Residents and visitors are invited to explore the Columbia River Gorge through the eyes of artists in the setting that inspires them as area artists participate in the annual Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour Friday through Sunday, Sept. 17-19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In its 15th year, and following the closing of the 2020 event due to the pandemic, the tour will feature 40 artists — including 10 new to the tour — showcasing a range of work in glass, painting, ceramics, jewelry, quilting, metal, hand-weaving, sculpture, photography and more.

Gorge Artists Open Studios

Visitors admire a display at a previous Gorge Artists Open Studios event in Hood River. The event happens this weekend, Sept. 17-19, around the region.

Information about the event can be found online at www.gorgeartists.org.

“Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour has become a much-loved (and missed) tradition,” said a press release. “The 2021 tour was planned for the autumn harvest season to promote optimal safety, and so tour goers can enjoy all the region has to offer during the fall.”

This is a free and self-guided tour of individual artist studios and work spaces throughout the Mid-Columbia Gorge region. Artists’ studios from Hood River east to The Dalles and White Salmon, and south to Parkdale are featured. Visitors can visit as many studios as they wish.

This year, the tour is increasing its reach by offering a free Gorge Artists tour guide on the Otocast art tour guide app. With the Otocast app, which is free to download on any smartphone, tour goers can learn more about each artist and find directions to studios open for the tour weekend. To get a taste of what’s to come, make sure to follow the tour on social media @gorgeartists. Find out more about the tour, and the Otocast app, at gorgeartists.org.

“Artists who live in the Gorge aren’t required to venture very far to find inspiration for their work — our ‘backyard,’ from mountains to rivers, tall forests to golden hills — provides plenty,” said Kristi Heck, artist and tour board member.

“Participation in the tour has become one of the most rewarding parts of my art practice because it is so personal to me and to studio visitors. The studio space is as much a creation of the artist as the work produced and being in it is a special experience,” said artist Laurie Balmuth.

About Gorge Artists

Gorge Artists is a nonprofit 501c3. Its mission is to advance and encourage artists in the Columbia River Gorge by building community among artists and the public, promoting art and business education, and providing opportunities for the public to experience and enjoy art.

Founded by Gorge artists in 2006, the Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour is a yearly public tour showcasing the art of Gorge artists and providing insight into the environment in which art is created. It is their mission to advance art and encourage artists in the Columbia River Gorge by building community among artists and the public, promoting art and business education, and providing opportunities for the public to experience and enjoy art.