The story of Marin County is being written — or more accurately drawn — by today's youth, and you can see it Saturday when Marin Open Studios holds its Preview Gala at the Town Center in Corte Madera.
Marin's art community is well-known for producing some of the most talented painters, photographers, sculptors and ceramicists the world has ever seen.
Some of the best and brightest will be on display Saturday with 260 artists showing samples of their work. They'll also open their doors for two weekends — May 5-6 and May 12-13 — during the annual Open Studio tour. Central and North Marin will take the spotlight the first weekend, with Southern Marin — including Larkspur and Corte Madera — opening its doors and garages the second weekend.
"The preview is a very important event. It allows you to see what studios you want to visit," said Marin Open Studios organizer Kay Carlson. "Not only is this a standalone exhibit for the county, it's important as a community meeting place. Tours of school kids will be coming. We'll also have a little project with high school kids."
The plan is to let a group of selected kids start a story on one canvas and continue it onto other panels, which will be on display.
Dropping by the preview is a tour of an art gallery with surprises around every corner. You'll always find a painting or photograph of a familiar place that looks entirely different from the way you've seen it every time before. And you never know — you might recognize your neighbor's signature on the canvas.
"I'm excited to see new artists participating this year. This is our 19th year and now we have a new crop of people … artists coming up," Carlson said. "I'm excited to see the artwork that is being produced now."
Not everyone has the time or energy to hit all the studios. Most people are interested in just a few studios, so Saturday's preview will be a good chance to plan out a trip. There will be a map to the artists' studios available.
“We are pleased to once again have Marin Open Studios back at Town Center,” said Stan Hoffman, General Manager of the Town Center. “This is a county-wide event and Town Center is a perfect central location for the artists to display their work. We’re also excited because it gives our customers the opportunity to see artwork by the many wonderful artists who live in Marin. We’re pleased to play a part in this great community event.”
It's amazing, and a little exhausting, even to Carlson that the group was able to bring together so many artists this year, considering the event was on the verge of being scratched after 18 years.
"It's a miracle that it even happened this year. A volunteer committee started in December and really prevailed," Carlson said. "We have a really involved community, so the artists, the food people, everyone is helping. It's a celebration of the arts that we were able to emerge and do this this year."
The first Marin Arts Open Studios debuted in 1994 with 170 artists whose work was on display at Town Center. In 1996, the Marin Arts Council came on board and ran the program successfully until last year.
"We had to take it back because the council was just no longer running it," Carlson said.
"This is a vibrant community-wide event that celebrates Marin's culture of art," she continued. "One of our goals is to make sure young artists get to see this and are included in this. We want everyone to see the artwork that is produced in our community."