Winter Art Tour offers prizes for gallery visits this weekend

Each summer, the Ann Arbor Art Fairs draw in thousands of art lovers from all around the world – but what about winter? This weekend Ann Arbor's Yourist Studio Gallery will team with an expansive group of local artists and studios to launch the inaugural Winter Art Tour, featuring the work of over 150 local artists spread across nine Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti venues.
 
Organizer Cara Rosaen says the event, which runs Dec. 9-11, was conceived with the goal of improving "the visibility and viability of local artists, and to create a more vibrant arts community for everyone."
 
The experience begins when a participant obtains a "Passport to Art" online or at any of the nine participating venues, which range from the Ann Arbor Art Center to this weekend's DIYpsi art fair. From there, participants are encouraged to visit as many of those venues as possible, collecting stamps on their passports at each stop. Once four stamps are collected, passport holders may be entered into a drawing with a chance to win one of 21 pieces of art from participating artists.
 
Rosaen says ceramic artist Rosie E. Gomez brainstormed the passport idea to connect numerous art shows across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
 
"We realized there were nine-plus art shows on the same weekend last year, and wanted to figure out a way to make everyone's event bigger," Rosaen says. "Once we got nine great art shows on board, we knew we had something special."
 
Participating galleries were hand-selected in an effort to offer "a good mix of artists and atmospheres for tour-goers," according to Rosaen, and to highlight everything from intimate home studios to "large indie art shows with over 80 artists."
 
With larger galleries such as Selo/Shevel and Clay Gallery having closed their doors in recent years, Rosaen and her collaborators see events like the Winter Art Tour as an increasingly important means of keeping the pulse of the local arts community strong – even in the dead of winter.

Jason Buchanan is a writer, father, and film fanatic living and working in Ann Arbor.
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