Open Studios is a free self-guided tour, produced by Arts Council Santa Cruz County, that invites the public into more than 300 artist studios across Santa Cruz County. Open Studios 2019 takes place the first three weekends of October, from 11am to 5pm Saturdays and Sundays.
North County: October 5 & 6
South County: October 12 & 13
All County: October 19 & 20
Questions: Contact Open Studios Director Ann Ostermann, 831-475-9600 x17, firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan Your Tour
Pick up an Artist Guide
The 2019 Open Studios Artist Guide is FREE and available after September 18 alongside the Good Times at locations throughout Santa Cruz County (while supplies last).
Visiting from out of town? Make it a weekend (or two)! We've partnered with Hotel Paradox to bring an artful lodging experience to your Open Studios adventure. Request the "Arts Council" rate and save 15%. Reserve online using promo code 13701 or call 877-425-7100. Offer valid through October 13. You can also email email@example.com to request a guide be shipped to you.
Open Studios App
Free app (or app update) available October 1, 2019. Download time via iTunes or Google Play. Search keyword “Open Studios Art Tour”. Or if you already have the app, update after October 1.
SEPT 28 – OCT 20
Chart your tour at this exhibit, showcasing artwork from 300+ participating artists.
Tues-Fri: 11am-5pm Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm Mon: Closed First Friday: Oct 5, 5-9pm
Public Reception: Sun Sept 29, 3-6pm Bring your friends and join us at the kick-off party. Free valet bike parking.
OCT 4 - 20
Featuring artists exclusive to Davenport, Bonny Doon, San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley, La Selva Beach, and Watsonville.
Sat-Sun: Oct 5-6 & 12-13, 11am-5pm. First Friday: Oct 4th, 5-9pm
Follow the Green Signs
Another popular tour strategy is to choose a neighborhood and then follow the signs. Each studio puts out large lime green signs pointing to their location.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does Open Studios take place? In artist's studios throughout Santa Cruz County.
North County (October 5-6) includes studios north of the Yacht Harbor: Santa Cruz, Davenport, Bonny Doon, Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Felton, and Scotts Valley
South County (October 12-13) includes studios south of the Yacht Harbor: Live Oak, Capitola, Soquel, Aptos, Freedom, La Selva Beach, Corralitos, and Watsonville
Find participating All County (October 20-21) artists in the guide and map, or just look for the green signs all over the county.
What is a studio and what is it like to visit them? A studio is a place where someone makes art – it could be a room in their house, a space in a warehouse, a garage, or something different altogether. Everyone has a different method to their art-making – clean or messy, funky or classic, huge or tiny. Open Studios gives you an opportunity to see this amazing variety of approach and style.
Why do Open Studios? Experience art where it was created, meet an artist, and learn about their artistic process. Open Studios is also a great way to meet neighbors that you might not have known were artists, or visit a new part of the county. Visit one studio or make a day of it.
Who is Open Studios for? Anyone. Seriously, you don’t even need an artist guide (although it helps). You can follow the green directional artist signs all over Santa Cruz County during the first three weekends in October, and indulge your sense of adventure. It’s a great thing to do alone, with family, or with friends.
Is it free? Yes! The guide is free, the app is free, there is no cost for visiting a studio. You might want to bring your wallet just in case you find a perfect piece to bring home or gift for a loved one.
Who are the Open Studios artists? They’re your friends, neighbors, or sometimes people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. Some artists are shy and some are gregarious. Some artists are hobbyists, others have non-art day jobs, and some are full-time artists.
Artists have been selected based on their anonymous application by a jury of seven arts professionals, all from outside of Santa Cruz County.
I'm an artist. How can I apply to be part of the tour? Applications for the tour are available online every year starting March 1; the deadline to apply is April 30. The tour is limited to adults [18 or older] who are residents of Santa Cruz County.
Participating artists have paid for the opportunity to meet you. They want to feel appreciated and share their process with art-loving (or art-curious) folks like you. Feel free to ask them questions or quietly soak it all in.
Of course they’d love for you to buy their work, but there’s no obligation to buy a thing. That said, artists have pieces for sale in all price ranges. And, if you see something you can’t live without but don’t have the cash on hand, a lot of artists offer payment plans. Just ask.
I’m coming from out of town, where’s a good place to stay? Hotel Paradox is offering great deals as our preferred lodging partner. Or, find a great place to stay through Visit Santa Cruz County.