Grand Valley Open Studio Tour: A Glimpse Into An Artist's Process

Originally published in the Fall 2019 issue of Spoke+Blossom

Artist Brooks Powell  PHOTO BY CAT MAYER

Artist Brooks Powell


We experience art every day — maybe it’s a painting hanging in a gallery or a sculpture in a park. We may wonder how the artist created it or how long it took to make, but rarely do we get to watch the artist in his or her own environment working (and sometimes struggling) through the creative process.

Now, we can.

From October 11-13, the City of Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture is hosting the Grand Valley Open Studios Tour, during which 25 local artists will open their private art studios to the public for an exclusive inside look. The tour includes a variety of different media such as oil, acrylic, cold wax, glass-blowing, encaustic, batik, pottery and sculpture. No sign-up is required to participate, and the tour is free to all. Tour-goers can pick up a brochure from The Art Center, the Parks and Recreation office or download it online, and then visit any or all of the studios — many are located are the artists’ personal residences — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. across the Grand Valley over the course of the three days.

Last year, the commission teamed up with Palisade Art Vision, the Fruita Arts & Culture Board and The Art Center to revive the tour, which had been created many years ago but had been discontinued. Having successfully re-launched the two-day tour last year, the commission added seven artists and expanded the tour to three days.

Lorie Gregor, staff liaison for the commission, believes attending events like this increases appreciation for artists’ time, energy and effort.

“The artists take people through their process of creating art. It’s not just looking at a picture on the wall,” says Gregor. “It’s really getting down into the nitty-gritty of what they’re creating and how they’re doing it. You’re experiencing the blood, sweat and tears, getting a feel of where the soul of creation comes from.”

The commission has designed the tour to help make the Grand Valley an arts destination. The second weekend in October is a particularly beautiful time of year in the Grand Valley, after summer festivities and local events have wound down. The tour also connects new and up-and-coming artists with seasoned, professional artists with the goal of nurturing our local creative community. In addition, the tour aims to connect art buyers with new art. “We want art to be sustainable for the artists,” says Gregor. “We want them do what they love and what they’re good at and be able to pay the bills.”

“Events like this are important. Art creates community. It creates connection. It brings people together. And it’s fun,” adds Gregor. “It brings out the best in people, and it inspires conversation and curiosity.”