Art Escapes

Two popular open-art studio events mark milestones in Marin

Marin art lovers have plenty of reasons to celebrate this holiday season, as the region offers several chances to view and collect serious works directly from the local artists who create them.

This year, two of Marin’s most popular open-studio events observe significant anniversaries, as the Point Reyes Open Studios tour turns 20 and the ICB Winter Open Studios event turns 50.

The two occasions offer different ways to approach the open-studio model. In West Marin, the Point Reyes Open Studios leads visitors on a rural, self-guided Thanksgiving Day weekend getaway to secluded art studios along the backroads between Bolinas and Tomales Bay, Nov. 23–25.

West Marin sculptors, photographers, painters, printmakers and woodworkers show off their spaces for the 20th annual tour, allowing visitors a chance to explore the area’s charm and picturesque locales.

Brochures and maps can be found at venues like Point Reyes Books, the Station House Cafe, Palace Market and Ink Paper Plate, as well as online.

On the opposite end of the open-studio spectrum, the ICB Winter Open Studios event boasts over a hundred artists in a single location, the historic Industrial Center Building near Sausalito’s waterfront. Once a massive structure built to construct liberty ships during WWII, the space today is a veritable treasure trove of art that is both one of the original and largest artist collectives in the country.

“Fifty years ago, a guy by the name of Tim Rose came up with the idea of open studios,” says John Kunzweiler, artist and president of the ICB Artists’ Association. “Rose was your classic Sausalito beatnik artist, and he wanted to raise money for a trip to France, so he thought, somehow, the best thing to do was to open a building and have an art show with several other artists. That was the genesis of our open studios.”

The ICB Artists’ Association honors the late Rose and the hundreds of working artists that currently occupy the Industrial Center Building for the 50th anniversary of the ICB Winter Open Studios, Nov. 30–Dec. 2.

“It’s a big operation,” says Kunzweiler. “When you have that many artists, you get into an amazing range of artistic styles. That broadens the experience of the different artists. It’s really a creative hub.”

As well as being a destination for art lovers, Kunzweiler notes that ICB always has a waiting list of artists looking to get in.

“People want to be there because it’s very collegial and, with such an amazing number of active artists, there’s something happening there everyday.”

The weekend-long ICB Winter Open Studios will display a gallery of Rose’s mobile sculptures as well as holiday-themed works in addition to the individual studios. Friday includes an artist party, available with registration.

“With our program in hand, you can go directly to the artists and the art that you want to see,” says Kunzweiler, “or you can walk the halls, look in doorways, talk to artists and get a feel of what they do and why they do it.”

Point Reyes Open Studios runs Friday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 25, at various locations in West Marin. 11am to 5pm daily. Free.

ICB Winter Open Studios happens Friday, Nov. 30, to Sunday, Dec. 2, 480 Gate Five Road, Sausalito. 11am to 6pm daily. Free.

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