I’ve been getting some questions about EAST – specifically, what is EAST? How much does it cost? How do I go there? etc. I thought it might be a good idea to answer some questions today, just before the big event kicks off.
The East Austin Studio Tour (aka EAST) is an annual event held in Austin to celebrate the arts and showcase artists working on the East side of Austin. The way it works is that it’s a self-guided tour. It’s a free event-it does not cost you anything to attend and you do not have to get dressed up or anything like that (it’s not like a big “gallery opening” where it’s a black tie affair. No, this is more like a “walk around the block” only with galleries, really art studios, involved.)
The way it works is that there’s a central “hub” for the EAST tour-this is currently Bolm Road and the Big Medium location. You can go and get books (they have a large, full color catalog that is free, although first come first served) and maps showing you where the stops on the tour are. Basically, the way it works is you go and get a map, it’s a free event, and it’s a self-guided tour. You can follow the map (or not) and go around to look at all of the studios, meet all of the artists, and the like. It’s a very relaxed and informal way to see artists and their work. It’s great for kids, because they can see real, honest to God working artists, live and “in the flesh” as it were. You can also tour the studios and see the work areas the artists use to create their work.
You do not have to purchase anything as part of EAST, although there are food vendors, drink vendors, some live music and (obviously) artists selling art. Most artists are more than willing to chat with you and we welcome the opportunity to mingle with the folks who are just out for a stroll. A big part of EAST is just getting to talk with people, to meet people, to share our experiences with teachers and kids and all kind of folks, people we might not normally get to meet because they do not come into the traditional gallery settings.
Not everybody loves or even feels comfortable in an art gallery. That’s fine. We’re not forcing you into our world. The events that are part of EAST are more about connecting with everyday folks, the community, the neighborhoods, and the other artists. It’s about coming together to celebrate, to highlight what is happening over on the EAST-side of town and also to talk with lots of folks (from all over town) who maybe have some interest in art but don’t want to come and talk to us during some big gallery affair.
So, if you are in the Austin area either this weekend or next we welcome you into our studios. Come into our studio spaces, our homes (in some cases) our pop-up tents, our campers and whatnot and share that which is our artwork. You don’t need money, you don’t need a fancy car or a big bankroll. Come on our in your shorts and flip flops, talk with some artists, meet us, peek at some artwork, tell us what you like, what you don’t, what you do and bring the dogs and kiddies along. It’s that kind of an affair.
For those of you outside of the Austin area, the EAST tour is a great event. I honestly hope you have something like this, and maybe would even consider building something like this in the area, in the studio spaces in which you work (and live.) It’s a great community focused event.
There is a great website for EAST, including a map, for you to browse: East Austin Studio Tour Dot Com
EAST: Over 200 artists. Lots of venues. Food. Live music. Tons of art. Lots of studios. Walk the tour, meet the artists. Have a good time. It’s free and we welcome you this weekend and next.
I hope to see you there!
Until next time…