SACKVILLE, N.B. – With more than three dozen local artists putting their work on display this weekend, visitors will have plenty to enjoy as they take in the annual Art Across the Marsh studio tour.
The tour offers visitors an opportunity to get an up-close-and-intimate look into artist’s studios in Tantramar and Cumberland counties – from Dorchester to Sackville, from Port Elgin to Tidnish, from Lorneville to Amherst, N.S. Sixteen stops mark the studio tour trail this year, featuring work ranging from painting to pottery, stained glass to sculpting, woodworking to photography.
“There’s such a diverse mix of artists, mediums and styles, that there’s almost something for everybody,” says tour organizer Robert Lyon, who is also one of the artisans opening up his studio to guests Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21.
The tour, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, is an event that has become somewhat of a fall tradition in the region, says Lyon, and continues to regularly attract hundreds of people from throughout the Maritimes.
“It’s a great time of year to get out and check out the marsh, the fall colours … it’s just such a beautiful time of year in this area.”
October was chosen for that very reason, says Lyon, to expose more people to the area at a time of year when they can see some pretty majestic and scenic views driving along routes that are a bit off the beaten path.
The date has also worked well because it is close enough to the Christmas season for people to be thinking of it but not too close that it’s among the Christmas rush, he says.
Marking its 19th year, Lyon says although he can’t pinpoint exactly what has led to the event’s success over the years, the tour does provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the unique and vibrant arts community that has become synonymous with the Tantramar-Cumberland region – and perhaps that is the key to its longevity.
“We’re still here. Nineteen years later and we’re still doing it. It’s been a huge success over the years and that’s been such a huge boost for the artists, to have that exposure.”
“For the artists, it’s the least expensive show they’ll do all year and they don’t have to leave their home or their studio.”
Another reason behind its popularity may also be that there is always something new to see on the tour each year – even for return visitors, suggests Lyon.
“There’s always transition. There’s always new artists joining the tour or some returning after a few years, everybody has new work, artists are always doing new things. “
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. Many people make a day or weekend trip out of it, he says, 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.
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.