OAKHURST — The iconic Sierra Art Trails, arguably the largest art event in Madera and Mariposa counties, took a hit in 2020 when virtually all scheduled events had to be canceled due to the pandemic. But this year Sierra Art Trails is back, bigger than ever in terms of opportunities to view and purchase the artwork of our talented, multifaceted mountain artists.
This year, art lovers have two (2) weekends to get out to visit favorite artists and their studios and discover new artists and their work.
On Oct. 1-3, and again on Oct. 8-10, 38 sites open their doors to display a wide range of media including painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, woodcarving, ceramics, glass and more. There’s truly something for everyone for a variety of budgets. A total of 69 artists will be on hand to display their work and discuss their techniques.
A big, beautiful Sierra Art Trails catalogue, an art piece on its own, is your $20 ticket-for-two to all sites displaying this year. The book can be obtained online through the Sierra Art Trails website, or you can pick up one (or more) in person at various sites, including Visit Yosemite Madera County in Oakhurst, Madera Arts Council/Circle Gallery in Madera and Allard’s Art in Fresno.
It pays to pick up your catalogue early so you can plan your route on the days you intend to participate. Studios, including artists’ home studios, are located all over the mountain area from Coarsegold to Oakhurst to Mariposa. The SAT book gives the address of each artist’s location with directions. A maximum of five artists at a studio site and a maximum of three at a business venue. Colorful signs point the way throughout the area.
The field of artists and venues is reduced this year. As Jon Bock states, “Our numbers are down about 30 percent from 2019. The pandemic has been hard on everyone. Many are still cautious about welcoming visitors to their homes and studios. Others have health concerns or are caring for family members who might be at risk…typically we hope for 100 artists to participate.” Still, art enthusiasts from all over California and beyond have plenty to choose from.
“The Covid pandemic has given us a glimpse of what our future might bring, a fire drill you might say, and also an idea of how our community can come together in times of crisis. It is important that we help each other and keep each other safe,” Jon affirms.
Jon originated the concept of SAT and presented the project at a community meeting after being inspired by the Santa Cruz Open Studios for many years. Artist/consultant Ellen Hurst and many others volunteered to work with him. Together they made it happen, and Sierra Art Trails was born, with the first event in 2003.
Artists must apply to participate in SAT. They submit applications online and the art they submit is juried. The composition of the jury differs each year, consisting of artists, curators and educators in the art world. As Bock says, “The purpose of the jury is to insure a quality exhibit, with many diverse works by artists and artisans work in many mediums. Once artists are accepted, they can display whatever they like, as long as it is their own work.”
For information about Sierra Art Trails, visit their website or their Facebook page. They can be reached by telephone at 559-658-8844. Don’t miss this opportunity to view the work of the wealth of artists in all media who call our area home.