Save the date! The KAT is October 17th & 18th

Fall is for art tours in our neck of the woods and you want to be sure not to miss out on the upcoming Keene Art Tour on October 17th and 18th.

This compact little tour is something special featuring the fine artists and craftsmen who live and work in Keene, New Hampshire. Tour goers will get a rare peek into the creative work spaces of our local talent–in downtown studios and tucked away in little neighborhoods in spaces you might never of known where there.

Much of the tour can be seen on foot or bike and there is a bit of something for everyone from paintings and pottery to jewelry and fiber arts.  So grab a friend and come visit your local artists. Take away a one-of-kind treasure as a keepsake or get a jump in your holiday shopping.  Print the tour map online or pick up a KAT brochure at area businesses or at the artist’s studios.

The Keene Art Tour
Saturday & Sunday
October 17th & 18th
10am to 5pm


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Fourth Annual Keene Art Tour to be Held During Former Keene Pumpkin Festival Weekend

The Keene Art Tour, an annual event during which artists open their studios, demonstrate their craft and display and sell their work, will be held this year on Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18 – Saturday would have been the date of the 25th annual Keene Pumpkin Festival.

In past years, the Keene Art Tour was held on the second weekend in November, the same weekend as the annual N.H. Open Doors event.

Melinda LaBarge's colorful felt work.

Melinda LaBarge’s colorful felt work.

“We wanted to get back to honoring what’s good about Keene,” said Melinda LaBarge, Keene Art Tour board treasurer and participating artist, of the new event date. “This will be a well-intended start to building something and bring some healing to the community.”

Last year’s tour had doubled in size from the previous year, with more than 30 artists at 18 locations in Keene, most within walking distance of each other. Among the new and returning artists were painters, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers and sculptors, with several new stops on the map.

The Keene Art Tour is a perfect opportunity to find out what the artisans in your own backyard are doing. The two-day event is designed to be able to take a friend and enjoy lunch at Keene’s downtown eateries or make a weekend of it and stay at a local bed-and-breakfast or downtown hotel.

“The word is starting to get out about this event,” said LaBarge. “It’s drawing people from the outskirts of Boston, some with kids who attended college in Keene and needed a reason to return.”

Functional and attractive pottery by Tanya Rudenjak.

Functional and attractive pottery by Tanya Rudenjak.

This year’s plan for the tour includes activities for the whole family, and LaBarge said sponsorships are being sought to add a trolley that will bring tour-goers from stop to stop on Saturday. Riders will make a donation for a charity of the sponsor’s choosing.

“It was a concern that a lot of fundraising for local organizations was lost when it was decided the Pumpkin Festival would end,” said LaBarge. “The trolley will be a way to restore some of that.”

The most important reason the tour is being rescheduled this year is to remind what the community stands for. “Keene has so much to celebrate – let’s not lose sight of that,” said LaBarge.

Happy, happy camper!

Happy, happy camper!

Check back at the event website,, periodically for updates and for more information.

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Third Annual Keene Art Tour to Feature Several New Artists

The third annual Keene Art Tour has nearly doubled in size, with more than 30 artists at 18 locations in Keene, most within walking distance of each other. On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., these artists will open their studios and display their work. Much of it will be for sale and some will demonstrate their craft.

Visit the studios of painters, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers, sculptors and more for some early holiday shopping or unique treasures and gifts. Or chat with the artists about how they make their creations.

Among the group of artists on the tour are several new faces, including Dana Read of Firefly Photography. She describes her work as “whimsical storytelling.” She started as an artist drawing and painting in acrylic, developing her love of photography when she did some traveling. Five years ago, after the birth of her son, he became her favorite subject to capture with her camera. A year later, she started her business, which primarily focuses on portraiture of small children.


photograph by Dana Read


Some of her new work is stylized conceptual, usually with a storyline. One recent shoot was inspired by Beatrix Potter tales. “I was reading about these fantastical creature in the woods with my 4-year-old and I wanted to create my own story,” she said. The result is a series she titled “Fox Hollow,” the story of a fox and a hare she captured by creating masks for her two young models. “My stories are always gentle and uplifting,” she said.

Another recent shoot she modeled after the Arthurian legend-inspired book, “The Mists of Avalon,” a knights-of-the-round table story told from a female perspective.

“It is in a dream-like setting involving a young woman and a 6-month-old baby laid in water,” she said. “I loved the idea of this magical, enchanted place and an empowered female and the connection of mother and child.”

Read will have prints from her photography series available for sale during the tour.

First-time Keene Art Tour participant Marylise Reilly-Fajal brings her international experience to her painting. Raised in France, she earned her master’s in fine arts at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where she exhibited her oil paintings in several galleries. She has shown her work in more than 60 exhibitions around the world, including in Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal and Russia as well as the U.S. She still exhibits her work every year in France. Among her jobs as an artist was drawing Greek and Roman vases at the Louvre in Paris.

“For me, painting is researching life through the visual,” she said. “I have lots of questions and I’m looking for answers through painting.”

In 1985, she was invited by the French Embassy to show her art work in Syria as well as give several lectures about her art and about specific techniques such as etching and printmaking. Her show was sponsored by the Syrian Ministry of Culture and she was the first woman to show and explain her artwork publicly.

She stayed in Syria for a month, traveling around the country sketching everything from outdoor markets to archaeological sites.

“It really opened me to an awareness of women in the world and how fortunate we are in this country to be able to express ourselves and do what we want,” she said.

Now Marylise is an artist, teaches art to home schooled students and is a French teacher.  She describes her past work as somewhere between realism and abstract. Since she moved to New Hampshire a couple years ago (she was born in New York) she has her surroundings to inspire her. “When I came here I was in awe with the nature that’s here,” she said. “I painted a lot of woods, lakes and gardens.”


painting by Marylise Reilly


Recently, she’s worked in multi-media collage, incorporating different papers in her painting. “If I’m too much in control it gets boring for me,” she said.

She’ll also have some landscapes and still lifes in oil and watercolor for sale during the tour and will share some of her stories behind her artwork with visitors. She’ll also be painting in her studio.

In addition to the new artists on the tour, there are several new stops on the map this year. In addition to Keene State College’s Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery and Carroll House Gallery, new locations including Hannah Grimes Marketplace on Main Street and the new Make it So — The Monadnock Makerspace on Eagle Court. The non-profit Makerspace will offer space for the arts, a research and development lab and a recreational hobby shop as well as studio and residential space.

The Keene Art Tour is a perfect opportunity to find out what the artisans in your own backyard are doing. Take a friend and enjoy lunch at Keene’s downtown eateries or make a weekend of it and stay at a local bed-and-breakfast or downtown hotel (see for more information).

Pick up a brochure at the tour headquarters at Creative Encounters or at Hannah Grimes Marketplace, both on Keene’s Main Street, or click link below for printable version.

printable KAT map





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Keene Art Tour–fall map now available

We are thrilled at how the KAT is growing. We have TONS of new artists joining us this fall–18 stops in all. Wow, there is so much talent in our little city. Mark your calendars for November 8th & 9th, 2014.



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Keene Art Tour is growing!

The KAT returns this fall with over 12 new artists and 6 new stops on the tour! We are blown away by the talented artisans living in our little city under Mt Monadnock. Visit the studios on November 8th & 9th, 2014 from 10am to 5pm.


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The Keene Art Tour returns November 8th & 9th 2014

Mark your calendars! The KAT returns on November 8th & 9th, 2014,
Saturday & Sunday, 10am to 5pm.


We have over 12 new artists this time. You wouldn’t believe the talent we have right here in our little city of Keene. Grab a friend and come take a peek inside the working studios of Keene’s talented creative people. We will have painters, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers, sculptors and more.

Fine a one-of-a kind treasure, do some early holiday shopping and get someone special a truly unique gift. Or just come and chat with the artists (we’re friendly!) about how they make their creations and be inspired.

Watch for the tour map and brochure at area businesses in October or available online here.


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Furniture designer Gary Spykman, Keene Art Tour participant, was featured on’s website yesterday.

The article, “For Keene furnituremaker Gary Spykman, it’s Function first” by Melanie Plenda, is a great in-depth piece about Gary’s roots and inspiration.

“I wish it had come out BEFORE the Art Tour,” says Gary. “But better late than never!”

We agree. And besides, Gary can show it to his visitors at his next Keene Art Tour gig in November.

Congratulations, Gary!

Gary's colorful yard furniture,  and the colorful dance floor in his studio.

Gary’s colorful yard furniture, and the colorful dance floor in his studio.

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