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Brown County is known as “The Art Colony of the Midwest.” Beginning Oct. 1, it is offering the best of arts, adventure and nature with the 12th Annual Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour.
Organizer and fiber artist Chris Gustin has been involved with the fall tour since it began in 2002. Each year, the tour features about a dozen or more artists who open their studios to the public during October, she said.
The tour, which is artist-funded with help from the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau, has had great support from the community, she said.
“The past couple of years, we’ve had about 700 people take the tour,” she said. “On some of the busy days we see as many as 45 come through.”
The heart of Nashville in the fall is always a bustling place and navigating the sea of people can be overwhelming for some. Gustin said the studio tour offers a nice change of pace. All that’s required to enjoy the scenic tour is a map and some free time.
“The Back Roads tour is a very relaxing drive through Brown County,” she said. “It gives people a chance to get out to a more peaceful environment and still see the things they come to see.”
There are galleries galore in Nashville, but what makes this tour unique is the glimpse it offers into the private work spaces of the artists. Each of the participating studios are no more than five or 10 minutes apart, Gustin said. To get the full experience, participants are encouraged to make a day or two of the tour.
Mixed-media artist Michele Heather Pollock began participating in the tour shortly after moving to Brown County four years ago.
“The draw of the tour is you move at your own pace,” Pollock said. “There’s no pressure, and you get to see the areas that inspire the artists.”
Most of the studios are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day all month long, Gustin said. But there is a caveat.
“There may be some studios who need to be closed for a show,” Gustin said. “We will stay on top of it with the phone line and website and try to get the word out to let people know ahead of time.”
This year’s tour features a variety of artistic forms, including fiber art, pottery, metalwork and jewelry. If you’re hoping to get some early holiday shopping done, you’re in luck. Several of the participating artists will have one-of-a-kind gifts available for purchase on site.
“There are things in every price range,” Pollock said. “There are plenty of gift items all the way up to larger art pieces.”
In addition to the studio tour, plein air (outdoor) painting demonstrations will also be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. every Saturday at the T.C. Steele State Historic site, 4220 South Dewar Ridge Rd., in Nashville.
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