The Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour is back for its 39th year, now one of the longest running studio tours in the country.
Andrew Ihamaki, education coordinator for the Art Gallery of Peterborough, which is the organizing body of the event, said it gives the public a behind-the-scenes look at the work and workspaces of local artists.
“You can walk into their studio — it’s free — that barrier isn’t there,” he said.
“It is such a wonderful opportunity for people to connect with artists in the community. It is just a drop in the bucket of the amazing and talented people we have in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.”
There are 37 stops along the self-guided tour. You can use a paper map, which is available at the Art Gallery of Peterborough, or use the Toureka! app to plan your route via your phone.
The stops span the city of Peterborough, Ont., Peterborough County and Lakefield and feature artists across a variety of mediums.
“There really is something for everyone,” Ihamaki said.
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“As part of this exhibition, we feature one work from every artist that is part of the tour, so it is a great way for people if they aren’t sure they can always start here and get a sense of what they might see at the studio.”
He said the event is also a big benefit for not only the arts community, but also the local tourism, adding organizers estimate the weekend tour has injected about $5 million into the economy in the past 10 years.
Just across town, the next stop on our own tour takes us to the studio of Peterborough painter, Peer Christensen.
Part of the tour since its early days, he said he enjoys connecting with the public and answering questions about his work.
“Part of the reason I paint is to engage people with ideas I have or things I’ve seen or put them in places I’ve been,” he said.
“This is a light study, featuring a tree just outside the window and this is an industrial landscape I have been working on,” he added, referring to two pieces he is working on in his studio.
“I can’t think of anybody (on the tour) who is not welcoming and welcoming questions and I think for artists it’s just a great way to share their work.”
He added that he does want to take a year off to explore the other studios himself.
Back on the road, it is off to a stop in Peterborough County to visit the studio of artist Paul Nabuurs, in a converted church outside of Warsaw, Ont.
“This is the gallery space,” said Nabuurs, as we walked through the hall littered with vibrant paintings. “I am so fortunate to have this large space.”
He said he has been part of the tour for the past four years. With painting often being a solitary experience, he said he enjoys meeting people in person.
“People will come in and maybe they’ve seen your work at a show or online, but it is great to be able to put a face to the name rather than just interacting on social media,” he said.
“There are so many artists. There are potters, textile, paint, everything, and it is all happening all around us.”
The tour runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and a full list of participating artists, you can visit the Art Gallery of Peterborough website.