascinating for visitors is people can get the up close and personal experience an Open Studios tour offers. “It’s just a great time and place where art lovers can literally go right into the artist’s working studio and see exactly what they do and how they do it.  What’s more, they can purchase something original, creative, and gorgeous directly from the artist.”  And why not? It’s a unique experience featuring 48 different Individual artists this year!  Not only that, it’s fun and a great way to enjoy a drive through the spectacular scenic countryside of the Verde Valley.

Artist: Melanie Chambers Hartman: Cathedral Reflections: Oil Painting

As with many of the Open Studios long time participating artists, both Talbot and Upp have developed a significant presence within the venue. Upp and his artist wife Sharon own the Earth and Fire Ceramics Studio in Cornville and have built a base of happy customers who literally mark their calendars every year so they won’t miss this special annual weekend event. Easy to see how this would make the heart of an artist swell with pride and gratitude, especially when the repeat customers are thrilled to add a ringing endorsement for their Open Studios experience. Sue Maiden says she likes it because besides seeing great art, she loves the educational opportunity to learn something new every time she stops by.  

Pictured: Visitors at Darleene Nelson's Studio

“We stopped by Mike and Sharon Upp’s studio in Cornville and from the minute we walked into the studio we loved it. Everything we saw was beautiful -- mugs, wine coasters, dinnerware. We bought some things and he explained all about Open Studios and then all about how he makes pots,” she says. “To tell you the truth, I was pleasantly surprised because he seemed so delighted we were there and took the time to describe and explain his process, Sharon too. I learned so much about the procedures and the complexity of glazing.  Mike talked about how he gets his ideas, demonstrated the construction and glazing too.  “All the artists on the Tour are so sharing and friendly, which makes it a very special way to learn and shop.”

Artist: Grazina Wade: Snow Day: Photography

That sentiment is echoed by Elizabeth Yancy, a longtime Sedona resident and avid art collector who tries to get to Open Studios every year, “just to see what’s fun and new this year.” Catching up with one of her favorite artists makes it even better. She says she loves Julie Talbot’s watercolors and isn’t a bit shy about describing them in glowing terms like “amazing, refined, elegant and vibrant.” She especially likes Talbot’s florals. “I just love beauty and in my opinion, what Julie does is the hallmark of true beauty, her paintings are just so alive” she says, “and really, you just don’t find that very often in flower paintings. Her ability to bring the painting to life, the variety of expression and her execution of detail is just about perfect.”

Open Studio visitors agree the event is a way to experience the creative process as a real hands-on learning event, with the invitation to watch a demo as a top draw, even if it’s something as basic as exploring the variety of artist’s tools used in creating the beauty on display-- from brushes, cameras, canvas, paper, paint, kilns, glass, fibers. “There’s really no way not to be charmed, beguiled, and thrilled with something different, special, original or custom in whatever your favorite medium is, be it glass, ceramics, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, painting, drawings, photography, fiber, weaving, mixed media, silks…it’s all here!” Talbot and Upp cheerfully promise.

 “What Open Studios is really about is providing a platform for local artists to shine, offering a one-of-a-kind art experience for art lovers and helping to foster a regional community that values the arts,” says Upp. “It’s a real testament to the thriving vitality of the arts community in the Verde Valley.”  For more on scheduling, artists, locations, and other details there will be  brochures with a complete list of participating artists, including a map available at Verde Valley businesses, hotels and restaurants as well as the Sedona Arts Center and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in Uptown.  All this information can be found on-line at http://sedonaartistscoalition.org or contact Mike Upp at 503.789.4437 or mjupp10@gmail.com.