1. How and when did the BST tour begin?
The Beach Studio Tour was founded in the spring of 1994 by two textile artists Carolyn Barnett and Susan Macdonald as a way to showcase the talented artists in the Beach Community. Both Carolyn and Susan have relocated to southeastern Ontario where they have connected with studio tours in their own regions. The BST, showcased in both spring and fall, remains the longest running studio tour in Toronto. Hand weaver and designer Lucille Crighton proudly holds the record for having participated in the BST the most times – having shown for 28 consecutive tours!
2. Who runs the BST?
The Beach Studio Tour is an artist-run collective, with all artists pitching in to make this tour possible. We have a Chairperson and an Executive Team to run various committees (for signage, sponsorship, distribution, promotion) and to jury in new artists, set the agenda and manage the budget. All artists work to promote, gather much needed sponsors and run the tour.
3. What is the admission price and who pays for the BST?
The Beach Studio Tour is a free community event open to all. We rely on artist fees and sponsors to pay for the cost of running each tour. We have a loyal and generous group of sponsors that support the tour and advertise in each brochure… we are so grateful for their support and couldn’t do it without them!
4. Why have a studio tour, why not just rent a space and show all together at one location?
The studio tour format offers visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the places where the art is created and to view the art in an intimate, cozy setting. In some studios guests can even examine the tools used to create the artwork and perhaps observe a live demonstration!
5. Is the tour open all year round?
The Beach Studio Tour is a semi-annual three-day event occurring the weekend before Mother’s Day in the spring and two weeks after Thanksgiving in the fall. The tour begins on Friday evening and continues all day Saturday and Sunday. Once the Studio Tour is over many of the artists work on commissions from the show, prepare for their next show, look for inspiration for future work or continue working on a new theme. For many artists the feedback from these tours is a great boost for the entire year. All of the artists find outlets for their creativity throughout the year. Ask the artists where they show and sell their work and you’ll be sure to discover some new places to visit between tours.
6. Are all the works for sale and do artists do commission work?
The work you see on the Beach Studio Tour is for sale. Commissions are offered by most artists and can be discussed on an individual basis.
7. What is the price range and can I afford to buy original art?
Exceptional art of various styles, sizes and price ranges are available; affordable treasures are sure to be found by any prospective buyer and lover of all things creative!
8. Why is there value in purchasing hand made original works of art from local artisans?
Beautifully handcrafted art objects enrich our lives; whether it be the home, the garden or the workplace. Being surrounded by expressions of beauty enriches both our individual and collective experience of daily life. By supporting local artisans you will not only own a “one of a kind” piece of art, but you will also add to the economy and vibrancy of the community.
9. What form of payment do you accept? (Is it cash only?)
Each artist has their own system for accepting payment for their work. Some artists on the tour accept credit cards and/or cheques, and of course cash is always welcome. There are many bank machines located conveniently on Queen Street and Kingston Road.
10. Where do I start the tour and do I have to go to each studio?
You can start the tour wherever you wish. Simply read the map via the brochure or website, then select a starting point and prioritize your time and interests with a convenient walking or driving route. You do not have to visit all studios though you are most welcome to do so!
11. How long does the BST take to visit if I choose to see the whole tour?
The amount of time spent on the tour is completely up to you! Take in 3 or 5 or enjoy an afternoon visiting all the studios. To make a day out of it, grab your map, visit our artists and take in the local sites, sounds and tastes of the Beach area too! Many of our tour-goers spread their visit over several days to allow lots of time in each studio. There are plenty of B&B’s in the area should you wish to stay over night.
12. How do I get there?
The Beach neighbourhood is easily accessible by public transit and/or carpool, and from there, you can walk or drive between tour locations. A tour map is provided on the BST website and brochures, available at each location. Every tour location is highlighted with a BST sign. Be sure to look for the new beautifully crafted tour signs created by BST metal artist, Todd Waring!
13. Will there be food or where can I eat?
Take in one of the many lovely restaurants and cafes in the Beach area. Light refreshments are also offered at many BST locations for guests to enjoy.
14. Who can I expect to meet on the studio tour?
Meet the artists! Meet neighbours, friends and fellow art enthusiasts! All BST artists will be present for the entire tour at their respective tour locations.
15. What do artists do the rest of the year?
Many artists teach at their own studios or outside of their homes. Some of the artists balance a creative life along with a full time career in other fields. We have such a dynamic group of artists that when they are not participating in the tour they are busy with countless other artistic pursuits: exhibiting in various galleries, running galleries and shows, teaching workshops for adults and children, volunteering in schools and the community, traveling to collect new inspirations for their work and keeping the arts alive in their neighbourhood!