8th Annual Todos Santos Open Studio Tour
by Jill Mollenhauer
Every year it’s the talk of the town. The Todos Santos Open Studio Tour draws hundreds of people curious to see working art studios, meet the artists, and perhaps have a personal dialogue with them. Stories are exchanged; laughter flows and smiles glow on the faces of those who find something that seems to have been made especially for them.
At its inception in 2009, the then one-day tour boasted a mere handful of amazing talent. For 2017 the number of participating artists has grown to over 40, necessitating its extension to a two day event.
The 8th annual Todos Santos Open Studio Tour will be held on the weekend of February 11 and 12, 2017, from 10 am to 4 pm both days. All proceeds benefit the children’s art programs of The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C. Advance ticket sales begin January 28, 2017. Tickets will be $200 pesos each and can be purchased in Todos Santos at El Tecolote Bookstore on Calle Juárez, or ordered online at email@example.com. Tickets can also be purchased at Cafélix in Todos Santos from 9 am to 3 pm both event days. Maps are included with purchase and plenty of signs are posted to streamline the self-guided tour.
The choices of what to see are practically endless: paint, mixed media, encaustic, wood carving, metal sculpture, stone work, jewelry, fibers, photography and more. The hardest part might be deciding which studios to choose from and if it is possible to get to them all in two days. From the south end of town all the way through the north end of el Otro Lado, there are artist studios tucked away that hold treasures undreamed of.
To help plan your tour, browse the Facebook page Todos Santos Open Studio Tour to see some samples of the different work. Seasoned veterans of the tour often make a list of names to help plan a route, making sure to visit their favorite artists along with some new ones. Others prefer to just wing it, leaving it open to the serendipity of the moment.
Besides spending the day immersed in creativity, the tour is a chance to explore what it is like to be an artist in the beautiful pueblo mágico of Todos Santos. It is the personal interaction with the artists that makes this tour so special. What inspires them? What brought them here and why do they stay? How did they begin and what story do they have to tell?
Sculptor Benito Ortega was drawn to Todos Santos eight years ago by ‘a vibration in the air.’ Nine year resident, encaustic artist Gloria Santoyo Ruenitz stays because life is simple and she can spend the mornings lost in the passion of creativity. The positive energy of the light and the people is just part of what keeps painter/teacher Tori Sepulveda enthralled with Todos Santos, even after 10 years.
As a kid flipping burgers at the foot of the Newport Beach pier Peter Holden probably never imagined himself living and painting in Baja California Sur for over a decade. Did Anne Hebebrand envision herself experimenting with diverse tools such as spatulas, rubber shapers, paint rollers, and palette knives on canvas when as a young girl she was a waitress at a Mexican restaurant?
Susan Doyle says, “My favorite part of painting is the point when you think it is awful and you’re about to give up and then some magical accident happens and it clicks.” For Nanette Hayles she loves all parts of the creative process but “getting ‘lost’ in a piece when time ceases” is her favorite. Steve Thurston says that the best painting is always the one he’s currently working on.
Landscape artist Marsha Dahlquist is entranced with street scenes and the challenge of painting architecture, while Jill Mollenhauer expresses emotions with vibrant colors and mixed media.
Whichever studios you visit, you are sure to find both talent and heart. Between the well-known galleries in town and the numerous hidden gems in the barrios there are delights and surprises waiting just for you.
Here are a few helpful tips to make it even more enjoyable: Some studios are clustered near enough that parking and walking is viable. Perusing the neighborhoods is a wonderful way to get a feel of the community. Or consider carpooling–everything is more fun with friends. Wear comfortable shoes and a hat and don’t forget the sunscreen! Cold drinks and delicious meals can be purchased in town and for even more fun, consider staying the night at one of the area boutique hotels.
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