The numbers alone might be enough to earn the East Austin Studio Tour this award; after all, where else in town can you see work by some 300 area artists and artisans over a couple of weekends? But EAST is also remarkable for its openness and diversity and a unique form of intimacy in its viewing experience. You aren't seeing these paintings and sculptures and ceramics and such in some antiseptic gallery or stately museum; you're seeing them where they were made – in studios, those vibrant, messy, deeply personal pits of creation. Plus, you're able to make direct connections to the artists there in ways that are rarely possible in more traditional exhibition venues. And that these scores of studios are spread across the Eastside means that as you roam from one to another, you pass through some of the city's most vital neighborhoods and gain a deeper appreciation of these areas as home to Austin's creative drive. And all for free.
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