Gardiner Open Studio Tour Resurrected April 30-May 1
Slowly but surely, cultural tourism in our region is starting to rebound from the hit it received from COVID-19. Not only are theaters, museums and concert halls reopening, but art tours are also returning, as it becomes safer for people to meet face to face.
After a two-year hiatus, the Gardiner Open Studio Tour is relaunching on April 30 and May 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This should have been the tenth year for GOST, whose creepy acronym comes from the fact that its first incarnation happened just before Halloween in 2013. Some of the following years there were even spring and summer iterations. fall, and participation grew from nine artists in the first year to 22 in 2018.
The number of artists to visit would still have been as high this year if two new entrants – a luthier and a custom furniture maker – had not decided to drop out because they were overwhelmed with work, according to Annie O’Neill. A painter and ceramist known for her colorful pottery inspired by Oaxacan folk art, with whimsical figures of animals and birds, O’Neill has been one of the organizers of GOST since its founding.
“Organizing the tour now, while we’re still in COVID mode, is a bit more difficult because we can’t meet,” she says. The brainstorming sessions were to take place via Zoom this year. And yet, it all managed to fall into place, and is even scheduled a bit earlier than its past iterations to avoid coinciding with other events vying for the same audience in May. “I hope it won’t snow this weekend!”
Masking, distancing, and showing proof of vaccination protocols vary from studio to studio, so it’s wise to call ahead if you object to such measures. “It’s up to each artist whether they want people to be masked or not,” says O’Neill.
As in previous years, the Tour is self-guided, with a comprehensive brochure and map easily downloadable from www.gardineropenstudiotour.com/about. This year, some of the artists will be consolidated into one studio, so if you want to hit them all, you can do it in 16 stops. Signs will be present along the route. “It’s very easy to find your way around.”
As with past GOST events, participating artists come and go, depending on what other demands their work and family life currently places on them. A few former hosts will be out of the country, O’Neill says, and some are just too busy: a good sign for the arts economy. DM Weil, one of the founders and early organizers of GOST, is “making a new body of work,” for example. The flip side is that a number of new artists will be joining the tour this year, and a couple that failed in previous years will be returning.
A new addition this year is Marcy Bernstein, director of Roost Studios & Art Gallery at New Paltz, who works in painting and mixed media. Another new painter, Scott Roberts, does contemporary landscapes. “Vicki Morgan in her previous life was a rep for female illustrators, but she also does strong gesture drawing herself. She has retired and is now able to do her own work again,” O’Neill reports. Denise Aumick , who works in fiber mixed media, and Rich Cerruto, who makes Shaker-style oval wooden boxes, are also new to the tour.
O’Neill thinks Cerruto might be one of the artists who will offer demos of his work to visitors. “Marilyn Perry will definitely work in encaustic,” she says. “John [Varriano] and Marsha [Massih] I guess I will paint. And Lynn Isaacson will host two other ceramicists, Amy Schnitzer and Lysa Hoffman, at her large pottery studio in Pine Bush, so “you’ll probably see people working.” Other artists will simply have work to display and sell.
The full list of artists participating in GOST 2022 includes ceramic artists Michelle Rhodes, Pam and Craig Booth, Tyffany Dyckman, O’Neill, Isaacson, Schnitzer and Hoffman; watchmaker Léonie Lacouette; illustrator Morgan; fiber artists Alexa Ginsburg and Aumick; multimedia artists Meadow, Anna Davis and Bernstein; painters Stacie Flint, Varriano, Massih, Roberts and Perry; and carpenter Cerruto.
All studios are open for free, of course, but you might not be able to resist picking up some artwork to take home. Visitors are also encouraged to patronize GOST’s business sponsors, which include local restaurants Café Mio and the Mountain Brauhaus in Gardiner and the Grazery in New Paltz. To learn more about the Gardiner Open Studio Tour and see examples of work by participating artists, visit www.gardineropenstudiotour.com.