Get a Head Start on ARTrails 2013

ARTrails Painting by Marsha Connell

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Get a Head Start on ARTrails 2013

As the official self-guided ARTrails tour weekends kick off this October 12-13 and 19-20, 2013, it might seem a bit overwhelming at first. It's true that there are so many exceptional studios to explore, about 155 participating at last count, and scattered in regions all across Sonoma County. See an overview video here.

But here's tip:  art lovers can attend preview exhibitions, being held beginning September 20 at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, and running at various galleries around town through October 25.

These are great opportunities to see examples of artwork, and make note of which studios you'd like to visit later. The opening night receptions at galleries also allow you to meet the artists, enjoy a bite or two and enjoy a glass of wine.

The largest collection will be on display at the Preview Exhibition at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, featuring pieces all the participating ARTrails artists. Come for the opening party on September 20 from 6 to 9 p.m., but if that date doesn't work for you, you can also see the show Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. through October 25 (at 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, 707-527-7006,

The ARTrails at Graton Gallery Exhibition, meanwhile, runs September 25 through October 20, with the opening reception taking place on October 6 from 3 to 6 p.m.  Stop by Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (at 9048 Graton Road, 707-829-8912,

For a downtown Santa Rosa stroll, the ARTrails at Corrick's is extra fun, since the Corrick's shop is a full gift, home accessory and book store, and is also home to the Ancient Oak Cellars/Russian River Valley wine tasting room. The show's on now through October 6, and features a special ARTrails Kick Off Reception on October 4t from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Note that Corrick's is an ARTrails partner, too,  meaning it features changing exhibits all year long, plus hosts weekly Studio Sunday and monthly First Friday events where artists actually create pieces on-site (at 637 4th Street, Santa Rosa, 707-546-2424,

And there's still more. A 3-Dimensional Showcase Exhibit is on display at Petaluma's Gallery One now through October 25, open seven days a week from 11a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (at 209 Western Ave., Petaluma, 707-778-8277,

After you've picked the studios you want to see in person, download a map and plot your course for the two October weekends.

Keep in mind, too, that for the first time ever, some ARTrails studios are open year-round, welcoming visitors by appointment (Learn more about the ARTrails event and year-round addition here.

See you at the studios!

Details: ARTrails Sonoma County & Open Studios,

Find more info on Arts & Culture, Things to Do, and Hotels in Sonoma County.

Carey Sweet