Just as the fall colours start to brighten up the Kawarthas, so too will the artworks on display during the upcoming Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour in September.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Peterborough, and now in its 39th year, the studio tour — one of the longest running in Canada — takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 23rd and 24th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
During the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour, visitors will be able to browse (and buy) the work of 47 artists in 36 studio locations across the Peterborough-Kawarthas region. Each studio will offer artwork available for purchase, and visitors will also have a rare chance to interact with the artists themselves.
VIDEO: 2023 Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour
“It’s a really amazing opportunity for people to go and see what it’s like in an artist studio,” says Andrew Ihamaki, Education Programming Coordinator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. “To have that chance to go in and see the working space of an artist studio really demystifies the process. It’s such an accessible way for people to get a chance to really engage with art, especially local art in our community.”
Ihamaki explains that, while some people enjoy viewing art in a formal gallery setting like the Art Gallery of Peterborough, others prefer the more casual environment of a studio tour. For the artists themselves, a studio tour gives them an opportunity to connect with art enthusiasts they would otherwise not meet in person.
“People come from all over the community and from all over the province, and sometimes internationally too,” he says. “They’re coming to see their work, so artists are gaining connections and building an audience.”
The tour is self-guided, meaning visitors get to decide for themselves which studios they want to visit and when, and which artists they want to interact with. With such a wide selection of professional artists covering a range of mediums, there’s no shortage of places to visit — and all participating artists work within the region.
“Every single artist you see here lives and works in this community,” explains Ihamaki, adding that some are sharing studio space to make the tour more accessible.
“That’s a unique factor for the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour. While other studio tours have guest artists that come from far away, this is an entirely one hundred per cent local tour.”
Not sure where to begin? Pop into the Art Gallery of Peterborough to see the preview exhibition and grab a brochure, or download the free Toureka! app to your smartphone (available for both iOS and Android).
The locally developed app allows you to browse through biographies and art pieces from each of the participating artists on the tour. From there, select the studios you want to visit and plan, track, and navigate your own art adventure.
Several new artists have been juried into this year’s Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour, including Megan Cole. As a self-taught portrait sculptor who is inspired by classic European work, Cole is offering a unique form of artwork that hasn’t been thoroughly explored through the tour in the past.
“Megan is bringing a new element to the tour, blending the traditional ceramics that we see with that more traditional portraiture,” Ihamaki says. “It’s really exciting stuff and a little bit different. It’s adding a new flavour to this year’s tour.”
Cole’s studio is Tour Stop 18, located at 25 Albert Street in Lakefield.
Other artists new to the tour include photographer Heather Doughty (Tour Stop 7), acrylic painter Sarah St. Pierre (Tour Stop 8), jeweller and printmaker Tim Laurin (Tour Stop 10), and many more artists who cover a range of mediums.
Joining the artists who are new this year are artists who have been a part of the tour for years, with some working professionally for well over three decades such as oil painter Peer Christensen (Tour Stop 5).
“All of the artists that are on the tour are established in some way,” explains Ihamaki. “They have a studio where they’re producing and selling work. There’s a real mix of artists at various stages in their careers, but all of them are professional, practising artists.”
Providing visitors with even more opportunity to watch artists make their masterpieces and to learn about new forms and mediums, about half of the artists on the tour will be offering live demonstrations right out of their studios. Some of the artists who will be demonstrating their artmaking process include Lisa Martini-Dunk (Tour Stop 4, monotype printing and collage), Kira Robertson (Tour Stop 14, hand-fired glass), Corina Kiefert Chester (Tour Stop 26, print making), and Megan Ward (Tour Stop 17, oil painting).
“You can actually see the finished polished product versus where it started and you can see the process all the way through, which is really exciting,” Ihamaki says. “For a lot of the artists, the studio tour is about making connections with visitors and sharing something they’re so passionate about.”
Can’t wait for the tour and want a sneak preview of some of the artwork that will be on display in the studios throughout the weekend? Check out the “Selections: 39th Annual Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour” exhibit available now at the Art Gallery of Peterborough (250 Crescent St., Peterborough) and running until Sunday, October 1st.
“You’ll get to see a sample of every single artist’s work,” Ihamaki points out. “The artists bring in work that represents more of what you might expect when you go to their studio. It’s really exciting to see them all together displayed in the gallery.”
With over 5,000 people visiting the preview exhibit and another 5,000 visiting studios during the tour, the Art Gallery of Peterborough estimates the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour generates more than $100,000 in combined sales for the participating artists, with more sales following the tour in a ripple effect from the connections made during the tour weekend. As the Art Gallery of Peterborough does not receive any commission from art sales as a result of the tour, all revenues go directly to the artists.
Along with the financial benefit for the artists themselves, economic impact surveys estimate the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour generates another $650,000 for the local economy as a result of increased tourism.
The Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour is made possible thanks to the support of sponsors, including Tour Sponsor Limestone Inn Marmora and Gold Sponsor Birchview Design. The tour’s Silver Sponsors are The Art School of Peterborough, Grady’s Feet Essentials, The Art Shop Lakefield, The Cheesy Fromage, Buckhorn Festival of the Arts, and Lynn Woodcroft – Royal LePage. The tour’s Bronze Sponsors are Curated and Watson & Lou.
As well as downloading the Toureka! app, visitors can begin planning their tours by picking up a map brochure from the Art Gallery of Peterborough or at sponsor locations including Watson & Lou (383 Water St., Peterborough), Grady’s Feet Essentials (231 King St., Peterborough), the Art School of Peterborough (174A Charlotte St., Peterborough), The Cheesy Fromage (25 Queen St., Lakefield), and The Art Shop Lakefield (33 Queen St., Lakefield).
For a full list of artists participating in the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour on September 23 and 24, visit agp.on.ca/kast/. For information about the supporting exhibition on now at the Art Gallery of Peterborough, visit agp.on.ca/exhibitions/39th-kast-selections/.
For updates on the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour, you can sign up for the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s e-news or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
This branded editorial was created in partnership with the Art Gallery of Peterborough. If your organization or business is interested in a branded editorial, contact us.