Inspiration blooms for first Spring Colors Studio Tour

Artist Pat Dolan will demonstrate how she makes her acrylic paintings during this weekend’s Art Alliance Spring Studio Tour.
Artist Pat Dolan will demonstrate how she makes her acrylic paintings during this weekend’s Art Alliance Spring Studio Tour. Photo provided

Spring is certainly in the air and to celebrate the season, the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania is hosting its first Spring Colors Studio Tour. Taking place Saturday and Sunday, this free event showcases a stacked roster of creativity from some of the region’s most talented artists.

After a series of successful studio tours hosted in the fall, the Art Alliance wanted to bring attention to another season. Serving as the yin to the autumn’s yang, the spring show provides visitors with the chance to see a different side of the artists and their craft.

“After spending all winter indoors, people like to get out and tour the beautiful countryside as spring blossoms abound, much as we do in the fall to see the changing of the autumn leaves,” said Bellefonte artist Pat Dolan, who works with acrylic paints. “Spring is also the time of spring cleaning and redecorating for many people. Redecorating involves new artwork for the walls, so the timing for this event is perfect.”

Marie Doll, executive director of the Art Alliance, said that just as the fall foliage colors inspire artists, spring’s blooms add color to the landscape.

“We’re showing a world of professional artists, where colors, shapes and textures merge into unique collectible works of art,” she said.

In addition to just viewing the artwork, visitors will also have the opportunity to learn directly from the artists. With more than two dozen demos taking place at the artist’s personal studios, this event offers an intimate peek at the hard work that goes into the final product. The unparalleled insight that these artists offer will spark a dialogue that promotes a better understanding of the influences and the craftsmanship behind the pieces.

“The audience can watch an artist create a painting, weaving or piece of pottery and then ask them questions about what they are doing,” Doll said.

According to Doll, artists say that they also learn from the audience in the relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

“Demonstrating what one does — no matter if it is art, mechanics or cooking — generally makes whatever one is doing far more interesting and enticing to an onlooker,” Dolan said. “It’s also helpful for people to watch an artist because so many have no idea what is actually involved in the production of a piece of art.”

Jean Sletten Giddings, an abstract painter who will be conducting some demonstrations at her home, said that visitors seem interested in the techniques.

“By doing a demonstration, I can show them how the process is accomplished,” she said. “It really lets people see the work that goes into a piece, instead of just coming to a gallery and looking at what’s hanging on the wall.”

With 23 different venues hosting exhibitions, people are encouraged to drive around the Centre Region and drop into as many places as they please. Like a wine tasting, the myriad of artistic mediums — ranging from paintings and drawings to sculptures and quilting — offers something for everyone.

“While city art tours have been around for years, country ones are far less common, and city tours often occur at galleries, frame shops and other display areas rather than in the actual work space of the artist,” Dolan said. “Visiting an artist’s studio is a privilege because the work space is sacred to many of us. Personally speaking, I get enlivened by the presence of an interested audience.”

“I am really proud of the high quality of work of artists in our area,” Doll said. “We are very fortunate to be able to enjoy experiences like this very close to home. It’s fantastic that so many of the artists are willing to donate their time and talent to for this event.”


  • What: Spring Colors Studio Tour
  • When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: various locations, Centre County
  • Info: www.artalliancepa.org