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5 great reasons to check out this year’s Art Across the Marsh studio tour

Wood Point weaver Patty Chasse is one of 40 artists who will be opening her studio to visitors this weekend during the annual Art Across the Marsh tour.
Wood Point weaver Patty Chasse is one of 40 artists who will be opening her studio to visitors this weekend during the annual Art Across the Marsh tour. - Contributed

Artists from Tantramar and Cumberland regions set to open up studio doors this weekend for annual event

SACKVILLE, N.B. —

With more than three dozen local artists putting their work out on display this weekend, visitors will have plenty to enjoy as they take in the annual Art Across the Marsh studio tour.

Artwork by Donna Rawlins Sharpe, a Sackville artist who will be participating in this year's studio tour.
Artwork by Donna Rawlins Sharpe, a Sackville artist who will be participating in this year's studio tour.

The tour offers visitors an opportunity to get an up-close and intimate look into the artists’ studios in Tantramar and Cumberland counties ­– from Dorchester to Sackville, from Port Elgin to Tidnish, from Lorneville to Amherst, N.S.

Here are five great reasons to check out this year’s event, which features 19 different stops with artworks ranging from painting to pottery, stained glass to sculpting, woodworking to photography.

The tour is celebrating its 20th anniversary

“We’ve been managing to do this successfully for 20 years and people keep coming. So I think that says something about the tour . . . there always seems to be something they like,” says tour organizer Robert Lyon, who is also one of the artisans opening up his studio to guests this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20.

Marking its 20th anniversary this year, Lyon says although he can’t pinpoint exactly what has led to the event’s success over the years, the tour does provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the unique and vibrant arts community that has become synonymous with the Tantramar-Cumberland region – and perhaps that is the key to its longevity.

New artists join this year’s line-up

Another reason behind the tour’s popularity may also be that there is always something new to see on the tour each year – even for return visitors, suggests Lyon.

He says there’s always transition, with new artists joining the tour or some returning after a few years. The participants also have new work every year and are always doing new things.

“Even if you’ve been on the tour before, guaranteed there’s something new and somebody new you’ll see this year . . . and different types of artwork as well.”

The fall colors

The tour, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, is an event that has become somewhat of a fall tradition in the region and continues to regularly attract hundreds of people from throughout the Maritimes.

“It’s a beautiful time of year to be on the marsh,” says Lyon of the reason October was chosen for the tour. “And it’s not just the leaves. It’s the marsh itself, the grasses and the marsh plants. When the sun hits it, it’s just a spectacular view.”

Lyon says the annual event exposes more people to the area at a time of year when they can see some pretty majestic scenery driving along routes that are a bit off the beaten path.

“When the tour hits, you can’t help but see how beautiful the area is.”

Versatility and diversity

With a wide range of styles and mediums, visitors to the tour will have an opportunity to see the amazingly diverse arts scene that resides in the Tantramar and Cumberland counties.

Dennis Reid, an artist from Dorchester, has been a part of the Art Across the Marsh for several years.
Dennis Reid, an artist from Dorchester, has been a part of the Art Across the Marsh for several years.

“There’s painters, there’s potters, there’s photographers and weavers. This year we even have Jennifer Hunter, who does handcrafted silver jewelry that is just beautiful,” says Lyon.

“There’s just so much to see. It’s never the same so you’re always seeing new work.”

With more than 40 different artists spread out in 19 locations, Lyon says all the studios offer different perspectives so there is something for everyone to take in.

“The studio tour affords people a chance to take a peek inside the artists’ studios and see how their work is made.”

It’s free!

Lyon says having the opportunity to check out so many artists in so many different locations, all at no cost, is an added bonus.

He says visitors to the tour can start and finish wherever they’d like on the map – they can visit a few different locations or focus on one particular area in the region. They can also take it in as much or as little as they’d like over one or two days.

Lyon says the studio tour has grown and evolved to the point where it has become a significant economic generator, not just for the artists themselves but for other businesses in the region as well, such as local restaurants and downtown shops. Many people make a day or weekend trip out of it, he says, coming from nearby locales such as Moncton, Shediac, Hillsborough, Petitcodiac, Amherst; and as far away as PEI, Cape Breton, St. John, Fredericton, Halifax and beyond.

For more information on the tour, check out www.artacrossthemarsh.ca or phone Robert Lyon at 536-1904. Maps are available at participating studios, online, or at the Sackville tourist bureau.

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