A group of local artists has joined together to fill the void left by one of the summer’s many canceled events: the Wood River Valley Studio Tour.
The studio tour was one of the first events to cancel when officials reported the first Idaho cases of COVID-19 in March—even though it not slated to take place until August. In a March 16 press release, president and founder Suzanne Hazlett wrote “some may wonder if canceling an event scheduled five months out is an overreaction,” though time clearly justified her decision.
Ultimately, with the amount of preparation the event takes and the number of artists and visitors who participate in the tour, entering artists’ private studios in close quarters, Hazlett determined an event on such a scale was unfeasible and rescheduled for 2021.
A handful of artists who normally participate in the tour have banded together for an in-lieu event on a much more manageable scale and with appropriate safety precautions in place. The studio visits will occur on the dates originally planned for the studio tour, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22 and 23.
Nine artists—Susan P. Perin, Lisa Horton, Sarah Davies, Mary Rolland, Lisa Holley, Jan Lassetter, Dorothea Cheney, Pamela Street and Karen Jacobsen—are all taking part. The artists will open the doors to their private studios, welcoming visitors in for free to provide insight into the artistic process.
Social distancing and face masks will be required and artists may limit the number of people allowed inside at once if necessary. Perin, Horton, Lassetter, Street and Jacobsen are welcoming visitors by appointment only.
Rolland organized the weekend event to remind people that artists are still working and creating even without largescale programs to showcase their skill.
“The annual Wood River Studio Tour was canceled, and I know quite a few of the local artists really look forward to that,” Rolland explained. “I sent out an email to all of the artists who participated last year. I got positive feedback, but most of them were concerned about the pandemic.”
Though many will wait until next year, Rolland and the other artists have found a way to proceed with safety precautions in place. The artists will welcome visitors 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Studios are free to attend.
“I think it’s going to look terrific,” Rolland said. “They’ve canceled everything, but this lets the community know we’re here, we’re working and we’re open to showing our work by appointment or when scheduled to be open. These are really dedicated local artists. We all have our own studios and we’re looking forward to showing our work.”