Marin Open Studios was created in 1993 by painter Kay Carlson and sculptor Tim Rose. They envisioned an event that would connect professional artists and the art-loving community. They partnered with Philanthropist Peggy Haas and a team of volunteers to produce the first Marin Open Studios.
In 1996, the founders turned the organization over to the Marin Art Council (MAC) who produced it successfully until 2011 when they dissolved MAC. Carlson and a grassroots committee including Haas and Chair Bob Amos revitalized the event and it acquired a tax exempt status as a 501c3 non- profit corporation operating with a volunteer board, a small staff, and scores of volunteers, many of them participating artists.
Now in its 29th year, Marin Open Studios attracts over 250 participating artists annually to the event, offers scholarships to diverse and emerging artists, and partners with youth, business, developmentally disabled adults, and Marin art centers to create community art experiences.