Fall is the beginning of so many good things in Santa Cruz County: school’s back in session, the leaves are beginning to turn, pumpkin spice is back in all things regardless if it’s needed (who doesn’t want pumpkin spice deodorant?), and Open Studios returns to showcase the county’s most stunning artwork.
Beginning Oct. 1 more than 275 artists—some seasoned professionals, some fresh-faced newbies, will crawl out from their artist caves and into the light to share their works with art lovers everywhere. Explore nooks and crannies of Santa Cruz County that you never thought to look for by taking in all sorts of art directly from the creators in their natural habitats—Open Studios allows locals to fully explore the process, the place, and the inspiration behind the work.
Follow the green signs, pick up GT’s Open Studios Art Tour 2016 guide, pack some snacks and peruse everything from furniture, collage, ceramics, glass, jewelry, fiber arts and more. Strategize and personalize your tour of the county’s finest, starting with South County, Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2 from Watsonville to the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. Bike around the harbor alongside the otters and then carpool to Watsonville where, in between art stops, you can tour the historical downtown and rehydrate with beer at Corralitos Brewing.
Bring a jacket for the foggier delights of North County’s festivities on Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9, from the reaches of Seabright up to the Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley forests—and grab a slice of olallieberry pie from Whale City Bakery in Davenport while the berries are still around.
On Saturday Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16, Open Studios opens up for an encore weekend of the whole county. Meet the friends, neighbors, and strangers you never would’ve guessed are secret fabric art geniuses or dedicate their time to master the craft of sculpture or wearable art. If you want to take the festivities up a notch, plan a viewing party yourself with maps for your friends, download the free app, and mix up some Virgin Open Studios cucumber basil gimlets to toast—check out the recipe on the Arts Council website (the virgin part is optional, of course) and find more information at artscouncilsc.org/open-studios.