Deb Beard, general manager of the Station Arts Centre, was impressed by the range of work on display at the Station for the 8th Annual Oxford Studio Tour, May 2-3.
"Across the board," said Beard. "The work compliments each other very nicely. A great mix – everything from watercolour to oils, mixed media, fibre arts, jewellery, pottery, photography and digital art – it's a very successful blend."
"We have 10 artists here," said Beard, one of the 10 exhibitors among the 41 across Oxford County on the tour. "It's the most we've had at this location... and the artists are doing well.
"Attendance has been wonderful, we're quite pleased," she said, noting most of their visitors came from Oxford, Elgin and Norfolk (Tri-County) counties, but they also had people from further afield in southern Ontario, like Kitchener, London, and Brantford.
"The weather's been with us. You never know... with this being such a great weekend everybody has the opportunity to do garden work, too. This is a great excuse not to!"
It was still early Saturday afternoon on Day 1 of the two-day event, and attendance was already up from 2014.
"We've got a great range of work."
The artists' work was evenly distributed throughout the Station rooms, continuing an Oxford Studio Tour tradition, rather than concentrated individually.
"We want a blended show instead of micro shows by each artist or artisan, and the reason is that it gives everybody the opportunity to see all of the work throughout the entire building. Otherwise, some works may look very similar to others. This way... it gives people more time to pause and take in the work they are looking at. We've always found it's been more successful that way. And everybody's work compliments the other artists' work, and it seems to work quite nicely that way."
That meant careful arrangements. Art was dropped off at the Station Wednesday, set up Thursday, with finishing touches applied Friday and Saturday.
"It always works out really well. And as pieces sell we fill in the gaps."
Unlike some exhibits, any art purchased during the Oxford Studio Tour was taken home immediately following purchase, making it easier for out-of-town visitors.
"Some artists will bring extra work with them, some will say 'this is what I have,' and we just re-display. It's entirely up to the individual artists."
In addition to providing an opportunity to appreciate art, and in some cases purchase or commission art, Beard said the Oxford Studio Tour can also be educational.
"If I sell, I'm grateful. At the same time, when I'm here, people will always ask about the work, so it's always great to educate the people and let them know the steps you go through to create a piece. So it's a combination for me. If you sell, it's a bonus. It's just nice to know that you're helping people to understand the work and appreciate it more."