ART: Chester County Studio Tour features 154 artists in 64 studios

Adrian Martinez will be showing his work at his Downingtown studio, #21 on the downloadable map. Painter Jasmine Alleger will also join him in the studio.
Adrian Martinez will be showing his work at his Downingtown studio, #21 on the downloadable map. Painter Jasmine Alleger will also join him in the studio. COURTESY PHOTO
Painter Rachel Romano and 10 other artists open their studios at Spring City Mill Studios, stop #1, for the tour.
Painter Rachel Romano and 10 other artists open their studios at Spring City Mill Studios, stop #1, for the tour. COURTESY PHOTO

IF YOU GO

The Chester County Studio Tour will be held May 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The County Collector Series will be offered again this year. For $75, the public can collect a framed 6” by 6” original piece of art from the two-dimensional artists or a special piece from the three-dimensional artists. Maps can be downloaded at the website. For information, visit chestercountystudiotour.com.

Jeff Schaller started off small and has grown the exposure of the Chester County artists to the community over the years.

The East Brandywine artist built his studio 13 years ago and a year later held an open studio. Finding it successful he got together with another studio and each invited four or five artists to participate. He then expanded it to 25 artists in 12 studios around the county.

That was the start of the Chester County Studio Tour. This self-guided two-day event is now in its eighth year and includes 154 artists in 64 studios from Spring City and Phoenixville to Oxford and Landenberg.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell tried to establish an arts trail from Lancaster to Philadelphia, but, “it kind of dried up,” said Schaller. “I thought this was a great idea. Let’s see if we can connect it.” He took it upon himself to try to get the artists in the community together. He has since expanded it further to Montgomery County — where a studio tour will be held June 9 and 10 — and Delaware County where a tour will be held Oct. 20 and 21.

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The experience level of the artist that will be participating this year goes from well established artists to others that are doing it more as a hobby, Schaller explained.

For the emerging artists, “it’s a great stepping stone to getting into galleries,” he said. “For the public, it’s a great event to see local artists.” The mediums on exhibit during the tour include glass, clay, steel sculpture, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, furniture, printmaking, jewelry and woodworking.

“It’s not something you can do in two days,” he said. That’s why there is a catalog so tour participants can pick what they want to see and contact other artists and ask to visit their studios at a later date. A list of where catalogs can be picked up is available online.

Through the tour Schaller has encouraged artists from other communities to exhibit in Chester County studios and meet the patrons here, and then go over to Montgomery County and those artists would introduce them to their collectors. “That’s my whole plan, to move all these artists around and make everyone aware of the arts.”

Schaller, a painter well known for his murals at Iron Hill restaurants, will feature five other artists — three painters, a sculptor and a ceramicist — showing their work at his studio during the tour. One of those five is his daughter, Mia, also a juried painter.

Schaller believes that many people don’t realize the number of artists in their community. “Just look at the map,” he said, pointing to the many pins marking the studio locations.

“When I started it with 25, I had no idea it would be this big. I encourage everyone to see as many as studios they can, but keep the catalog and visit the artists throughout the year.”