Consider the April 2 Art Walk as a test run, a training session, a priming of the gallery crawl pump. Yes, this is the first chance of the season to tour studios, but it's hardly the last. In fact, some of the area's tours are so popular/extensive/awesome that they happen twice a year. Read on for upcoming tours, and mark your calendar accordingly.
• The ninth annual spring Weaverville Art Safari takes place Saturday, April 24 & Sunday, April 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days. The free driving tour visits the workspaces of more than 40 artists and craftspeople, including Marcia Kummerle, who felts wearable art from the wool of her own angora goats, Kathy Lightcap, who fashions kiln formed and cast-glass jewelry and sculptor John Ransmeier.
The safari is free; a ticketed fundraiser/kickoff party is held at the Reems Creek Golf Course clubhouse on Friday, April 23, 7-9 p.m. Silent auction, door prizes and refreshments. $10. Info, brochure and map at http://www.weavervilleartsafari.com.
• Saturday and Sunday, May 1 & 2, bring the East of Asheville Studio Tour, which includes artists in Black Mountain, Swannanoa, and East Asheville. Leather work, mixed-media and basketry are represented (along with numerous other disciplines) and the event's Web site insists that serious collectors and casual browsers alike are invited. Go to http://www.eaststudiotour.com for info and a map.
• Toe River Arts Council's spring studio tour runs Friday, June 11-Sunday, June 13. What's special about this gallery crawl? According to the Burnsville-based arts council's Web site, "Visitors on TRAC's biannual Toe River Studio Tour are often surprised by finding crafts on the tour produced in different media by the same artist, or, even more exciting, finding works which embody two or more media in one piece." Plan plenty of time, as 71 artists and/or studios are included on the map. Info at http://www.toeriverarts.org.
• Asheville's River Arts District also holds its biannual studio stroll Friday, June 11-Sunday, June 13. More than 120 artist studios and galleries will be open to the public. Drop in on painters, photographers, woodworkers and more; a number of eateries are open (art walks are a great way to work up an appetite), local musicians perform, the Wedge Brewery serves up liquid refreshment and, all in all, it's a weekend's-worth of culture, socializing and revelry. Not to be missed. Info at http://www.riverartsdistrict.com.
• The Leicester Studio Tour happens the third weekend of August (Saturday & Sunday, Aug. 21 & 22), and wends its way through painting, pottery, prints, jewelry, fiber arts, broom making, candles and more. Check http://www.cometoleicester.com for updated info and a map.
• Brevard hosts gallery walks on the fourth Fridays of each month from April to December. Check out galleries, art spots and restaurants from 5 to 9 p.m. Many feature music, munchies and wine. A bonus? Public art: the 16 animal sculptures and 5 murals located downtown. Fore full information and brochure, visit http://www.artsofbrevard.org and click on Art Tours, or call Tammy at the TC Arts Council at 884-2787.
• The Haywood Open Studios Tour, presented by the Haywood County Arts Council, takes place Saturday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 3, noon-5 p.m. Visit http://www.haywoodarts.org for updated info.