Inspire(d) Ideas -

Self-Guided Art Tours: A Primer!

Text & Infographic by Aryn Henning Nichols

Fall in the Driftless Region should be called fall in love with the Driftless Region.

It’s beautiful not only for its scenic vistas and lovely (fingers crossed) weather, but also because of all the amazing art we can view through open studio tours. Artists welcome you into their workspaces for these nifty behind-the-scenes tours. If you’re at all interested in art, road trips, or even just people in general, it’s something you really should experience. We’ve shared a lot about these tours in the past, but not so much about what YOU should do to enjoy the events to the fullest. So! We decided to (what else?) put together an infographic!

Make sure to mark your calendar for these art tours this fall! 

Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour
Where: Decorah, Iowa, and 35-mile surrounding region
When: Late September / Early October
For more information: visit

Fresh Art Tour
Where: Lake Pepin and the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin
When: Early or Mid-October
For more information: visit

Fall Art Tour
Where: Southwest Wisconsin (Baraboo, Dodgeville, Mineral Point, and Spring Green)
When: Mid-October
For more information: visit

Bluff Country Studio Art Tour
Where: Winona, Minnesota, extending into Northeast Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin
When: Mid- to Late-April
For more information: visit

Click on the infographic above for a closer look at some fun art-on-the-go road trip tips! Have fun!


  1. It’s okay not to buy anything! Don’t feel guilty, just enjoy the art and let the artist know that you’ve enjoyed it. But if you DO want to buy something, don’t hesitate! This art is the most “local” you’re ever going to get: You’re standing in the artist’s studio!
  2. PLEASE don’t be afraid to ask questions! You won’t look silly, we promise. In general, artists love to have folks interested in their work, processes, and studio. Everyone has a story, and – boy – stories are fun to hear (that’s why we started this magazine in the first place)!
  3. Printed material is expensive! If an artist has cards, publications, or pamphlets out and you’re not seriously interested in putting it on your fridge/giving it to a friend/calling for more information, just pass on taking them – you’ll be doing the artist a favor!
  4. Negotiations: In general, we don’t live in an area that encourages negotiations on pricing. That said, if you’re looking at a piece but can’t afford to pay the price, be up front about it. See if there are any options for payment plans or if the seller might be willing to budge a smidge on the price. You’ll know quickly enough if they will. If not, move on and know you tried everything you could to bring the piece home. Make sure you are clear that you meant no offense, quite the opposite: you loved their work!