Art League Reorganizes Show, Tours

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The Payson Art League is eliminating one of its two art and craft shows and placing greater emphasis on its annual studio tour.

The spring show, held in May at the Tonto Apache recreation center, will be discontinued, leaving just the fall show, usually held the first week in November, and the 'Neath the Rim Studio Tour.

"Following an in-depth study by the show planning committee, it was determined that the group could offer the public a more extensive and diverse body of work by a greater number of artists by limiting the art festival to once a year," PAL spokesperson Peggy Gould said.

The studio tour, an event initiated two years ago, will become a free event and be moved from October to the spring. Last year, 25 artists opened their studios to about 300 patrons who paid $5 apiece for an inside look at the artists at work. This year the studio tour will be held May 7 to 9.

Barb Bourscheidt, co-chair of the event, says studio tours not only raise art awareness in the community, but also attract visitors.

"Cave Creek started one several years ago and they're up to 35 studios," she said. "Thousands of people come to Cave Creek and Carefree and eat in the restaurants and stay in the motels. Sedona has a successful tour and Flagstaff has started one."

PAL hopes to eventually expand the fall show to include more artists from other communities, Gould said. To that end discussions are being held regarding a possible change of venue, including the new conference center that will be part of the casino's expansion.

PAL president Jan Hodson said the changes were instituted to revitalize the organization and "make the things PAL does as exciting as we can."

She also emphasized the educational nature of the studio tour.

"We will still have the fall show, and this gives people the opportunity to pick two or three or a half dozen individual artists or mediums they are interested in and actually see the process," she said.

The decision was also a practical one, Hodson said.

"It's almost impossible for our member artists to prepare new works for three major events a year," she said. "This way patrons will be able to see more new work."

Hodson said PAL members voted 58-7 in favor of the changes, but that they will be open to review.

"If what we've done doesn't meet the community's interests, we're not locked into it forever," she said.

PAL recently celebrated its silver anniversary at an event highlighting its 25-year history. On hand for the festivities were founding artists Pearl Fleischman and Dorothy Kaufman.

Active member Jay Kemp, who, along with Fleischman and Kaufman, was awarded a lifetime membership, also was part of the original group.

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