Open Studio Tour 2023

ORANGE SLICES

By Laurie Paolicelli

Holly Taylor Protest Pearls, www.protestpearls.com, (919) 696-6495, 402 Lloyd Street, Carrboro

2023 marks the 29th year for the Orange County Artists Guild’s Annual Open Studio Tour. During the first two weekends in November, more than 100 artists located throughout Orange County will be participating in this juried event and opening their studios to visitors. OCAG’s Open Studio Tour is a rare opportunity for art lovers from Orange County and beyond to meet artists in their places of work, to view and purchase art directly from the artists, and in many instances to watch as artists demonstrate how they create their pieces.

Orange County includes Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough, of course, but also smaller venues such as Cedar Grove, Dogwood Acres, Southern Village, and more. Orange County is like a canvas itself, and all over it are artists of many varieties, yes, more than you could possibly imagine.

Before paintings and sculptures end up in a gallery, online, or at a festival or special event, they’re labored over—for months or even years—in the privacy of an artist’s studio. Most people never have the chance to pull back the curtain and see what these workspaces actually look like. A studio visit is a chance to witness a work of art while they’re still in progress, getting a first-hand look at where the magic happens.

Visiting an artist’s studio is a long-held tradition shared between artists, curators, gallery owners, and collectors. For the artist, it’s an opportunity to show new or work in-progress, explain themes and ideas central to their work, and present their practice and abilities in a private and intimate setting.

Elaine O’Neil, Hillsborough, elaine63@nc.rr.com, www.elaineoneil.com, (919) 624-1871, 226 South Bellvue Street, Hillsborough

“I enjoy having people come into the space I work in because it gives me the chance to share my happy factory. My studio is a cozy, inviting space, full of colorful fabrics, threads and texture,” says local artist Elaine O’Neil. “I have individual cards at $2 going up to original works in the hundreds and a few things over $1000. I’m sure that’s true for most studios. Another tip is that some studios are not open both weekends. I’m open the first weekend only. You’ll see many artists demonstrating their techniques and showing their process which is fun. Come visit.”

What a great opportunity this is.

For visitors, it’s a chance to participate in a one-on-one dialogue with artists, gaining insight into how the artist makes their work, what inspires the artist’s work, and to get an exclusive opportunity to witness where the artist is headed next.

Ali Givens, Ali Givens Art, ali@aligivens.com, www.aligivens.com, (919) 593-2804, 3611 Mijos Lane, Chapel Hill. Photos of Ali Givens by John Michael Simpson for Chapel Hill Magazine.

“I work with fabric and paint to create portraits of spaces. I paint cottons, linen, and silk to create a palette of texture and color, which I then cut and layer to create a portrait of a place,” says Ali Givens, a Chapel Hill resident. I look forward to guests learning more about my process.”


Susan Filley, www.susanfilley.com, (919) 428-0833, 6614 Meadow View Road, Hillsborough

Studio Tour brochures and maps to the participants’ studios are available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts and other area locations or on the Guild website: https://www.ocagnc.org

Artists Catherine Kramer, gourd and mixed media artist and Emily Eve Weinstein/, painter/writer/bookmaker are on-hand 501 Landerwood Lane, Chapel Hill along with the chef, Marc Alperin.

The Studio Tour is the perfect way to understand the heart and spirit of Orange County — and, at the same time, support our artists, create a space for art in your life, and be a part of a community where art and the artists who create it are truly valued. The tour is also much beloved by many visitors for whom it has become an annual tradition, as well an opportunity to start their holiday shopping — or collecting.

“I loved going into Linda Prager’s studio a couple years ago and seeing her variations and colors learning more about what motivates her to make a certain piece,” said Denise Lisdahl, Raleigh. “When I look at my vase I see her smile and feel as if I have a shared connection with her and that makes the art more special.”

Michael Kerry Salemi, www.michael-salemi.squarespace.com, (919) 260-4327, 9411 Laurel Springs Drive, Chapel Hill

Meditation, Abhi Sivadas. Abhi is well versed in the Vedic building manuals of ancient India and use this codified knowledge of frequency and resonance to design and align vibrant space, art and communities for maximum well-being. mymusescardshop@gmail.com, www.mymusescardshop.com

How the Tour Works

Galleries and studios are open FREE of charge.

The artist studios are open the first 2 weekends of November: SATURDAYS from 10:00 am – to 5:00 pm & SUNDAYS from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

NOTE: Some studios are open only one weekend, as indicated inside.

Look through the brochure and select images of artworks that interest you. To see more work by a particular artist, go to www.ocagnc.org and view the OCAG artist pages.     

According to the Visitors Bureau, “The goal is to highlight local artists and support artistic programming in our communities. It’s a stunning array of work and participants get a map of all the studio locations and can visit as many as they chose to. The Visitors Center has free maps, 308 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. Or download your digital map: www.ocagnc.org


Laurie Paolicelli is executive director for the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, a position she has held since 2005. Laurie has worked in tourism and marketing for twenty-five years, having served in leadership roles in Houston and California convention and visitor bureaus. She is a native of the Twin Ports of Duluth, MN/Superior Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Communications from the University Wisconsin-Superior and graduate certification in Technology In Marketing from the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

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