Last weekend we went to the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County’s 21st Annual Open Studios Art Tour. This is the third or fourth year we have attended and we always have a good time. To attend the tour you buy a calendar and map of the almost 300 open studios and then you pick the ones you want to visit. The tour runs over three weekends so you can visit as many or as few as you want to. There are several reasons why the tour is a fun thing to do. The obvious first reason is that it is interesting to see the art. But in addition to seeing the art it is also fun to meet and talk to the artists, to see where and how they create their art and to drive around Santa Cruz county and see the beautiful scenery and homes.
This year my favorite artists that we visited were Julia Cairns, Michael Eckerman and Marilyn Kuksht.
Julia Cairns is an artist/ illustrator who lived in Africa for a number of years and has illustrated several children’s books. I really liked her paintings too. Her studio was in an old house overlooking the ocean half way between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. As an added treat we got to see a wild bobcat out the window of our car as we were navigating the dirt road leading to her studio.
Michael Eckerman uses river rock to make the most wonderful sculptures and fireplaces. His studio was in a residential area of Santa Cruz.
Marilyn Kuksht does metal sculpture. The works that she was displaying had a marvelous way of flowing and of symbolizing their subject that I thought was very powerful. Her studio was north of Santa Cruz, just off highway one, right next to a field of Brussels sprouts.
Some of the studios on the tour will be open next weekend. Eckerman is the only one of the the three artists above who will be open. If you get a chance try to go next year. I highly recommend it.