If you love the visual arts, there’s nothing better than a chance to meet local artists and see how they work.

Continuing through next weekend, art aficionados can visit the work spaces of some 160 artists during Sonoma County Art Trails.

That’s a slightly different name for the county’s oldest annual open studio tour, formerly known as ARTrails and founded in 1986.

With the new name comes a new sponsor, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, taking over from the Arts Council of Sonoma County, which disbanded last year.

That puts the Sebastopol Center for the Arts in charge of both the countywide Art Trails tour every October and the annual Art at the Source studio tour every June, created by the center in 1995 to showcase more West County artists.

“There are some artists who have been part of Art Trails since the beginning,” said Linda Galletta, executive director of the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

Longtime participant Maurice Lapp, painter and Santa Rosa Junior College teacher, (shown above) died in June, but his family is opening his Santa Rosa studio to the public one more time, displaying both his early and later work.

Art Trails opened last weekend and continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Oct. 18-19.

You can design your own tour, based on your artistic interests, using a free Art Trails map that shows the locations of all the participating studios, and lists information on the artists and their work.

And you can set your own schedule, meeting friends along the way or stopping for a picnic.

“It’s an opportunity to visit Sonoma County, travel within the county if you’re already a resident, and see the working studios of these artists,” Galletta said.

“The diversity runs from stone sculptors to fiber artists, potters and lots of painters,” she said. “It’s a chance to see where all that creativity happens.”

In addition to the open studio tour, there are five preview exhibits at venues scattered across the county, featuring work by Art Trails artists.

Information:, 829-4797.

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