A special Cape Ann Museum exhibition will pay tribute to the Cape Ann Artisans group, known for its annual studio tours, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. This museum retrospective includes work by 70 past and present members. The public is invited to a free opening reception Saturday, March 2, from 3 to 5 p.m.
In 1983, a number of local artisans joined forces. They then organized a studio tour, which became an annual event that’s continued to evolve and grow through the decades. The tour welcomes visitors into studios, large and small, to give them a personal experience with the artists themselves.
“We began the group for mutual support and promotion of our work, and over the years that support has extended throughout our personal and professional lives,” said Marty Morgan, a potter and one of the original founders. “I feel very fortunate to be doing work I love, living in a beautiful place, while being part of such a rich artistic community.”
The artisans wanted to show the public their varied creative spaces, which otherwise might go unnoticed, and also demystify the artistic process for those interested in taking a peek.
“The idea is to invite the public into our studios so they can see the work in the places where it was actually created,” said Morgan.
David Archibald, another founding member, explained that the artisans were looking for a way to better connect with the public because their studios were scattered around Cape Ann, some in urban settings and others in more remote and even waterfront settings.
“Over time, we have seen the interest grow and the number of visitors has grown. We have established ourselves as a high level group of artisans,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people keep coming. I see people who came through in the 1980s. You build relationships over the things that you make and even friendships develop.”