On October 5 ArtEast will be awarded the 2017 Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award. The ArtEast Open Studio Tour is a community-based, artist-centered, public art project. ArtEast was originally formed to bring attention to, and highlight, the arts and artist activity in eastern Dutchess County. In their eleventh year of presenting the Open Studio Tour and other artist collaborations, ArtEast is successfully fulfilling the original purpose.
Artists from Dover, Wingdale, Poughquag, Hopewell Junction, Pawling, Patterson, and Holmes will participate in 2017. Mediums include, but are not limited to, painting, photography, iphoneography, woodworking, murals, sculpture, pottery, fiber arts, bird houses and jewelry making.
Lonna Kelly, an original member and manager of ArtEast, got the call from Linda Marston Reid, Executive Director of Arts Mid-Hudson, announcing the award. “Growing ArtEast to a yearly, regional attraction, has been challenging,” Kelly says. “But with an active group of artists and a supportive community we have seen growth every year.”
Artists are self-selected, and ArtEast strives to be inclusive. Participating artists are at different stages in their art lives. They are working professional artists and artists holding down full time jobs in other fields. As a group they manage and promote the tour with each artist volunteering their time and expertise.
During the open studio tour, artists open their doors to the public, showing their work in their studios, barns, galleries, homes, and garages. They greet their guests and speak to them about the work they are showing, what inspires them, the media and the techniques they use to create their work. Artwork is for sale, but that does not outweigh the emphasis on increasing awareness and building relationships by welcoming guests and making them comfortable in the artists’ environment.
As ArtEast has grown, the artist community has developed a local and regional following. Art teachers in some of the area schools provide extra credit assignments to students who often visit and conduct mini interviews with artists. In 2016 ArtEast welcomed guests from Dutchess, Westchester, Putnam, Queens, Manhattan, Upstate New York, and Connecticut.
There have been many positive outcomes for the artists, as well, including gallery shows, invitations to join high-quality member galleries, artwork used in a movie production, video interviews, and the development of a community of artists who work together.
ArtEast will have a booth at the Pawling Farmers Market on Saturday, September 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The ArtEast Open Studio Tour will be held October 14 – 15 and October 21 – 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. More information is available at ArtEastDutchess.com.