The open studios are back! Santa Cruz County Arts Council invites audiences to come back inside for a revival in 2021


The Santa Cruz County Council for the Arts is delighted to announce the return of the Open studios Artistic visit! This year will feature the largest class of freshman performers in tour history. The Arts Council will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the community. They are delighted to invite the public again to the artist studios. As an Open Studio artist, Melinda Vahradian expressed, it’s “a boost to normal, a delicious boost.”

For the Arts Council, the fate of Open Studios 2020 was anything but normal. It was early April 2020, and the Arts Council called a committee meeting to discuss the fate of the next tour. Open Studios has been a staple in the community since 1986. Imagining Santa Cruz without Open Studios was almost too much for the committee to bear. Ann Ostermann, director of Open Studios and Events, who was set to set up her 18th tour production, describes her decision to cancel Open Studios 2020 as “heartbreaking.” “I was devastated to know that this resource for artists and the community would not be available.” Despite this, Ostermann knew she still had a dedicated and creative team with resources to create something of value for the community and local artists.

A few days after the cancellation of Open Studios, ideas for an organized virtual repertoire of Santa Cruz artists and their work began to form. So the Visual arts network was born.

“This organized directory is what I like to call a ‘safety net’. A place where artists can exhibit their works and a place where the community can find them all year round ”,

– Ann Ostermann, Director of Open Studios and Events,

It filled the considerable void left by the canceled Open Studios. Unlike Open Studios, where artists are sworn each year, the repertoire is open to all local artists year round who can be searched by name, medium, location, etc.

(Santa Cruz County Arts Board)

Ostermann and his team have partnered with Digital NEST, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to “connect young people to a skills-building community that transforms them into professionals capable of creating successful careers, innovative solutions and thriving communities.” The Arts Council has also partnered with a UCSC web design course that connects web design students and artists creating pages for the directory.

Artist Bev Zerbib-Berda said the UCSC student “provided many very creative suggestions to help me make choices about presentation.” Zerbib-Berda’s work is displayed on it Visual Arts Network page. Zerbib-Berda states that “of course, visiting an artist studio in person will always be the best way to connect with the arts, but the Visual Arts Network offers that online presence that will draw people to the studios.”

Stacy Frank, making an impression

(Santa Cruz County Arts Board)

And that is precisely what the Arts Council hopes to provide many outlets for the Santa Cruz County community to connect with its artists. The Visual Arts Network website is a stand-alone project that will continue to host and help artists showcase their work.

For more information on the upcoming Open Studios, please visit the Open studios website. If you are a local artist and would like to join the Visual Arts Network, click on here!

The Open Studios Art Tour is your opportunity to explore creativity in Santa Cruz County. For 35 years, the Arts Council’s goal has been simple: to put artists in contact with art lovers. During the first three weekends of October, artists from the Redwoods to the Bay open their studios so that friends, neighbors and strangers from near and far can discover art in this magnificent county.

Save this date! Artistic tour of the studios open 2021


  • South County: Saturday to Sunday 2-3 October


  • North County: Saturday to Sunday October 9-10


  • Whole county: Saturday to Sunday October 16 and 1


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