Western Loudoun, and especially around Lovettsville, has rightfully earned a reputation for being a haven for uber-talented artists.
The Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour (WLAST), entering its ninth year, is a self-guided driving tour of 32 art studios featuring the work of over 60 artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, pottery, ceramics, photography, jewelry, sculpture and more. The tour has expanded each year and is supported by arts organizations, businesses, the county and towns of Round Hill and Lovettsville.
For one weekend every summer, artists fling open their studio doors so art lovers can visit private spaces where art happens. Art studios are a direct reflection of the artist’s personality and style. In addition to being a workshop, they are often quirky, whimsical and fun. It’s a fantastic way to get a sense of an artist’s temperament and creative process.
Jill Evans-Kavaldjian, a Lovettsville-based artist, has been involved with the tour since its inception.
David Norton, a founding member of the tour and owner of Potterosa studio, is a celebrated local potter whose artwork is displayed around the world. Local artists turned to him nine years ago to draw on his 22 years’ experience running his own successful studio tour. He was happy to help and even provided an all-important mailing list to get started.
The WLAST was born from this friendly, collegial collaboration.
“You can’t get artists to agree on anything, so this shows how special our community is,” laughs Norton. In addition to the tour’s growth, he’s also impressed by the tour’s embrace of digital technologies, including making each of the artist’s work available online, which helps visitors decide which studios to visit (he points out that hitting 32 studios in one weekend is a tall order).
“Our tour has really become a venue for discriminating art patrons,” said Norton. “It allows people to come and browse our work without any obligation.” He says this low-key, relaxing atmosphere is key to the tour’s success.
WLAST organizers also aggressively promote the tour, asking each participating artist to distribute postcards and booklets to wineries, B&Bs, theaters, restaurants – any place artists and art lovers are likely to congregate. Banners are also put up around area towns and even the Dulles Greenway – a sponsor – hangs a can’t-miss sign on the toll-road.
Data collected by tour organizers indicates that visitors range from all over Loudoun County, but also from neighboring counties, D.C., Maryland and West Virginia.
If you’re an art lover, or simply want to venture out for a lovely scenic drive to see some cool art spaces, you certainly have a rich abundance of options to choose from.
If you go:
The 9th Annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour
Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.