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Day in the country
2nd annual Rural Artist Studio Tour happens May 14
By Michael Summers
Fort Wayne Reader
Anyone who frequents one of the local art fairs during the summer months is probably familiar with Kristy Jo Beber, or at least her work.
An artist and potter who has been heavily involved in the area’s art community since graduating IPFW in 2004, Beber creates her pieces in a studio out in Leo. “It’s right next door to a buffalo ranch,” she laughs. “My studio is an outbuilding with overhead doors. I have my potter's wheel facing out....and in nice weather, I always have the doors open. To get to look up and see the big and beautiful grazing buffalo in the neighbor’s field is amazing — certainly not something you're gonna see right in the city.”
Beber isn’t the only area artist plying her trade in rural studio outside Fort Wayne, and it was in an effort to bring attention to some of these artists that Beber helped organize the first Rural Artist Studio Tour last year.
The idea for the Rural Artist Studio Tour was hatched with Beber and artist Lisa Vetter joking around at an art fair. “I was in the process of setting up my studio in Leo and she already had hers out in Spencerville, and we joked ‘we should do a trolley tour type thing and have the Amish drive us around in buggies’,” Beber says. “We were just being goofy about it, but later on, one of us said ‘that’s not a bad idea…’”
The two contacted a few other artists in their general area and got them involved. Though there were no buggy rides, the first event turned out to be a big success — something Beber calls a “happy surprise.” “A lot of people came out, and most importantly, they had so much fun,” Beber says. “We had people who brought their cameras and would e-mail or post their pictures on Facebook afterwards… so, if they’re doing that, they’re having a good time.”
The Second Rural Studio Tour happens on Saturday, May 14, from 10 am – 6 pm. Eight area artists are participating. “It’s a wide range of mediums,” says Beber. “There’s a printmaker, a jeweler, 2 potters, a fiber artist, several painters, photographer, clothing and mixed media sculptors. A few of the studios will have demos and/or interactive art projects.”
It’s a self-guided tour — participants pick up a map and visit as many studios and in any order as they wish, all in their own time…
But if you'd rather relax and not worry about directions, you can let Artlink do the driving. Artlink is renting several passenger vans, which will visit each artist studio. Cost is $32 for Artlink members/$35 for non-members, and includes a Subway Box Lunch (call Artlink for more info: (260) 424 7195. Seating is limited).
“Viewing an artists work, visiting with them and seeing where they create the work… it’s a pretty unique experience,” Beber says.
Printed maps are available at several local businesses, including The Orchard Gallery, Artlink & Firefly in Fort Wayne, plus Higher Grounds & Leo Cafe in Leo.
For more info, or to download a map, visit facebook.com/ArtStudioTour.