Studio visits are beautiful. They mean going inside someone else’s head, getting an intimate view of their process, and maybe even gleaning something new about one’s own work. Few things are more satisfying than this kind of dialogue.

I am months into a year of independent study and travel, in which studio visits have proven invaluable to my understanding of a new place and its artistic climate. Makers—those who seek to investigate, to communicate, to resonate—are my main teachers this year as I explore the roles of cultural institutions within their local communities and engage with the idea of cultural exchange promoted by touristic mega-exhibitions (biennials, y’all). Keep an eye out for a series of Dispatches about studio visits taken along my travels, each time from a different city and circumstance.

Dianne Loftis is a recent art history graduate, wannabe polyglot, and hopeful curator.