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See Where Art Gets Its Start

Kristofer B. WakefieldThe Invitation Guanajuato
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Napa has its wineries. Palm Springs has its spas, golf, and championship tennis.

But if it’s artists you’re looking for, the Gold Country is unparalleled for its mix of eclectic artisans living in nearly every nook and cranny of this hilly, bucolic region of the Golden State.

Fall and winter bring out the best in many an artist, as homes and studios thrust open their doors to visitors, hoping to not only generate business but to create buzz for their works.



The weekends of October 12-13 and October 19-20, there’s the annual Western Nevada County 2002 Studio Tours. The first weekend you can take a tour of works from artists at their homes and studios in Alta Sierra, Penn Valley, Grass Valley, Peardale and Cedar Ridge.

The following week, artists in Nevada City, Banner Mountain, North Bloomfield and Columbia Hill throw open their doors to showcase their works – and it’s a chance for you to buy some of the work, too. Art objects can be purchased at both tours. Maps to each of the artists’ homes will be available for one $10 charge per weekend, which includes a directory and photos of the artists’ works.




“For the local artist, this is an opportunity to have visibility. One of the things that is really important is that the artists can talk to people directly and really develop a rapport with the artist,” said Penelope Curtis, executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council. Visual arts, including ceramic, wood sculptures, acrylics, mixed media, photography and jewelers will have their wares available for sale. “It’s quite a range for art disciplines.”

Artists’ works will also be shown at the Arts Council building, 325 Spring Street in Nevada City. Contact the Nevada County Arts Council at 271-5955 for additional information.

The following month, the Arts Council of Placer County presents the 9th annual Autumn Art Studios Tour. This self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. the weekend of November 9 and 10 and includes works of painters, jewelers, sculptors, ceramic artists, potters from Auburn, Granite Bay, Colfax, Roseville and points in between.

Admission is $5 each for the two days. Your admission price includes a map with directions to artists’ homes and studios for both days.

The featured artists include watercolor, oil, and pastel painters, sculptures (both clay and metal); photography, three-dimensional mixed media, calligraphy, even jewelry and needlework.

For more information, contact the Arts Council of Placer County at (530) 885-5670.

Not to be outdone, Janet Nicholson, a glass artist, stages the annual Placer County Autumn Art Tour at her eponymous blown glass studio. More than 70 artists will showcase their wares at the studio at the corner of Bell and Cramer roads in Auburn, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day Dec. 13-15. Once there, art lovers can purchase and browse through various art mediums.

Nicholson, who’s been a glass blower with an Auburn studio for the last 23 years, says she’s got at least one theory why so many of the creative set choose to move up here and locate studios nearby. “I don’t think many of them like to commute to show their work,” said Nicholson, who is married to a potter. “We have quite a few local clientele that support us,” she said, noting one of her glass bowls was sold to a gallery and purchased recently by basketball icon Michael Jordan. For information, call Nicholson at 823-1631.

That should satisfy even the most discriminating art critics, and satiate every art lover’s thirst for creativity.


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