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Bloomington Open Studios Tour Reveals The Artists Among Us

Marc Tschida makes a puzzle

When it comes to the arts, Bloomington, Indiana is world-renowned for its music.  Opera companies and symphony orchestras around the country are studded with graduates of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

The visual arts are, by nature, more understated.  From the IU Art Museum to the Fourth Street Festival of Arts and Crafts, the city's visual arts scene is, nonetheless, indubitable.  A relatively recent addition to the visual arts calendar manages to reveal just how thoroughly integrated the local landscape is with artists and their working spaces.

From converted industrial buildings downtown to decidedly non-edgy subdivisions and rural outposts, artists in and around Bloomington are spending the weekend hosting visitors in their studios and work environments for the Fourth Annual Bloomington Open Studios Tour.

It’s a real personal interaction. People like to hear backstories. They can see where I’m coming from and see my passion and voice.

“I think it's an amazing opportunity to meet the artists while in action,” jewelry artist, Lori McDonald says. “A lot of work and passion goes into our stuff and [the public] usually only gets to see the end result.”

Forty-five visual artists in 27 different locations are exhibiting their works and processes. Participating artists work in media ranging from painting, glass, sculpture, jewelry, leather, and ceramics to  furniture, puzzles, prints, fabrics, clay, photography and mixed media.

“It really gives an opportunity to talk one-on-one,” jewelry artist, Angela Caldwell says. “It’s a real personal interaction. People like to hear backstories. They can see where I’m coming from and see my passion and voice.”

The tour gives visitors the chance to observe the inside of artists’ studios along with their tools and materials, ask questions about artists’ inspirations and work, and purchase pieces of work. And to uncover a secret map of Bloomington, drawn by connecting the places where most days, without an audience, artists show up and make things.

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