Now that hot weather is only a thing of memory, and all of us art-loving desert rats begin to shake off that summer siesta mindset we suddenly notice that Tucson’s events calendar has become very full, seemingly overnight. Tomorrow and Sunday, and hard on the heels of last weekend’s splendid All Souls Procession, comes the fall Open Studio Tour, organized by the Tucson Pima Arts Council.
The fall Open Studio Tour is one of the highlights of the year and, as usual, TPAC has produced an informative and comprehensive guide to the event. On their website you can view an alphabetical listing of participating artists, download a guide in PDF, or else pick up a complimentary printed map/guide/calendar in person at any of the participating studios.
This year my great friends Lisa Marie and Suzanne Morrison are on the tour for the first time. The sisters are both colleagues and associates of mine and I am a fan of their work. Lisa Marie, the owner of Sirocco Design, is a brilliant silversmith and jeweler and her handmade silver creations are unique, fun and thoughtful in their execution. Suzanne works for my company Aerolite Meteorites as a studio and science photographer and is an accomplished fine art photographer in her own right. She is also the owner of Backcountry Photography and just returned from several weeks on the road working as location photographer for my TV series Meteorite Men. In addition to fine art prints and intriguing silver jewelry, the Morrisons will be offering a selection of handmade clasps, bead strands, findings and pendants, gems, and rock and mineral specimens from around the world at wholesale prices. Two Tucson originals, you can visit both of them Saturday and Sunday at 404 South Cherry (two blocks west of Campbell; three blocks south of Broadway and convenient to all Downtown studios) from 11 am to 5 pm. Oh, and there will be wine!
In June, I profiled visionary photographer Stu Jenks here in The Logical Lizard. In addition to being one of the Southwest’s most gifted and spiritual artists, Stu is a remarkable ambient musician. He’s a fine storyteller too and is sure to make you feel welcome. See Stu’s latest work at the Old Arts District Studios, 549 North 7th Avenue, including some lovely framed pieces bargain-priced at under $200, along with advance copies of his new publication Hoop Dancing: Book Two. Please note: Stu was a last-minute addition to the tour and is not listed in the official guide but he’ll be there live and in person Saturday and Sunday.
Another local favorite of mine is Molly of Molly Phoenix Glassworks (I have a Molly Phoenix glass spaceship hanging over my bar). This year, The Silver Palate cookbook inspired her and visiting artist Marion Chubon to prepare “light fare and warm libations to keep you going.” Molly designs and builds a delightful line of stained glass artwork, ideal for gifts or for decorating your sunny Tucson retreat. She writes: “It is uncommon for me to have visitors in my studio. It is one of those sacred places where magical things happen . . . The sun provides warmth and rainbows when it passes through the prisms in the west facing window. If there was room for a comfy chair you can guarantee there would be one in the corner with a half full cup of coffee next to it with a pencil or two hiding under the cushion. This weekend it will be wonderful to share this with you.” Find her at 1315 North 5th Avenue (look for signs near 5th Ave & Speedway, and Stone & Drachman).
And that quick intro covers just a handful of local talents I know and like, out of over 160 working artists who will be opening up their personal studios and workspaces this weekend. Many offer snacks and drinks, along with great deals when you buy artwork directly from them during the tour. Get outside, enjoy the moody fall weather, see some original work, visit a studio, immerse yourself in our kooky and vibrant arts scene. And, if you can afford it, please help support a struggling local artist by purchasing something totally Tucson. Times are really tough for many of our most talented.