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Back Roads Studio Tour


Brown County Studio Tour

~by Bob Gustin

From solid chunks of stone to fragile slivers of glass, The Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour is back with a full contingent of artists studios and share their talent and craft with interested visitors.” Though the tour was officially called off in 2020 this year.

The 23rd annual free, self-guided tour is going on the whole month of October as artists and craftsmen open their studios and workspaces to visitors amidst the glorious spectacle of autumn leaves.

The tour features 28 artists in 20 studios, including contemporary artists and craftsmen, many of which will be doing demonstrations. Some offer hands-on experience to visitors wanting to take part. Work can be purchased directly from the artist who created it.

The tour began in 1998, and visitors this year will find old favorites on the tour, along with several artists who are on it for the first time.

The tour is designed to broaden public understanding of the arts in Brown County, which has been an art colony for more than 100 years, and is recognized as one of Indiana Cultural Districts.

The T.C. Steele State Historic Site, commemorating one of Brown County’s early artists, is a stop on the tour, offering discounted admission for Back Roads tour participants. All other stops on the tour are free of charge.

“The tour is a wonderful way to spend a beautiful autumn day visiting local studios in the backcountry of Brown County,” said Lory Winford, vice president of the tour. “Artists open up their due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus, a handful of artists continued to hold open studio hours in October. This year, the tour has made a strong return, with a variety of artists and their guests.

This year’s artists include Kathy Sparks, fiber art; Sidney Bolam, stone carving; Ann McCann, weaving; Juliette Herwitt, painting; Jean Haley, fiber art; Martha Sechler, watercolor and gourd art; Jason Nickel, blacksmithing; DeMaris Gaunt, stained glass; Scott and Jill Stowers, woodworking, food and soap; Amanda Mathis, primitive painting; Evan Knox, jewelry; Dixie Ferrer, mixed media art; Joy Sims, glass art; Lori Morgan, handpainted barn quilts; M.K. Watkins, painter; Mary Burkhart, wooden decor and stone carving; Sarah Noggle, weaving; Sarabeth Noggle, prints and drawings; Robb Besosa, handcrafted furniture; Lory Williams Winford, pastel art; Brad Cox, metal art; Susan Showalter, photography and jewelry; Sandy Binder, alpaca fiber art; Chris and Bob Gustin, weaving; Pete Baxter, woodworking; and Martha Hall Bowman, jewelry and painting.

Some studios are open every day in October, but individual studios set their own hours, so days and hours vary. Details are available on maps available at the many stores, restaurants, and lodging spots, or you can download a copy from <browncountystudiotour.com>.