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Studio tour offers up online options

A switch to digital has been inevitable for the team running the Kissing Bridge Studio tour. After much deliberation, the event is set to take place October 24 and 25, displaying 10 artists’ creative talents in the digital world and some work in what is being called a walkabout.

“It’s going to be a combination – we’re calling it the Kissing Bridge Trail virtual and walkabout studio tour. That’s a long name, but we’ve added … it’s going to be a virtual tour, but it’s also going to be a walkabout tour, meaning there will be four locations, physical locations where all of our artwork is on display. And people can look at it from the safety of the sidewalk or in a couple of cases they can go inside. But again, socially distanced so that they won’t be walking into our studios, they’ll be going into four locations that we’ve picked throughout Woolwich,” explained Carolyn Parks, a St. Jacobs-based fibre artist, of the new format.

This year will be Parks’ first year on the tour, and she is excited to see what it will bring.

“I think that there was a challenge placed in front of us in the beginning because the tour was no longer going to be the traditional studio tour. But, as you know, sometimes restrictions and changes require you to pivot and innovate. And I think we did that: we have a fresh look. We’ve got some interesting feedback,” she added.

Also taking part for the first time, Elmira artist Julie Wemp shares Parks’ excitement.

“I’m quite thrilled. I have been attending the studio tour for years, and I always had in the back of my mind that I would like to be an artist on the tour one day. And this year is my first year being on the tour,” said Wemp, a traditional painter.

Kelly Martin is part of the committee for KBST and another featured artist specializing in the craft of jewelry art. This will be her eighth year with the tour, which needs to continue despite the pandemic, she said.

“It lets people know that we are still here – we’re still producing lots of great stuff. We want you to see it.”

The four physical locations on tour include Local Renaissance Café in Elmira, Crowsfoot Smoke Haus in Conestogo, Block Three Brewing in St. Jacobs, and the Stone Crock/Fat Sparrow Group, also in St. Jacobs.

The partnership with Block Three goes even further, with the company printing labels inspired by four of the artists on the tour recreating West Montrose’s famous covered bridge that gives the trail and the tour their names.

In addition to the viewing sites, there will be 40 pieces of art on display online from 10 different artists.

When viewing pieces online, visitors to the site will have the option to buy them right then and there. They can also contact the artists directly to get more information.

“If they want to learn more about it, then they can make an appointment, and that kind of thing,” explained Parks.

Other artists featured on this year’s tour include the pottery and sculpture of Winterbourne’s Marlen Moggach, painting and print making by Frances Gregory of St. Jacobs, and works by Elmira painter Nicole Brodrecht.

More information about this year’s event can be found online.

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