The concept of artists open studios is not a new one, but in recent years, there has been a surge in popularity of these yearly, city-wide events. One of the largest of such events takes place each spring in Somerville, Massachusetts. Somerville, just steps away from Harvard University, is an example of a vibrant, bustling art community supported widely by city government and local businesses.
Somerville Open Studios began in 1999, and the event has grown larger and larger each year. Starting with just 25 sites in 1999, this year’s two-day event boasted close to 400 participating artists making it one of the largest of such events in the nation.
SOS typically takes place in the last weekend of April and provides the community a welcome transition to spring after a traditional harsh New England winter. It gives participating artists the chance to reconnect with clients, show off current work, make sales, and expand their base of support. For the public it means an inside look into an artist’s creative process and environment, and a chance to mix and mingle in an informal setting.
The event starts with a preview show at the Somerville Museum which allows residents to view a sampling of the participating artists and plan out their weekend. Even with two days, it’s impossible to visit all studios.
Historically, Massachusetts has always supported artists and artist colonies were popular at the turn of the century. Not much has changed in the current day. This year’s open studio weekend was marked by perfect weather, an enthusiastic throng of art lovers and robust sales – a very positive indication even in these tough economic times!
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.