RiverArts 18th Annual Studio Tour


Come visit behind the scenes at various artists’ studios during the Chestertown RiverArts Studio Tour during the last two weekends in October.

Ever wonder how an artist can look at an old, dilapidated barn and make it “pop” on canvas or paper? Would you like to visit with a metal artist who makes delicate vessels, unique wall art, and large outdoor sculpture, some of it displayed in his own sculpture garden? How is intricate jewelry made from polymer clay or from precious and semi-precious stones that sometimes have meanings associated with them? What are the different decorative techniques in pottery? How does the boldness of the Talavera style of painting on pottery compare to a multi-layered spray application of glaze that makes a piece of porcelain look so lacy and delicate?

Find the answers on the RiverArts 18th Annual Studio Tour that takes place over two weekends, October 21-22 and 28-29, 10:00-5:00, rain or shine. This free self-guided tour on the picturesque Eastern Shore of Maryland includes close to 50 artists, many of them nationally-known, who will invite you into their studios to talk about their art, demonstrate their techniques and offer original art for sale at studio prices.

“Sheds and Silos” – pastel by Mary Pritchard

The art is as diverse as the artists who create it, with styles ranging from traditional to avant-garde, expressed in a variety of media that include painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, pottery, fiber, woodcraft, jewelry, furniture, glass, and more. The venues vary from galleries and independent studios in small art complexes to artists’ homes – some detached from the main house and some inside the house itself.

Situated on a scenic peninsula where the Chester and Sassafras Rivers meander into the Chesapeake Bay, Kent County has retained its serene beauty despite the passage of time. Historic Chestertown, located on the banks of the Chester River, is the oldest mid-Atlantic port of entry in the state dating back to the 1640s. It has been designated by the state of Maryland as an Arts and Entertainment District. Its Mayor, Chris Cerino, remarked, “The downtown arts scene has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade….Chestertown is fast becoming a regional arts destination.” In addition to the charm of Chestertown, out-of-towners often remark on how much they enjoy the tranquility of the countryside, water views, and small, friendly towns.

Wearable Art by Joy Berghaus

Visitors are encouraged to start their tour at the RiverArts Gallery, 315 High Street – in the breezeway, by viewing an exhibit representing work by the various Studio Tour artists. The exhibit opens on First Friday, October 6, 11:00 am-8:00 pm and is up through November 29. Studio Tour brochures may be found at the Gallery and at restaurants and shops throughout Kent County.

If you are digitally inclined, note that the website is mobile ready and contains many features that will facilitate navigation, including interactive maps and pre-planned routes. Each artist is listed by name, location, and medium. It will even give you a list of the studios that are handicap-accessible, and find other attractions such as restaurants and B&B’s.

Combine your Studio Tour with other events! On Downrigging Weekend, October 28-29. Chestertown’s schooner, Sultana, is joined by many historic tall ships and Chesapeake Buy-Boats. Many of the art studios are within an easy walking distance of the ships. All this makes for a fun family outing.

“Japanese Maple Sphere” – metal sculpture by Rob Glebe

Just outside of town the Olde Kent Quilters Guild Show and Market includes approximately 60 quilts of all colors, shapes, and sizes at the Kent Center, 215 Scheeler Road. The show is also open on the 28th and 29th. For more information call 410-490-7102.

Chestertown is 90 miles from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia, all well situated for a day trip. However, there are so many artists on the tour, it might prove enjoyable to spend a weekend or two. To help you plan your trip, go to the RiverArts Studio Tour’s website. You may also call 410-778-6300 or email us at info@chestertownriverarts.org. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11:00-4:00, Saturday, 10:00-4:00, Sunday 11:00-3:00. During the tour, hours are Saturday and Sunday 10:00-5:00.

For information on lodging, restaurants, and other attractions go to the Kent County website or contact our Tourism Development Office at 410-778-0416 or email tourism@kentcounty.com.

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