Twenty-two stops mark the studio tour trail this year, showcasing the work of 40 artists in an array of mediums – from painting to pottery, stained glass to sculpting, quilting to photography and so much more.
Marilyn Cook, a silk painter in Sackville, has been participating in the studio tour for 17 years now and gets excited every time the event comes around again each year.
“Art Across the Marsh is a highlight of the year for me as a craftsperson,” says Cook. “The studio is full of new work for visitors to view and I look forward to demonstrating the art of painting on silk and everyone is welcome to try it out.”
The studio tour, now in its 18th year, has become somewhat of a fall tradition in Tantramar, attracting hundreds of visitors from throughout the Maritimes each year.
Tour organizer Robert Lyon, who is also one of the artisans opening up his studio to guests, says many people make a day or weekend trip out of it, coming from nearby locales such as Moncton, Shediac, Hillsborough, Petitcodiac, Amherst; and as far away as PEI, Cape Breton, St. John, Fredericton, Halifax and beyond.
Lyon says the tour provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the unique and vibrant arts community that has become synonymous with the Tantramar-Cumberland region.
Katherine Marlin, a sculptor, painter and stained glass artist from Midgic, agrees.
“This area has so many creative people tucked away, and once a year we all come out to play,” she says.
Lyon says the artists on the tour range from up-and-coming newcomers to renowned professionals, offering up a diverse mix of artistry and creativity.
This year’s tour, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 14-15), will offer visitors a sneak peek into artists’ studios all over Tantramar and Cumberland counties – from Dorchester to Sackville, from Midgic to Jolicure, from Baie Verte to Amherst, N.S
"The studio tour is a great opportunity for art lovers to visit the studios of the artists and see their processes,” says Dorchester artist Denyse Milliken. “It’s fun for me to demonstrate spinning and weaving for my guests as most of them have never seen either done before.”
Lyon says not only do visitors get an inside look into these artists’ studios, the weekend-long event is also a great way to expose people more to the area, especially at this time of year when the colors are starting to change.
“The marsh is just spectacular, with all the golds and reds . . . it’s just beautiful this time of year,” says Lyon.
Middleton artists and sisters Peggy Estabrooks and Jackie Weldon say this will be their fourth year participating in the tour and they are eager to welcome guests back into their home-based studio for another round.
“It is always such a fun weekend, meeting so many people enjoying a lovely drive in the country, the beautiful views in our little valley and visiting the many art galleries along the way. It is a joy.”
Margaret Ann Capper, a Sackville potter, says she also enjoys meeting visitors from near and far.
“It is wonderful to have interested public visit my studio/showroom from as far away as British Columbia. There is a good exchange of ideas and great conversations,” she says.
Faye Pike, a newcomer to the tour, says she has always been a big fan of Art Across the Marsh and has visited many studios over the years as part of the annual event.
"I have personally enjoyed viewing the Art Across the Marsh gallery tour in the past and am now pleased, for the first time, to have my Blue Heron Gallery included on the tour,” says the Lorneville, N.S. painter.
Lyon says the studio tour has grown and evolved to the point where it has become a significant economic generator, not just for the artists themselves but for other businesses in the region as well, such as local restaurants and downtown shops.
For more information on the tour, check out www.artacrossthemarsh.ca or phone Robert Lyon at 536-1904. Maps are available at participating studios, online, or at the Sackville tourist bureau.