"Studio Visits" are common activities for those working or dabbling in the art world. They're generally exciting for those involved, and curious to those who are not. Here's a breakdown of what they are, why they're cool, and how to participate.
What they are: A studio visit is the act of visiting an artist's studio. During this visit, you can meet the artist, see where he/she works, and see some completed and in-progress work.
Why they're cool: Meeting an artist and seeing where he/she works is an opportunity to gain further insight into their practice. The studio and materials inside often serve as inspiration for the work, and understanding this can deepen your appreciation of the work itself, including how and why it's made. Additionally, chatting up an artist can reveal the passion behind the work, which, to me, makes the work easier to appreciate and connect with. I'm a fan of simple analogies, so in that spirit: imagine seeing a colorful woven rug under a couch at West Elm. Now imagine walking by a home in which you could see a woman mixing dyes, drawing patterns, weaving wool, and surrounded by inspirational pictures and words. The final product is the exact same rug. Which would you appreciate more?
Additionally, when meeting an artist, ask some of your burning questions. Find out how he/she decides a piece is complete or which artists have served as mentors. The answers will likely be illuminating.
How to Participate: Studio visits are not just for those representing or buying work by a particular artist. With a little effort, you can also get in. Visit some galleries that represent living artists and see if they ever host studio visits. Check out perks for Membership or Young Collector programs at local museums--studio visits are often a staple. Finally, art schools regularly host "open studios" during which art students showcase their work. This is an excellent opportunity to meet emerging talent.