The theme of this year’s event is SPACE
(Somerville Wire) – More than 300 visual artists across Somerville will open their studios to the public this weekend, as Somerville Open Studios holds its 23rd city-wide art exhibit April 30 and May 1 from noon to 6 pm.
Organized by artists and art enthusiasts, Somerville Open Studios is one of the largest open-studios events in the world, according to its organizers. SOS showcases paintings, sculptures, photography, fiber, jewelry, clay, glass, furniture, and installation art.
The theme of this year’s SOS is SPACE. The concept has several relevant meanings, as organizers explained: “What started as a discussion about the loss of art and maker spaces in Somerville evolved into a discussion about space—space to live, space to create and explore. During the pandemic our spaces became entwined—for some, work and home became one, and beyond our ‘pods,’ human interaction was virtual or socially distant—‘six feet plus, please.’ In art, space is one of the basic elements—the area within the picture plane.”
In addition to home studios, artists will show their works at commercial studio buildings and community spaces. The biggest group show is First Look, which is already open for viewing at the Somerville Museum, 1 Westwood Road, now through May 14. First Look is a non-juried exhibit which offers each SOS artist the opportunity to show one work of art. Organizers encourage you to start at First Look, find artists who interest you, and then go visit their studios during SOS Weekend.
Another group show, curated by the Somerville Arts Council, is at the “Inside-Out Gallery,” a display in the CVS windows in Davis Square, which runs now through May 17. At Bow Market in Union Square, the SOS Small Works Show will be on display April 29-May 10.
Gallery spaces that are open before, during, and after SOS include Brickbottom Gallery, the Nave Gallery, Washington Street Studios, and the Art House. Mudflat Pottery School will host its semi-annual Open Studio & Pottery Sale from Friday through Sunday, noon to 6 pm each day. Many other multi-artist spaces are open this weekend only, including Arts at the Armory, Vernon Street Studios, Miller Street Studios, and Joy Street.
Printed guides are available to help you locate participating artists. Guides are available at the Somerville Museum and you can also find them in artist-made map stands across the city. For the most complete and updated information, visit www.somervilleopenstudios.org.
Free trolleys will circulate around the streets on Saturday and Sunday. Look for the artist-made signs pointing out the trolley stops. Parking restrictions are waived for the weekend, although parking meters are in effect.
All Somerville Open Studios events are free and open to all, but visitors are asked to bring a mask and, if asked to do so by participating artists, wear a mask when entering their studio space.
Photo credit: Admirers get a preview of this year’s First Look exhibit at the Somerville Museum. Photo by Ron Newman.
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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.