By Gretchen Ammerman
For the TODAY
The list of things that make us feel good seems weighted pretty heavily on the side of things that aren’t exactly good for us. Luckily, new research has added an item on the healthy side of the ledger that’s easier than running long distances and cheaper than a weekend at a spa.
“There has been recent research that has shown that making art can boost serotonin levels for as long as two days,” said oil painter Laurie Carlson. “Even just viewing it can have the same effect.”
Carlson will be one of the artists opening her studio for visitors to get a shot of serotonin during Art on the Edge, the second annual central Oregon Coast studio tour running from Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20.
“I was thrilled to be invited,” Carlson said. “It made me feel part of this big, thriving artists’ community we have here.”
The self-guided tour will have 25 stops at a variety of artist spaces in and around Lincoln City. Tour-takers can buy a map listing all the stops along with an entrance button for $10 at the Lincoln City Cultural Center beginning May 1.
“Last year went so well that this year we’ve doubled in size,” said organizer Krista Eddy. “We’ve also added four group studios; the Lincoln City Glass Center, the Cultural Center Clay Studio, the Artists Studio Association and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.”
Each group studio will show work by three or more working artists.
“I’m so excited to have Sitka on board and I love the artists that will be showing there,” Eddy said. “Sitka adds prestige to the tour because they are so widely known and are an accredited center. It’s also great having the other group studios. When arts organizations collaborate, it creates a mutually beneficial environment that’s pretty wonderful.”
The benefit extends to the single studio artists as well, Carlson said.
“Creating art isolates us,” she said. “But then the tour binds us together.”
The tour also gives artists a break from an occasionally lonely environment.
“The thing about being an artist is that you spend so much time by yourself,” Carlson said, “I love interacting with people and talking about why I love painting; my goal is to convert everyone into painters. I think there is something about our little spot here on the coast that makes people want to be creative.”
The beauty of the Central Coast will be highlighted with several “Ocean Inspiration” stops on the tour map.
One of the stops, Roads End State Park, provides the viewshed outside the studio of acrylic/mixed media artist Victoria McOmie.
“I love that I have a view but I don’t need one,” she said. “One of the great things about this tour is that you can see all the different ways that can make up an artist’s studio. People get so caught up in trying to make the perfect creative space, but a great artist’s studio can even be in the laundry room. When you are in the zone, a view isn’t crucial to doing artwork.”
“These tours give people the opportunity to make a connection with people in a way that happens less and less these days,” McOmie added. “There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction.”
Though event organizers have no specific target audience in mind, McOmie said that other artists frequently take studio tours for inspiration.
“It’s nice to have people that are interested in your process come to the studio and give you a chance to actually demonstrate it,” she said. “For example, I use a lot of texture in my pieces, and I will be demonstrating that. That’s something that you wouldn’t get at a gallery show.”
Eddy said that, out of all the factors that made last year’s inaugural tour a success, the artists were the most crucial.
“It really helps when you have a community of artists that are not only very talented, but have a knack for dealing with the public and have an interesting process to share,” she said. “Ours definitely have that.”
You can get a virtual peek at this year’s artists at ArtStudioTourLCCC.com, or a real life meet and greet at the opening reception at the Chessman Gallery in the Cultural Center on Friday, May 11.
“Most of the artists participating in the tour come, so it’s another chance to meet them,” Eddy said. “Each will have three pieces in the show.”
The “Art on the Edge” gallery show will be up until June 4, but nothing will beat the real thing.
“A sneak peek into artists lives is magical,” Eddy said. “It’s hard for people who haven’t been on one of these tours to know how much fun it is just to meet these people and see their creative spaces.”
The Lincoln City Cultural Center is located at 540 NE Hwy. 101 in Lincoln City. for more information on the Art on the Edge tour, go to ArtStudioTourLCCC.com.