Art hike to see East Bay Open Studios

 In Arts and Culture, Environment

East Bay Open Studios signs

Last Sunday, my husband and I took an “art hike” to visit studios open for the annual East Bay Open Studios. This weekend, June 11-12, hundreds of East Bay artists will again welcome the public into their studios for the final weekend of the self-guided tour for this year.

Organized by the nonprofit Pro Arts since 1979, East Bay Open Studios connects the public with local artists during the first two weekends in June.

On our tour in Berkeley, we visited nine studios, among the 400 open throughout the East Bay. Many of the studios were converted garages made airy and bright with skylights, angled ceilings and track lighting.

The maps on the Pro Arts website make it easy for you to plot your tour, by region, while each icon on the map connects you to an artist’s profile page with a featured piece.

As enthusiasts for the outdoors and wild lands, we were sure to visit studios of environmental artists. Not surprisingly, several Berkeley artists gain their inspiration from Bay Area and California landscapes including Betsy Kendall and Judith Corning.

Judith Corning’s post card for the Open Studios features her work “Gulls at Kehoe.” Kehoe is a stretch of beach at Point Reyes National Seashore where she spends a lot of time as a volunteer for the Beach Watch program of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s wildlife and habitats.

Gulls at Kehoe by Artist Judith Corning

Gulls at Kehoe by Artist Judith Corning

The work of Wilma Wyss also sparked my intrigue, particularly her piece called “Archaeological Find.” The small sculpture made of concrete and tiny mosaic tiles encases a small mirror at its core. When you stare into it your eye becomes part of the artwork as it stares back at you, perfectly framed.

Concrete and Mosaic Sculptures by Wilma Wyss

Concrete and Mosaic Sculptures by Wilma Wyss

 

We were lucky to find a copy of the “Directory of East Bay Arts” at the first studio we visited. This made it easy to locate studios along our journey, which started in the flats and ended at the top of the hill near Grizzly Peak Boulevard. By the end of the afternoon, we had hiked over seven miles but hardly noticed.

A view of Mt Tamalpais from the Berkeley Hills

A view of Mt Tamalpais from the Berkeley Hills

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