Every year artists open their studios up to the public, folks can come by, meet the artist, see where they work, sip some wine and nibble on snacks. It is a blast and the first time I heard about this was in Santa Cruz in 1990. Even then, folks were mostly driving between the studios. Limits the wine sipped, oh, and parking is a pain (especially in Santa Cruz). So, in the 30 years since Open Studios, now the hubs of Open Studios are San Francisco and Oakland. Makes sense, but not all artists live or work in those two spots. After being treated as an afterthought by the Bay Area Open Studio Tour, some enterprising artists, Dennis Baker, Anne Giancola, and the members of AVA (Alliance for Visual Arts) decided to put together their own Open Studio Tour, just for Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin.
This November, AVA is hosting it’s first ever Open Studio Tour for just the Tri Valley. Over 50 participating artists are sharing their work at the home, studios, galleries, and friend’s houses. There are sculptors, painters, printmakers, jewelers, glass blowers, and more. All of these artists are accomplished and experienced, the work can and may include any style: classical, abstract, surreal, Pop art, and so on. Touring open studios is a blast, even if you know nothing about art. It is a peek into another world, another culture. The best part is that it is free. No sign ups, no entry forms, no payment.
My first visit to Pleasanton, Livermore, and what little there was to Dublin, was biking through way back in 1993 during my first Cinderella Classic, an organized bike ride for women only, a 60-ish mile ride circling the valley. Even then, the terrain and roads were easy to navigate. Now, all three communities have stepped up to support cyclists: weighted stop lights, dedicated bike lanes, paved paths (Iron Horse & Arroyo Trails), and a slew of bike shops. Once I signed up for the Tri Valley Artist Studios I knew we needed a bike tour. Several Bike tours: Not everyone can or wants to bike through all the locations in one day (but there will be that ONE guy).
So, stay tuned, while I pedal my way to building up a practical bike route between these studios. If you want to join me or help me with the route, I have created a Club on Strava: The Tri Valley Art Tour by Bike! If you are not a Strava person, let me know. I will also be mapping via Google and check back here.