Saturday’s open-studio art tour through Somerset County and part of neighboring Piscataquis County will give art lovers a chance to see where area artists live and work while they tour the countryside as the fall foliage begins.

The tour, sponsored by the Wesserunsett Arts Council, runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in homes, barns, sheds, lofts and studios. Michael Hoy, a woodworker from Solon and a member of the Wesserunsett Arts Council, said this year’s tour will include 17 locations in Skowhegan, Ripley, Athens, Wellington, Canaan, Hartland and Solon. He said the tour idea was hatched five years ago when he and local artists Abby Shahn and Lolly Phoenix tried to find a way to bring people to the arts, rather then bring art to the people.

“We wanted to put together this collection of artists. We want to show people what’s been going on in the woods,” Hoy said. “It’s like a kind of unknown. It’s below the radar of most people. The reason why we do it here is because of our connection to the area, not just the fact that we live here. It’s why we live here, and it seemed to ring true with all the artists that we signed up.”

Hoy said members of the arts council have tried since then to work out the logistics of getting people to cross a very broad area. Hoy’s son Mike put together a website to centralize all the information needed to make the journey along back roads possible in one day. There is a map and directions to each of the artists’ studios.

The web site is http://wesarts.org/.

Visitors also can choose which studios they would like to see for oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, landscapes, abstract images, still life, furniture, felting, birch-bark canoes, documentary photography, pottery, sculpture and more. Work will be for sale and refreshments will be offered at all studios, according to the website.

Hoy said some of the art that stands out to him as a woodworker includes pieces by Randy Holden, of Beech Hill Road in Norridgewock, who makes “elegantly twisted rustic furniture,” and Doug Malloy, whose found-wood furniture and “practical and whimsical” wood works can be seen at his home on No Way, off Brighton Road, in Athens.

“There’s some world-class people participating in this tour,” Hoy said.

He said two new artists are part of the tour.

Rama Crystal Brown’s work can be viewed at the Downtown Upstairs Gallery at 75 Water St. in Skowhegan. Brown combines materials such as wood, plaster, illustration and painting in her sculptures.

Also new to the arts council tour this year is Ukrainian-born and classically trained artist Olena Babak, whose landscapes and figurative works can be found throughout the U.S. and abroad and in the Albin Polasek Museum in Florida, numerous galleries and a number of private collections. Her art studio and residence is on the tour map at 286 Great Moose Drive in Hartland.

Returning to the tour this year are the following participants:

• Bernie Beckman, Brighton Road, Wellington.

• Stu Silverstein, Rowell Mountain Road, Solon.

• Susan Fowler, Grange Road, East Madison.

• Lynne Harwood and Faith Gilbert, Pease Hill Road, Anson.

• Ken Brooks Studio, Fox Hill Road, Athens.

• Frescoes at the South Solon Meeting House, junction of Meeting House Road and South Solon Road, Solon.

• Kevin James, West Ridge Road, Cornville.

• Joe Kennedy, Stream Road, Ripley.

• Heather Kerner, Pinnacle Road, Canaan.

• Kathleen Perelka, Pinnacle Road, Canaan.

• Mimosa Mack and Amanda Slamm, South Solon Road, Solon.

• Wally Warren, Stream Road, Ripley.

• John Alsop, Molunkus Road, Cornville.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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