In the fall of 2000, a group of artists were called together by Kathy Hartl Stevens, director of Southeastern Minnesota Historic Bluff Country, a regional convention and visitors bureau in Harmony, to examine the idea of starting an Art Tour in the region.
The group considered the time of year to hold its art tour, the size of the area to be covered, chose a name and a governing structure. Bluff Country Studio Art Tour is held every year on the last full weekend of April. Initially a two-day event, the tour now is three days long. Since the initial tour included artists from Northern Iowa, Winona, Lanesboro and Harmony it was decided to have the art tour extend from Winona in the north, to within 10 miles south of the Minnesota/Iowa border into Iowa, and from the Mississippi river on the east to Lanesboro and Harmony on the west. The artists hold periodic meetings to make decisions and create a brochure each year.
Founding members Jill and Michael Stephenson, Hallie and Nate Evans from Iowa and Bernadette Mahfood ,Mary Denzer and Lanesboro Arts Center from Minnesota have participated in the art tour every year since its beginning.