On Sept. 15 and 16, six artists on the South Hill will open their homes to the public during the ninth annual Spokane Town and Country Studio Tour. At each stop on the self-guided tour, artists will be exhibiting their wares in a variety of media including painting, pottery, photography, wearable art, and sculpture. Four of the studios have been on the map before, but two are opening their doors for the first time.
“Opening my home studio just sounded like a great way to meet other artists and to share what I love about art,” said watercolorist Joy Gruenewald. “Spokane has an incredible arts community.”
Gruenewald is stop No. 4. At stop No. 3, Cherylee Duncan will be opening her door to strangers for the first time.
“I feel proud that I’m not only going to be in it, but that I’m jumping in feet first by being one of the host houses,” she said, “and I don’t feel afraid to be doing it.”
Duncan has known fear – she’s lived through a house fire in Missouri and a magnitude-6.5 earthquake in California. Duncan found art to be therapeutic in times of uncertainty.
“Between the death of our dog, the house fire, the first move to California, my husband Brian’s parents’ deaths, my mother’s cancer, death, and funeral, the move back to Missouri and all the gut-wrenching waffling indecision about what to do, the move back to California, the remodeling of the house, the depression, menopause, the earthquake, the first stages of empty nest and finding out our dog Roley had diabetes, I felt numb and paralyzed. I could barely function,” she said, “It wasn’t until I forced myself back into my art room that I was able to begin to get better.”
A homemaker, Duncan home-schooled her children and learned to quilt, play the piano, decorate cakes, turn broken pieces into mosaic masterpieces, use wax and dye to adorn eggs, crochet, carve and paint. She took art classes whenever she could. She’s won a few awards and shown her work sparingly.
About four years ago, she and her husband studied a U.S. Geological Survey Map and found that the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area had the fewest earthquakes. They moved to Spokane’s South Hill. She has since started painting again and filling up pages in art journals.
“I feel ready to start a new phase of my life and never again let making my art take a back seat, but to always make it a top priority.” She will be exhibiting her paintings, crocheted rugs and individually created greeting cards during the tour.
Six other artists will join Duncan at her home including Duncan’s daughter Cally, 26, who bought her first camera at 13.
“I love photography because it captures moments in time that might otherwise be forgotten,” she said.
For both Duncans, the studio tour is only the beginning.