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COURT HOUSE – In an effort to promote the "raw art" of Cape May County, 20 artists will show their products during the free, inaugural Artists Guild Studio Tour Oct. 13-14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Eight stops are located in the southeast part of the county and eight are in the northwest corner. Some artists will be showing both days.

A map with routes and addresses, photos of artwork and a list of the artists participating can be found at The Artists Guild of The Cape Studio Tour 2018 Facebook page.

"We have the beaches, the breweries, wineries, restaurants, and shops," said organizer Stan Sperlak, of Goshen. "Individual artists go unsung here.

"Artist tours are an extremely popular way to show off one's work, so why not Cape May?" he asked. "This is a chance for the community to go to a studio, talk with an artist, see their work, and come away with an appreciation of what else the county has to offer."

The tour was arranged so visitors can focus on a specific craft, location or artist if they want, according to Sperlak. Tour cards will be available so visitors can get them stamped at each studio.

Anyone with 10 stamps or more will be invited to a "wrap party" with the artists at a place revealed during the tour on Oct. 14.

The tour grew out of Sperlak's desire to establish a sense of community among county artists "embracing today's technology."

The group, Artists Guild of the Cape, is virtual, connected by a Facebook page of over 450 artists. They share ideas, tout each other's work and share their finished products online.  There are no meetings, nor any hierarchy of officers.

"It's a great sense of community," noted Gina Fullerton, of Villas, who will be showing her printmaking, and oil and acrylic paintings.

Fullerton moved to the area full-time two years ago and said the group and tour "fulfills a dream of getting involved with other artists, creating art and having fellowship.

"I've found out I have several artists who live nearby, which is great," she added.

"The tour is exciting for me because it's a chance to bring my work to a new audience," Fullerton said. "People will come as strangers, but I'll get a chance to make new acquaintances, maybe new friends. It's neat to see how someone else responds to something I've created."

For glassblower Don Friel, of South Dennis, the tour gives him an opportunity to show pieces he's created over 42 years at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Millville.

In his first year of being "semi-retired," Friel said he's been bringing home many of the pieces he's made over the years, "evaluating what I've accomplished over my career. It is also giving me a chance to figure out how I want to spend the rest of my time doing my own work that I create because I want to, rather than it's something to be sold at Wheaton Arts.

"It's time to break away from the order sheets," he quipped.

On display during the tour will be a variety of glass, from historical to contemporary pieces, functional and decorative pieces.

Husband and wife artists, Laurie and Joe Milligan, of Cape May, said the tour is an opportunity to re-energize the area's art scene.

After spending a career "in corporate," Laurie took a class in pottery and loved it. She's been working with clay about one year and thinks the tour will give others time to "enjoy what we produce."

Her husband has been working with watercolors since grade school, primarily of marine scenes. "The group is nice because we're developing camaraderie with other artists," he said. "We can share how we're growing our art careers, hear about struggles and see if we can help each other out." 

Anyone with questions about the tour should call Sperlak at 609-827-6423.

To contact Karen Knight, email kknight@cmcherald.com.