The 17th annual Highlands East Studio Tour attracted more than 70 people to survey a new, centralized place to see local artwork Aug. 10-11.
The tour historically invites people to drive throughout the municipality to visit local artists in their studios. Attendees can talk with local artists and look at their work, which is available for purchase.
But this year of the tour was a departure from previous, with more than half the tour’s artists concentrated at the studio of organizer Chuck Lewis. He said the effort, done to attract more guests, was successful.
“The response of the people that made the trip to the studio was it was great,” Lewis said. “Instead of travelling all over the county, they could visit just the studio and have eight artists.”
Lewis said the idea stems from his experience participating in the Tour De Forest in Dysart et al. Although they lack a central location, the artists’ studios are closer together than in Highlands East.
“We’re so remote to that group over in the west side of Haliburton. So, what we have to do now is develop the same sort of situation,” Lewis said.
Deborah Ann Morris has participated in the Highlands East tour for three years. She spoke positively about centralizing more of the event’s artists.
“It’s a wonderful thing to do to lessen our carbon footprint and to create community,” Morris said. “I do however miss the idea of people coming to my studio, but I welcome people to my studio just the same.”
Cottager Jeannette Jamieson has attended the Highlands East Studio tour for years. She praised the format change and said the artistic community is one of the best aspects of the area.
“It’s a lot of fun just to see what people are producing. To see the talent, to see the interpretations, to just feel a part of it. What we have here is a phenomenal gift,” Jamieson said. Lewis said he hopes the tour’s efforts can help the event grow with more attendees and artists.
“Up here you don’t have that many options where you can show your art,” Lewis said. “I’d like to see this expand. I’d really like this to be a hub.”