With practically everyone claiming to be an artist today, it’s not always easy to see who’s actually churning out the goods. Santa Barbara galleries only represent a handful of working artists, which means there’s still plenty of work up for grabs at great prices. Carpinteria’s First Annual Open Artist Studio Tour offers the opportunity to check out 28 artists’ diverse work through private studio tours this Saturday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. See artscarp.org. Here are three reasons to go.

Sara Wilcox, "Contented Buddha"

1) Firsts are always the best: With the exception of awkward adolescent moments, there’s compelling evidence that firsts are indeed the best: Rocky, Woodstock, and Back to the Future, to name a few. Carpinteria’s First Annual Open Artist Studio Tour is no exception. It’s never fun to hear that “you should have been here last year” line

2) Snooping around is fun: It’s not too often that artists open their doors and allow strangers to explore where the magic happens. Not only will you get to see where artists live, work, and garner their inspiration, but you might also learn you have more in common than imagined. Who knows? Your favorite artist might also share your affinity for the complete 1996-1999 Beanie Baby Collection or priceless Neil Diamond memorabilia!

Sara Wilcox's "Woman with Purple Scarf"

3) Explore your own backyard: If you’re looking to get out of your weekend routine without going too far, cruise a few minutes down the coast and explore a behind-the-scenes tour in your own neck of the woods. With Mother’s Day around the corner, there is no better time to buy an affordable, one-of-a-kind work of art for your very own one-of-a-kind mom. Plus, do you really need an excuse to visit Surf Dog?


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