September 16th, 2022

Art Harvest Studio Tour Makes a Triumphant Return

A man smiles as he holds up a piece of his art.
It’s not quite accurate to say that McMinnville artist Leo Sheerin has “a” studio on the Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County. The cozy home he shares with his wife Polly has multiple work spaces, both indoors and outside, for him to make his prints, collages, masks and Tibetan prayer flags. “I’ve got stuff everywhere!” he laughs. Photo by David Bates.

It’s never been clear to me how or why “fall arts” became a thing, given that many arts-centric venues are open year-round, or launch new seasons in January. But McMinnville knows how to take fall arts to another level: We have the Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County, which is the best “art walk” affair you’ll find anywhere.

And this year particularly, because after two years lost to the pandemic, our art studio tour isn’t just dipping a toe back in the shallow end of the pool; it’s roaring back, with a record fifty artists participating. Most will open their studios to the public, and the rest will be available at galleries or some shared space with other artists. 

The event runs two weekends, Sept. 30-Oct 2 and Oct. 7-9 on Fridays through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s sponsored by the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County, and you’ll find information about all the artists and where they’re located at An entry button for the self-guided tour, good for all six days, may be found at all studios and costs just $10.

Listening to organizer James Nelson talk excitedly about each artist, not a few of whom work in a “uniquely designed” studio, is enough to inspire you to visit them all. Realistically, it’s wise to be selective. To dip your own toe in, you might first drop by the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, where work by all participating artists is on display starting Oct. 4. 

“This tells the world that there are a variety of artists in a variety of settings making a variety of art,” Nelson says. “And that no setting should prevent you from making art.”

Just in McMinnville alone (and, a few miles up Highway 18 in Dayton) more than half of the artists may be found, working with acrylics, sculpture, mixed media, jewelry, oils, watercolors, stained glass, sculpture, charcoal, screen prints, paper-carving and book arts. 

If you’ve been on the tour before, know that along with tour favorites like McMinnville book-maker Marilyn Worrix, watercolorist Terry Peasley and paper-carver Doug Roy, nearly half the participating artists are new — and, in some cases, new to town. 

So if you live here, it’s a chance to meet your neighbors.

The Art Harvest Studio Tour is a veritable potpourri of autumnal wonders — including, cross your fingers, beautiful weather. So grab a bite downtown or map out your tour strategy sipping java at Flag & Wire Coffee in the Granary District and get to it. McMinnville is packed with artists. This is your chance to meet them. 

About the author: David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.