NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 8, 2012

Afternoon for the arts

Open Studio Tour draws bigger, younger crowds

(Continued)

“People just don’t see it as their grandmother’s activity anymore,” Rogers said. A show featuring pieces by students at Crafters Quarters will hang this weekend.

The studio tour is a great way for newcomers to learn more about Amesbury’s numerous galleries and studios and to get exposure to an art form they may want to take classes in or learn more about, expressionist artist Edith Heyck said.

Since moving her studio to Amesbury five years ago, Heyck says she has seen the city’s profile grow.

“There exists a cultural vitality in Amesbury,” she said. “This cultural component is really beginning to define the city.”

Cultural Council member Mary Hichborn said the weekend typically draws hundreds of visitors into the studio spaces. About 75 artists and musicians are taking part this year, she added. The tour is held in November to coincide with the start of the holiday shopping season.

“It should be a great weekend,” she said.

Hichborn said the event’s growing popularity is helped by social media sites as volunteers use them to reach a broader audience. “Facebook has been so helpful; that’s how people communicate now,” she said.

As the tour celebrates its 16th year, council members are looking at other ways to continue to add to the program in the future, Hichborn said, and exploring possible initiatives, such as giving tour-goers a “passport” to get stamped by each studio or gallery they visit.

IF YOU GO

What: Amesbury Open Studio Tour

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Various studios throughout the city. Maps and schedules are available at the Amesbury Cultural Center, 36 High St., or online at www.AmesburyStudioTour.com.

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