Sunday, December 02, 2012

Outside the Lines Studio: A place outside the mainstream that fosters outsider art.

Outside the Lines Studio: A place outside the mainstream that fosters outsider art.

By Doug Holder

 At a recent meeting of the Somerville Bagel Bards, I met with artist Anne Johnstone and Tufts University student Libby Schrobe. Both Johnstone and Schrobe are involved with the Outside the Lines Studio near the Tufts University campus. The studio is a sort of clubhouse serving people from Somerville and Medford area with mental disabilities. Schrobe, an intern at the studio said they offer classes in art, cooking, and other activities for members. The studio has hosted shows of various students’ artwork at local coffeehouses like True Grounds in Ball Square, and others.

Johnstone a teacher at the studio, is an accomplished artist and she works with clients often using papier-mâché to create puppet characters. She also works with members through painting and creating structures with chicken wire, and other media.

Johnstone studied at Brown University, and U/Mass Boston. She has had her own exhibits at the Salem Art Association, the Ga Ga Gallery in Swampscott, Mass. and other venues. She has a space at the Mt. Vernon Street Studios in our town, and lives in the Davis Square area.

Schrobe, who has many duties at the studio, told me: “The studio gives folks a place to pass time in an interesting way—rather than just sitting around. It gives them a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem.”

Schrobe said she is a clinical psychology major at Tufts, and often helps running the art classes.

Schrobe has many projects on the burner for the studio including an exhibit at the Tufts University Art Gallery, and a subsequent art auction.

Both Schrobe and Johnstone agree that there is a lot of raw talent among the artists they work with. This is yet another layer of talent that adds to our rich milieu in the Paris of New England.

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