Artists open their studios for visitors

The classic road trip has long been immortalized in novels and films. It can be a comedic adventure, an avenue for inspiration, or something else entirely.

Set up for its 16th year, the Artisans Road Trip mostly falls into the middle category, but could be a combination of all three. Of course anything can happen on the open road.

On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-13, 26 artists throughout N’West Iowa will open their doors for visitors on the free gallery and studio tour.

One such artist is Danielle Clouse Gast.

“I have a home studio in Spirit Lake that we prepare in anticipation for Artisans Road Trip each year,” Clous Gast said. “I’ll have art on display and available and hopefully working on something too in that space. What’s been fun for me over the years is the amount of people that stop by that I’ve never met before.”

Making that connection with people is a big part of Artisans Road Trip.

“The relationships that form from getting people are great and it’s the reverse for them as well. I think they can enjoy the art even more when they get to meet the artists and see where they work,” Clouse Gast said. “And it’s fun to meet the people that take pieces home with them. To get a text later with a picture of the painting hanging in their home — that’s pretty exciting.”

Clouse Gast is also the visual arts director at the Pearson Lakes Art Center, where a couple artists will set up shop for the road trip.

Joanne Alberda and David Strom’s home studios are located a bit outside the road trip corridor, so they will take up residence in the art center for the weekend.

“They’re both part of this artists community and we’re excited to have the ability to have this space for them to show art over that weekend,” Clouse Gast said. “We also have all our regular exhibits going on, so we’re excited to be part of it that way too — we get a lot of new faces in here on the road trip. It’s something we look forward to every fall at the art center, and as an artist it’s something I look forward to — opening up to the public, meeting new people and sharing my work.”

In preparing their route, road trippers can stop by Arts on Grand to get a preview of some of the work they’ll be seeing.

Starting Oct. 1 and running through Nov. 23, the gallery in Spencer will host an Artisans Road Trip exhibit featuring pieces from several of the road trip artists.

“It’s neat to see some of our artists who’ve been on the road trip for a number of years bring some different pieces here,” said Melissa Cadmus, curator at Arts on Grand. “William Lieb has traditionally been a sculptor and has become very active with monotype prints. You can see some of the prints here and then go see the space he prints them and the beautiful press he’s built.”

Cadmus added that Denice Peters has brought in some extremely well-done examples of her pastel work and that she’s glad to have some of Danielle Clouse Gast’s bigger pieces to share, including one that hasn’t been shown before.

There is ceramic work, oil paintings, watercolor and much more.

“The role we play in the grand scheme of the road trip is to give the community an opportunity to see what kind of work they’d see out on the trip,” Cadmus said. “We start the show before the road trip so guests can possibly meet some of the artists at the reception and sort of plan out their trip the following weekend. Some might think that they’d have to go to places like Des Moines or Iowa City to see a large art community. Though ours is spread out it’s very active, very diverse, and very professional.”

Take the chance to see them all during the Artisans Road Trip.