Labor Day Weekend
September 5 and 6, 2015
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The 2015 Studio Tour is an opportunity to meet professional Santa Barbara artists and learn more about their creative process. You are invited to create your own self-guided driving tour through the charming neighborhoods and backroads of Santa Barbara where you can visit the private studios of award-winning artists.

 “The Open Studio Tour gives art collectors and enthusiasts a rare chance to experience art outside of a gallery or museum setting…meeting face-to-face with the artists who create these pieces,” says Francis Scorzelli, the Santa Barbara Studio Artists Board President.

In case you are wondering about the proper etiquette when you enter an artist’s personal space to view their work, Cara Ober, in Open Studio Tour Etiquette for Artists and Visitors, has compiled a list of helpful hints “to keep your day upbeat, and even inspirational, with a minimum of faux passes.” Here are a few of her suggestions:

1. Know Your Purpose. Are you coming to purchase or coming to browse? Either one is fine, but it is good to be clear. Artists are happy to talk to you about their work and are thrilled if you purchase it, but mixed signals are downright awkward. Be clear about your purpose with the artists you visit, if it comes up.
2. DO ask questions. Artists LOVE to talk about themselves – and their work. And their friends and families are sick of hearing about it. Trust me, you won’t look dumb. They will bask in the glow of your interest and their genius. This is a must.

3. The Food: Snacking is fine, but don’t eat all the food and don’t drink all the wine. You art lurkers out there – you KNOW who you are! You come to every event and graze at the food table. You never ever buy art, and hardly ever look at it. Please remember — the artists had to PAY to be part of the tour, and have paid for the food. Just be polite. This is a studio – not a smorgasbord.

4. The Terror: What secretly terrifies would-be studio tour visitors? If an artist suddenly asks, expectantly, “So what do you think of my work?” And then your brain freezes up and you think, Ohhhhhh God. OhGodOhGodOhGod. What do I say? Most of us are not schooled in ‘art-speak.’ Usually I have no idea what I think – I need more time, but you can’t SAY this because it sounds mean. 
So, what is an appropriate response? …Take the political debate approach: Don’t answer the question! Instead, ask THEM a different question…Ask them about their process. Ask the artist what their inspiration was for a certain piece. If pressed, tell them you think the work is “intriguing.” But DON’T say anything else, because you’re walking on butterfly wings and broken dreams.

5. As Michael Jordan says, Just Do It. Or was that Nike? Either way, this event is free. It is a lot of fun. Seeing an artist’s studio, even after serious cleaning, is so different than seeing their work in a show. This is a unique opportunity. 
An added tip:  Get great food ‘TO GO’ ….. Available at On the Alley to take with you on your self-guided tour.