ARTS Obispo’s Open Studios Art Tour Frequently Asked Questions 

What: The San Luis Obispo County Open Studios Art Tour, a program of ARTS Obispo, takes place over two weekends in October each year. Free to the public, fine artists and crafters open their studios to showcase their art and share their process. Visitors create their own self-guided tour using the printed and downloadable catalog or mobile-friendly map. 

Who: Fine artists/crafters who live or work in San Luis Obispo County, or within 20 miles of the SLO County line, may apply for the 2019 Open Studios Art Tour.  Artists from outside SLO County looking to participate must share a studio in SLO County, with a SLO County artist. 

2019 is a new year, with that we are looking to introduce a new tour. For the first time in Open Studios history, we are opening up the tour to non-members. While we would love to see our artist membership rise. We understand that some people are not ready to commit to being members. We would like to showcase as many Central Coast artists as possible. In addition to opening up the tour to non-members, this year we would like to include art businesses and collectives that support local artists 

When: The 2019 Open Studios Art Tour will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 12/13 & Saturday and Sunday, October 19/20, 10am to 5pm. Artists have the choice of being open one or both weekends. 

Where: Studios are open throughout San Luis Obispo County both weekends.  An online and printed catalog will be made readily available. A web/mobile friendly will be produced to aid in on the go navigation.  

How can I apply? 

Click here for the link to the online application or visit the Open Studios Art Tour page.  

When is the deadline to apply for the 2019 Open Studios Art Tour? 

  • Early Bird Registration is March 12, 2019 – April 25, 2019 8pm 
  • General registration is April 25, 2019 (after 8pm) – June 2, 2019 8pm

Does my art qualify/will I be accepted? 

  • The work of new applicant artists is screened for quality. 
  • Studios that are unknown to ARTS Obispo are screened for public safety. 
  • Live in San Luis Obispo County or live within a 20 mile radius. For those artists that live outside the county, they must show their art at a SLO County artist studio. 

How much does it cost? 

  1. Applicants have a choice this year to become members for $25-60.  With the membership we offer a discounted price, a directory listing on our website, social media promotion and video and/or print materials.  All OSAT sign ups, with membership or not, will receive a spot and number on the map with a brief studio description & photo. To become a member, click here or visit 
  2. OSAT Pricing:  

Member – Early  

March 12, 2019 – April 25, 2019  

Member – Regular  

April 26, 2019 – June 2, 2019  

Non-member – Early  

March 12, 2019 – April 25, 2019  


Non-member – Regular  

April 26, 2019 – June 2, 2019  


1 Artist   $125   $175   $225   $275  
Art Collective/  Gallery  $300   $450   $500   $650  

Note: Application fees are non-refundable. If an artist is not accepted, fees will be returned. 

What is the difference between a group of artists showing in the same location and a gallery/artist collective? 

Artist collectives and/or galleries showcase multiple artists and is not considered a studio space.  If registered as a collective or gallery, the space will only receive one number and one listing in our catalog.  If you are a group of artists showing at the same location but would like separate listings in the catalog, then register as “1 Artist” and in the sign-up form there will be a spot to note the shared location.   

What if I want to participate with a group of artists? Or if I choose to participate only one weekend? 

Each artist receives equal publicity in the catalog and marketing materials and, therefore, must submit their own application and participation fee. There is space on the application form to note if you are participating with other artists. If you are planning to only participate one weekend, there is a space to note this on the application, but the participation fee remains the same. 

What do I need to do to complete the application form? 

  • High-quality digital image that is at least 1,500 px (on the short side) and in jpeg format to upload
  • CA State Seller’s Permit number, If you don’t have a permit, visit CA BoE Permit and Licesnse page   
  • Copy of your participation fee receipt 

Why do you need a high-quality image? 

The image you submit will be used in the catalog and other Open Studio’s marketing materials and publicity efforts. It is your most visible marketing tool and the primary way visitors select which studios to visit. Consider having your art photographed by a professional photographer. 

Can I apply in person or mail an application? 

Open Studios Art Tour 2019 applications are online ONLY. If you are having difficulties completing the form, try to find a friend or family member to help you. ARTS Obispo staff can also help over the phone or you may make an appointment to come into the office and complete the form with staff’s help. 

What are the perks to have a profile on ARTS Obispo’s Arts Directory? 

  • It is a successful marketing tool for you to use to build your art business and reach customers. 
  • Many potential customers and business (including Art After Dark venues) review the Directory for purchasing art or having exhibitions. 
  • You may show up to 15 images/videos of your work in each of the mediums you work in givingTour visitors a better sense of your art. 
  •  A link to your website will be included in your profile. Note: There is a Quick Start Guide online to help you produce your profile. ARTS Obispo staff can also assist you if you need help. Simply email or call 805-544-9251.I am new to the Tour, do you provide training?  
  • ARTS Obispo staff is available to answer your questions. Also, look for workshops for first-timers on studio preparation and marketing suggestions. (The workshops are also beneficial for veterans!) 

I would like to participate, but I don’t have a space where the public can visit. Do you provide a location or can I show my work at a business? 

This is an Open Studios Art Tour. Many artists share their space and visitors like to go to locations where there are multiple artists.  

** Multiple artists that are showing in one space will have the same map number coinciding with their different listings.** 

ARTS Obispo is happy to help find a space for artists without one.  Please contact my email or

Do I have to demonstrate my artistic process? 

Participating artists are not required to demonstrate; however, it is a benefit to you to show the value of your work to Tour-goers. Actual demonstrations, storyboards, showing a work-in-progress you can discuss are all ways to show your process. If you choose to demonstrate, your listing will include a working studio symbol. 

What does ARTS Obispo provide for my application fee? 

  • Advertisement listing for your studio in the 5,000+ full-color, free print copies of the Open Studios Art Tour catalog which is distributed throughout San Luis Obispo County for visitors to pick up. 
  •  Advertisement listing for your studio in the downloadable catalogs available on ARTS Obispo’s website. For the last three years, the catalog had an average of 6,000 downloads each year. 
  •  A location listing for your studio on the mobile-friendly map. 
  • Marketing workshop and access to ARTS Obispo staff to answer your questions. 
  • Open Studios Art Tour advertising and publicity in local and regional publications/media. 
  • Link to your website on your artist profile. 
  •  Proceeds from your Tour sales are 100% yours—ARTS Obispo takes no commission.  

Do I need to be open all four days of the Tour?  

On the application, artists may choose to participate only one weekend of the Tour. You are REQUIRED to be open from 10am to 5pm each of the days you state on your application and may not choose to close the second weekend if you have previously said you would be open both weekends. When you close, it annoys visitors who have made the trip to visit your studio. 

What are the added member benefits? 

  •  Link to your website on your artist profile. 
  •  Tour marketing materials 
  • Opportunity to show your work during Art After Dark 
  • Social media promotions! 

How does a visitor know which days I am open? 

  • To help visitors plan their route, the catalog contains color indicators that show if you are open the first, second or both weekends. 

Can I show reproductions of my work? 

  • Yes, copies of your original art may be included in your display along with your original work. These items may include giclées, prints, tiles, greeting cards, etc. You may not display art from another artist or any other items that weren’t made by you. 

How can I promote myself for the Open Studios Art Tour? 

In addition to your tour listing, we encourage artists to self-advertise through existing mailing lists, social media and local media outlet’s free event listings. 

To assist artists, we conduct a workshop during the summer (you will be notified via email as to date and time) where we share ideas on how to tell your story, go over marketing tactics and discuss studio preparation. At the Presentation workshop you’ll receive a boiler-plate press release you can use to personalize and send to your local newspaper, neighborhood and social group newsletters, etc. 

Partnership Works! Keep in mind that ARTS Obispo promotes the Tour as a whole and it is up to artists to market their studios individually. Artists are encouraged to help promote the Tour and their studios—the more buzz, the better the publicity. 

Why October? There seems to be a lot of events that coincide with the Tour? 

Open Studios Art Tour began in 1998 and visitors expect the mid-October event and even plan their vacations so they can attend. The Tour also coincides with National Arts & Humanities month.  

Reasons to Participate in the Open Studios Art Tour 

  •  Exposure and building relationships with the public 
  • Sell your work 
  • Sell your services (i.e. workshops) 
  • Help educate the public as to the value of your artwork and what time, training, tools and equipment go in to producing quality original artwork 
  • Four days of commission-free sales opportunity