An artistic adventure is in store for visitors to the Blackstrap Art Studio Tour, held annually in May. This is the seventh year the self-drive tour has been showcasing the work of artisans and craftspeople in the Blackstrap and Dundurn area, south of Saskatoon. About 30 participants at five sites will be displaying and demonstrating their work — painting, pottery, writing, glass-blowing, metal sculpting, flame working, quilting, woodcarving, doll making, stained glass or art restoration.
“Each site has multiple artists who will provide interactive demonstrations as well as displaying completed projects. There is a different flavour at each site as there is some concentration of similar artwork and techniques. For example, at the Dundurn Elementary School fabric artists, painters, photographers and doll makers are grouped with the schoolchildren’s art; the Klette Studio will show painting, photography and jewelry; and at our hot shop there will be elements of cold, warm, and hot glass production as well as flame work, metal work, blacksmithing, pottery, bird carvings, and paintings,” says Joan Hiebert, one of the organizers of the event.
Not only do the artisans benefit from gaining exposure and recognition, but visitors can try their hand at something new and purchase affordable, quality, locally made items. The community also benefits through additional revenue by an influx of people who come to enjoy food, recreation and services in the area.
“We encourage participant diversity in age, sex, level of experience and commercialism. There are many incredibly talented people in this group, some known throughout the province and beyond for their skills and unique talent,” says Hiebert.
The Blackstrap Art Studio Tour began in 2007 with a meeting at the Wilson Museum in Dundurn. The initial concept was a tour of art studios in the Blackstrap area combined with the spring opening of the museum. Members of the art community were canvassed to assess interest and in the first year 19 participants were included in the tour at six locations. “The tour has expanded to included individual artists living and working between Saskatoon and the Blackstrap area. My husband Al and I have been involved in the tour each year and have had our hot shop as a site every year except 2012 when we moved to the museum because our shop burned down. Our goal is to have the shop up and functioning for the 2013 tour,” says Hiebert.
The Blackstrap Art Studio Tour is a non-profit group of volunteers supported by their own entry fees and who receive financial support from Saskatchewan Lotteries through the Dundurn and District Recreational Board and from the RM of Dundurn. Each site is run by volunteers who assist with hosting and information duties, and artists take responsibility for planning and administration of the event.
The tour runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 25 and 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. There is no charge and food can be purchased at selected sites. Visitors can follow the wagon wheel signs to each site where there will be maps available. For more information contact Joan at (306) 492-4665, or Harry Friesen at (306) 492-4747. †