Creativity comes in many forms – and local residents might be surprised at the artistic work being done right next door or just around the corner in their community.
The barriers between the wider world and the working spaces of a number of local artists will be lifted later this month as the West Bay Open Studios Tour marks its 11th year.
The free and self-guided opportunity is being sponsored by the Warwick Center for the Arts. It will feature artists from Warwick, East Greenwich and North Kingstown across a range of mediums, including oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, ceramic, pottery, fiber, glass, mixed media, photography and wood.
In some cases, the studio spaces included on the tour are within an artist’s home.
Anthony Tomaselli, who owns T’s Restaurants and resides in the Conimicut section of Warwick, will invite visitors into what he calls his “summer studio” on the third floor of his home. He maintains a primary, year-round studio in Providence for his oil painting, but said the home space allows him to focus on his creative craft at any time.
“The whole idea is to get people in studios to see the activity and the process and to support artists through art sales … The spirit of it is, we’re giving people an opportunity to see what goes on” in studio settings, he said of the tour. “I think it’s a great way for people to actually meet artists.”
Tomaselli said he was involved with the tour in its first year, and returned a few years ago after thinking it “would be fun” to welcome visitors to his home studio.
In addition to showcasing his work and “setting the table” for potential future clients who pay be interested in purchasing his pieces, Tomaselli has some special features in store for tour-goers – homemade pizza to serve up, along with wine and music from a local guitar player.
“Everybody does something a little bit different” in their studio during the tour, he noted. “We usually have a good turnout.”
Tomaselli also spoke of the educational value of the experience for both children and adults, and of the tour’s partnership with Warwick Center for the Arts, which he called a “great community gallery and showplace.” The center, located at 3259 Post Road, will serve as one of the stops on this year’s tour.
“There’s a lot of adult and children’s programming that goes on … The way the arts are shut down in schools, it’s a great place, even for adults,” he said.
This year’s tour runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, and Sunday, Oct. 27. Visitors are invited throughout both days at all of the 10 locations along the route, which are shown on a map and listed on the event’s website, westbayopenstudios.com.
Tomaselli noted that the New England Patriots play a late game on Oct. 27 – a home matchup with the Cleveland Browns that begins at 4:30 p.m. – so football fans won’t have to worry about too much of an overlap in their scheduling.
“That’s a big deal,” he noted with a chuckle.
Those taking part in the tour are advised to follow the bright gold signs along the roads, with studio numbers in red dots.
In Warwick, in addition to Tomaselli’s home and Warwick Center for the Arts, kiln-formed fused glass artist Valerie Dreyer and basket weaver Judy Hummel will welcome visitors to 355 Arnolds Neck Drive.
There are two stops in East Greenwich – Karen Giarrusso’s mosaics and mixed media studio and Nancy Nielsen’s photography studio, both on Division Street.
The rest of the stops on the tour are in North Kingstown, hosted by watercolor artist Susan Klas Wright, fine artist and travel photographer Cindy Horovitz Wilson, oil and acrylic painter Janelle Feigley, jewelry maker Debbie Ferrazzoli and ceramic artist Susan Kelley Scotti.
“I’m overjoyed with the possibilities I see all around me,” Klas Wright wrote in a statement about her work on the tour’s website. “Each watercolor and oil is painted with joy and enthusiasm inspired by the moment, the seed of an idea. I’m in love with this life!”
In addition to the tour’s website, additional information can be found on its Facebook event page, titled “West Bay Open Studios Tour.”