Wanderers tour open art studios

An ornament in the shape of Minnesota from Sue Christensen,  an artist who creates patchwork pottery using stoneware and slipcast porcelain, hangs on display in the home of Nancy and Laura Anderson, outside of Watertown.
An ornament in the shape of Minnesota from Sue Christensen, an artist who creates patchwork pottery using stoneware and slipcast porcelain, hangs on display in the home of Nancy and Laura Anderson, outside of Watertown.

Artists and art enthusiasts enjoy fine art on the ‘Edge of the Big Woods’

By Melissa Priebe
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Autumn arrived just in time for the Art Wander, bringing a cool breeze and a pop of color to Carver County during the open studio tour.

The streets bustled with art enthusiasts during the annual event, as visitors from across the region flocked to studios in seven cities. The tour included Watertown, Mayer, Waconia, Chaska, Chanhassen, Carver and Cologne.

By Saturday, the artists on the tour said they had already seen a great turnout.

“It’s wonderful,” said Cheryl Shohet, of Waconia.

Shohet said the Art Wander has made a real impact on Carver County, bringing out new talent and highlighting some of the best artists who live in local cities each year. One of three artists who were originally part of Studio 56, Shohet said the Art Wander played a huge role in the opening of Unearthed Arts in Waconia.

The art gallery offers fine art from local creators throughout the year, with workspace in the back. But during the Art Wander, the space in the back of the shop was opened to the public to display even more local art.

“This was really the product of Art Wander,” she said. “It’s great to have this space to showcase local art.”

Dressed in black with a classic artist’s cap, Jane Ask Bodahl spoke with a young woman from Watertown about the local art scene. She held a palette smudged with paint, giving a live painting demonstration as they talked.

The Art Wander have visitors the chance to get up close and personal with the artists, asking them about their plans, their process and their inspiration.

It also provided some great shopping, for both wall art and sculpture as well as wearable art like jewelry and other accessories.

More than 40 artists exhibited during the studio tour, and though Waconia was host to a large portion of the galleries, the open studios spanned from Cologne and Carver to rural spots on Highway 25, near Mayer and just south of Watertown.

It was here, in the most northwest studio location on the tour, that Mike Carlson displayed his stained glass yard and garden art.

As he spoke with art wanderers, he said the event brings different artists every year.

“The quality of art always seems to get richer each year with more diversity,” said Cynthia Anderson, one of the organizers. “Each year you can see the work expand, grow and change.”

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