NK art tour boasts 61 artists at 21 locations

Cultural Arts Foundation NW held its annual Art in the Woods studio tour Nov. 10-12 in North Kitsap.

The event is one of two major outreach events sponsored by the foundation, along with the Poulsbo Arts Festival. They are designed to spotlight local artists of all mediums, raise awareness about the art community, and create opportunities to experience local artists’ creations.

The tour is self-guided so participants can travel around the Peninsula to working studios of both single artists and groups of artists. This year, 61 artists set up at 21 locations.

Ruth Maupin, who works in oils, watercolors and acrylics, and has participated for four years. Maupin said that art is not her only source of income, but was an important pursuit for her, and one that she is able to participate in with her husband, photographer George Maupin.

Event organizer Leigh Knowles said there is a vetting process that ensures the tours host the most notable, and only local artists. She runs the Knowles Studio year round, but also hosted six other artists for the tour.

Next to the Knowles Studio is Laeradr Millworks where Rob Forbes builds furniture out of sustainable Hawaiian hardwoods, Erin DeLargy fashions jewelry, and Jay Broshears forges custom knives out of various metals, including Damascus steel. They only participated in the tour for the second time this year, unlike Knowles, who has been part of it for decades and does paintings and prints.

For visitors Karen Zabinski and Marvin Crosland, at Knowles Studio, this was their fourth year of attendance. They spoke about having favorite artists that they patronized, and whose new work they looked forward to seeing, such as Richard Strom, who works in “repurposed metal sculptures.”

The largest single group of exhibitors was located at Black Barn Fine Art Studio in Kingston, where 12 artists arrayed their work. It was a visibly popular attraction, with parking attendants, and which two hours into the tour on Nov. 11 had already hosted 300 vehicles.

The studio, under construction the last two years and newly opened, was designed to be a teaching space as well as an art studio, so it easily handled the dozen artists. Black Barn’s proprietors, Eileen Sorg and partner James Towner, explained that the intent of the space was to bring the arts to North Kitsap, to offer area artists a space conducive to collaboration, and to build a place where creators could “decompress.” Eventually, they envision that it will not only be a teaching space but will host resident artists as well.

As for the future, Knowles hinted at the possibility of an additional Poulsbo Arts Festival (or similar event) on the horizon.

Attendees pack one of the small studios.

Attendees pack one of the small studios.