Open studio tours held across our state are unique, informal opportunities to meet North Carolina artists where they work. You can have one-on-one conversations, experience the many factors that go into being a working artist and purchase one of their works for yourself or as a gift. Many tours are held in the fall, but some make return engagements in the summer, allowing you to develop relationships with the artists and grow in your understanding and appreciation of their work.
When you participate in open studio tours you contribute to the artistic and economic vitality of your community. Whether you go alone, with your family or with out-of-town guests, be sure to include a visit to the local establishments for meals or shopping where you might spot an artist.
Some of the state’s most established open studio tours return this fall, along with some newer opportunities to explore. Watch the Artful Traveler video about open studio tours at right and visit our Open Studio Tour page to learn more and see dates for visiting artist studios throughout the year.
The 8th annual “Come Out and Play” brings together nearly 50 local artists working in many mediums to exhibit and sell their wares. They’ll gather for an opening party on Saturday, Aug. 29, from noon until dark and will also display their wares every Saturday in September (5, 12, 19 and 26) from 4 p.m. until dark at the JimGin Farm in Pittsboro. Visit carrboro.com/comeoutandplay for directions and a list of artists.
On the coast, the Dare County Arts Council celebrates the creative entrepreneurial spirit of Dare County’s professional artists with two open studio tours, divided by artists living north and south of the Oregon Inlet bridge. THE Studio Tour North takes place Sept. 19; THE Studio Tour South happens Sept. 26. Call (252) 473-5558 for more information.
In the mountains, the Haywood County Arts Council presents the fourth annual Haywood Open Studio Tour Oct. 3–4 with works by Haywood County artists including pottery, jewelry, weaving, painting and woodworking.
The Arts Council of Henderson County presents its third annual Open Studio Tour Oct. 10–11, featuring more than 35 local artist studios and art galleries in and around historic downtown Hendersonville. It’s the culmination of a 10-day celebration called “The Arts Council Presents…” which begins Oct. 2–4 with the 50th anniversary of Art on Main, an outdoor arts festival and market drawing artists from throughout the Southeast. The long-running Toe River Studio Tour takes place Dec. 4–6 and features more than 100 artists from across Mitchell and Yancey Counties. They will announce participating artists at the end of September at www.toeriverarts.org/studiotour.shtml.
In the Piedmont, the Orange County Open Studio Tour, now in its 15th year, features around 80 artists working in a variety of mediums: drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, clay/pottery/ceramics, metal, mixed media/collage, painting and photography. It happens over two weekends, Nov. 7–8 and 14–15. The Chatham County Studio Tour was instituted in 1992 and highlights about 60 local artists across a similar range of disciplines. It also takes place over two weekends, Dec. 5–6 and 12–13.