Sonoran Arts Network has a new page link titled Open Studios. Look at the top menu and click on this link to see current news about fall 2015 Open Studios.
Two groups have organized and now have websites up and running although still under construction as new artists are added every day.
These groups are:
Art Trails which covers the west and northwest side of Tucson (tour October 24-25)
Heart of Tucson Art which covers mid-town Tucson (tour October 31-November 1)
Because these fall studio tours are on different weekends, it will be possible to see artists in different parts of town now. In the past, visiting 200 artists’ studios in just one weekend was impossible.
There is a third tour forming. I finally tracked down the mysterious Alec Laughlin who designed the TPAC Open Studios website last year. According to TPAC CEO Debi Chess Mabie, Laughlin received $6,000 for designing and operating TPAC’s website in 2014 This was out of a total of $21,000 that TPAC spent on the Open Studios tour last year. (source: Arizona Daily Star).
Alec Laughlin said in an email to me today (August 17):
“I think it pretty safe to say that the Fall Open Studio Tour is going to happen this year. I have a meeting with TPAC in the morning (I’ve been out of town for a while) and they are enthusiastic about me taking over and making it happen. I’ll let you know for sure what we decide at that meeting tomorrow.”
So let’s all hope that Laughlin will create a tour for the many downtown and nearby studios on different weekends than Art Trails and Heart of Tucson Art tours are occurring. I suggest the second weekend in November which has been the chosen weekend for the TPAC Open Studios tour for several years now.
Please take note of another very good source of information about art in Tucson and the Open Studios tour in particular. That is Jerry Peek at TucsonArt.Info. Many of you have already heard from Jerry.
Jerry Peek says:
"I have a website, TucsonArt.info, with clickable links to arts organizations and to arts blogs that I write. (I've been hoping for years to find time to redesign and expand the site, but that time hasn't come yet.) The top of the home page has an article about the Open Studios changes; I'll keep it up to date with a capsule summary and/or link(s) to the latest news.
I've sent emails to about 250-300 artists and art groups to make sure they've heard about TPAC's cancellation. I offered to send a few email messages with brief updates -- so artists can know what others are planning. If you'd like to get these messages, please ask me on the TucsonArt.info contact form.
In the first week of September or so, I'll start a web page with lists of tours (arranged by date and area) with links to details on each tour. Later, once most tours have been announced, I'll add a map showing areas of town where each tour will happen and when -- unless the tours overlap enough to make that difficult. If there are lots of tours and no one else is making a more thorough site, I'll aim to. The idea is to help art lovers find tours, and artists, as easily as possible -- on a $0 budget.
Beyond that, I'll see what I can do as things develop. I hope that people who love Tucson artists and art will offer to help -- for instance, a printer might offer to print maps or flyers, a web developer could do a more extensive tour(s) site, and so on. Please dream and be in touch. Shane and I can't do this all ourselves! Thanks.
Fire and Ice
I had some interesting interactions with the folks at TPAC this past week. One was best described as “heated” – that’s the fire – the other was icy cold.
Apparently my comment to Kathleen Allen in the Arizona Daily Star was not very popular at TPAC. I was quoted in the Star as saying: “I think of the studio tours as one of the reasons TPAC exists. … The loss of the tour affects thousands, both artists and people who attend. … I think TPAC is making a mistake and is in danger of becoming irrelevant.”
So in the “heated” interaction, I was told that the word “irrelevant” was viewed as an “attack” and giving “ammo to the politicians who want to do away with TPAC.” The logic here is the same as if I write my Congressional rep and tell him/her that I’m opposed to the U.S. invading XYZ country, and I am told in return that I am a traitor to the U.S. and I am “giving ammo” to terrorists and commies.
So let me go on record. I support the work of TPAC. It should be obvious by now that I support the work of hundreds of artists in southern Arizona. Two years of Sonoran Arts Network’s publication of news, interviews, features, and reviews should prove that.
No one is above criticism. TPAC made a mistake by spending too much on Open Studios last year, by failing to find less expensive alternatives, and then cancelling so late in the year.
My view is that I did TPAC a favor by pointing out the error of their ways. My hope is that TPAC thrives. To do that, though, the admin there will have to prioritize better in the future.
And for the record, if there is a villain or villains here, it’s those _____ in the Phoenix legislature who don’t give a diddly damn about the arts or kids or health care either. Look at the opening paragraph in a story by Howard Fischer on the front page of Arizona Daily Star, August 17, 2015:
“In the face of bottom-of-the barrel classroom spending, massive cuts to universities and efforts to cut health care for the poor, the Ducey administration has decided what it needs to do is spend money to polish the state’s image.”
I hope they hire an artist to create that new image!
My new image of Arizona is welcoming to visitors who love the arts and recognize the value of the arts. Those people who spend money on arts bring about $80 million dollars each year to Tucson. We could be an arts destination like Santa Fe if we only could get support….just a little support would go a long way.
Many, many thanks go out to you who contributed donations to Sonoran Arts Network. Your financial support is desperately needed. But even better are the encouraging notes I’ve received!
C.J. Shane is the publisher and editor of Sonoran Arts Network. She is an artist and writer. Visit her website at www.cjshane.com to learn more about her.