Napa Valley Open Studios Celebrates 25th Anniversary

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Visit Napa Valley artists in their studios September 22 & 23 and 29 & 30, 2012, from 10 pm to 5 pm at art studios throughout the Napa Valley.

Cover of the 25th Anniversary 2012 Napa Valley Open Studios collector's catalog.

Napa Valley is filled with creative, passionate people. In this high-tech world, it's important to remember that there are still exceptional people creating beautiful artwork the old-fashioned way – by hand.

The 25th Anniversary of Napa Valley Open Studios (NVOS) 2012 is a free, self-guided, art discovery tour, which takes place the last two weekends in September. This year, 74 juried artists welcome visitors into 43 creative work spaces stretching from Calistoga in the north to Napa in the south.

Napa Valley Open Studios is a collaborative effort by both professional and emerging artists committed to bringing visitors artistic, inspiring, and varied creative experiences. Visitors can meet painters, sculptors, potters, glass artists, weavers, printmakers, photographers, jewelry makers, and more – even a wood turner, a fine furniture maker, and a custom boot maker!

The opportunity to visit working Napa Valley studios is a rarity, because of the valley's official designation as an agricultural preserve, which places limits on non-farming activities in the county. For NVOS, special arrangements give visitors the liberty to explore this side of life in Napa Valley.

Visitors to Napa Valley Open Studios not only see multiple art mediums, but also experience the studio atmosphere, see hidden parts of the valley, and hear the back-stories of artists and their work.

At some studios they can also watch artists' demonstrations of color mixing; painting in progress; spinning and weaving; glass cutting and soldering; and sculpture in clay, stone, or metal. They can help create a mixed media painting; try their hand at sculpting marble; and learn how carved clay becomes a bronze statue.

All artists, whether they are giving demonstrations or not, are glad to share how and why they do what they do, and show their visitors the results. And why do they do what they do? Answers vary, but new NVOS artist Michael Layne says, "Sometimes architectural design can be frustrating, so I like to go in my studio, slap paint, and get happy."

This year's catalog cover artist is Mark Mattioli, whose humorous paintings spring from a wonderfully zany imagination. Visitors to his studio in the vineyards can see his latest series of fun and unconventional paintings on wooden wine boxes and his charmingly illustrated "Mattioli's In-Your-Pocket Guides" to wine country towns – and perhaps get a glimpse of his "Doodle-a-Day" notebooks, where he gives his imagination free rein. Mattioli, who describes himself as "at heart, a cartoonist who draws and paints," says of travel and the creative process, "Seeing with fresh eyes breeds fresh ideas."

About Napa Valley Open Studios

Since 1987, Open Studios has gone from a word-of-mouth program using a black-and-white foldout publication to a juried process with a collector's catalog and web and Facebook presence.

Participating artists independently manage NVOS, and function as a subcommittee of the Napa Valley Art Association. This year's steering committee is comprised of Dave Courtney, Sherrell Harper, Christine George, Karen Lynn Ingalls, and Cathy Kough.

Maps and catalogs are downloadable at

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Karen Lynn Ingalls
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