4th SAC studio, gallery tour features 30 artists

Posted: November 7, 2013

The Winchester Star

Alice Lees of Winchester is a first-time participant in the Winchester Region Artists’ Studio and Gallery Tour set for Saturday and Sunday and sponsored by the Shenandoah Arts Council.

Winchester — Local artists are going to give the public a closer look at their creative process this weekend during the Winchester Region Artists’ Studio and Gallery Tour.

About 30 artists have signed on to let people delve a little deeper into what goes on behind the creation of their art for the fourth year of the tour, said Tracy Marlatt, executive director of the Shenandoah Arts Council, which is sponsoring the event. The tour is free and open to the public.

It will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at different locations around the area — studios, galleries, and other spots that will feature several artists, she said. Participants include furniture makers, painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, and other artists.

“People like to have access. This is a way to go into artists’ studios and see where they work,” Marlatt said. “It is also an opportunity to have more one-on-one time to talk with an artist.”

People participating in the tour will start at the SAC gallery, 811 S. Loudoun St., where they can pick up a brochure that lists all the artists, their addresses and a map of the area, Marlatt said. The tour will take people throughout the Winchester and Frederick County area.

Visitors to the gallery may also meet the artists behind the council’s current exhibit, “Studio Furniture,” which runs through Nov. 30, she said.

The tour has grown steadily in the last few years, attracting not only art enthusiasts but artists eager to “see what other artists are doing, see new techniques, and connect with other artists,” she said.

Alice Lees is a first-time participant who went on the tour last year shortly after moving to Winchester because she was looking for a “community of artists.”

She loved going on the tour but was more eager this year to get her own name out to the public by opening her studio. “The more the merrier.”

Lees’s first love is drawing, but she has channeled those initial renderings into other forms such as neon and mosaic. The neon forms, which she likes because they are linear and let her work with light, are “acrobatic figures breaking out of architectural constraints,” she said.

“They are sliding down columns or breaking out of pediments. There is a figure jumping off the pedestal,” she said.

Another first-time participant, Norma Colman of Berryville, also went on the tour last year to get a better look at the local arts community. “I was amazed at the scope of artistry in this area. That contributed to me wanting to join in on it.”

The fabric artist moved to Winchester seven years ago and wants to become more recognizable in the area.

Colman will be one of several artists set up in the lobby of the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the Shenandoah University campus. Her work will include hand-painted shawls and wraps, wall hangings, table runners, and sketch book covers.

This will be the fourth year Don Black of Winchester will open his studio to showcase his abstract and abstract Impressionist art. The artist works mainly in acrylic paint but likes adding other elements.

His process is “fairly improvisational” and probably influenced by being a musician for most of his life, said Black, professor of music at Shenandoah Conservatory.

“Each time I start there is something I start with,” he said. “It may not be anything more than a passing color I saw in a tree or lines dividing the canvas up or shapes. Sometimes it is a texture thing so I may build up a texture on a canvas.”

If Black has a solo show or is featured in a group exhibit, people see a limited amount of what he can do, he said. With the tour, he can expose visitors to the broader range of what he does and his creative process and hopefully sell some of his work in the process.

“For me, it has been financially worthwhile every year I have done it,” he said.

There is a high caliber of artists in this area that many people are not aware of — something Marlatt hopes changes a little with every tour, she said. “Part of our mission is to promote our member artists, and this is a great opportunity to do that.”


The Winchester Region Artists’ Studio and Gallery Tour is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A brochure with a complete list of the tour stops can be picked up at the Shenandoah Arts Council, 811 S. Loudoun St. Call 540-667-5166 or go to shenarts.org.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com