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Bluff Country Studio Art Tour is a self -guided studio tour taking place in Southeast Minnesota typically last full weekend in April. Locations participating in the tour are located from Winona to the Iowa border and from the Mississippi River west to the communities along US Highway 52. Many of the artists participate in their studios but there are also participating galleries and a shared display space at the Lanesboro Community Center for artists whose studios aren’t condusive or accessible for visitors.
The Bluff Country Studio Art Tour is committed solely to the production of its spring studio tour. The group’s mission is threefold –
1) to create an opportunity for the area residents and visitors to experience the wide range of high quality art that is created in our region. During the event, artists provide tours of their studios, explain the process of making their art, answer questions and do live demonstrations throughout the weekend
2) to promote the Bluff Country’s artist community as an attraction for cultural tourism. Southeastern Minnesota is known for many of its attractions and this event highlights our vibrant community of artists.
3) to increase the audience and customer base for the diverse fine art and fine craft created in Southeastern Minnesota. Many award winning artists call this area home and only open their studios once a year during this event.
In the fall of 2000, a group of artists were called together by Kathy Hartl Stevens, director of Southeastern Minnesota Historic Bluff Country, a regional convention and visitors bureau in Harmony, to examine the idea of starting an art tour in the region.
The group considered the time of year to hold its art tour, the size of the area to be covered, chose a name and a governing structure. Bluff Country Studio Art Tour is held every year on the last full weekend of April. Originally the event was two days, but now is three days long begining on the Friday of that weekend. Since the initial group included artists from Northern Iowa, Winona, Lanesboro and Harmony it was decided to have the art tour extend from Winona in the north to within 10 miles of the MN/IA border into Iowa and from the Mississippi river to the east to Lanesboro and Harmony on the west. Later changing the area to only include locations in Minnesota.
Two of the founding members still participate each year, Mary Denzer and Lanesboro Arts.