Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Somerville Open Studios: A Broad Swath of Art for the City of Somerville

( From the Boston Figurative Art Center)

I talked with artist Thea Paneth, of Somerville Open Studios, about the upcoming event that happens the first week in May of 2021. Open Studios--has brought art to the streets of Somerville for over 20 years, and they continue to keep on keeping on, during these challenging times.


Can you talk a bit about your involvement with Somerville Open Studios?

I’ve been involved with SOS since the beginning. Over the years I’ve done almost every job! Currently I manage the traditional media publicity.

The great thing about Somerville Open Studios is that the artists and some volunteers who love art come together to organize the event each year. We don’t hire an event planner, and while the Somerville Arts Council is always helpful in many ways, we are a separate organization and do our own organizing, unlike some other open studios events.

We are part of the community here in Somerville.

If you had to give a mission statement for Somerville Open Studios, what would that be?

Somerville Open Studios (SOS) is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of producing an annual open studio and related events in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Through its programming, SOS gives access to the work of visual artists living and working in the city of Somerville. We provide opportunities to view art made within the community; to interact with local artists; and to have access to artists’ working spaces. Our goal is to broaden the public’s exposure to, and appreciation of, finished works of art as well as the art-making process. This exposure both educates the community and raises awareness of the diverse artistic experience available in Somerville.
Somerville Open Studios is managed by a Board of Directors comprised of participating artists. An Open Studios executive committee is formed each year to organize the event. This committee is assisted by many dedicated volunteers.

This year's event will have a virtual component and a live component. Can you tell us a bit about this?

The virtual event will be from noon to 6 pm on Saturday May 1 and Sunday May 2 with artists participating at different times

An outdoor event is planned for Saturday, May 1 (rain date, Sunday May 2) with a number of artists and artists with home studios may be open during the weekend, all this info is on the map at the website for visitors.

The SOS website is updated with all the information and it is the best place to preview artists that the public might be interested in at Exhibits of SOS Artists:

Inside-Out at 1 Davis Square (CVS windows), Somerville now through May 16, 2021

Bow Market at 1 Bow Market Way (Union Square), Somerville through June 27, 2021

Powderhouse Pop-Up Gallery at 862 Broadway, Somerville, check website for dates.

Looking at your list of artists, I see that I have interviewed a number of them over the years. For instance poet Anna M. Warrock, a noted poet, has an exhibition of her bead jewelry, Stan Eichner, a fine nature photographer is going to present, the Mudflat Studios, that bastion of pottery--will be exhibiting, Tori Weston, a  well-known writer who has a number of fine drawings to display, among many others.

We don’t promote any particular artists ourselves, what I can do is help by directing attention to the website of all participating artists who create a profile with their recent works and assure all readers that you will find it worthwhile to peruse this site, you will surely find artists that are interesting to you!

How has Open Studios evolved over the years?

Somerville Open Studios is more than 23 years old - this is the 23rd event! The organizing committee evolves and changes and the event also changes, for example, there was interest a few years back to hold a fashion show. It was easily incorporated into the overall event. It’s been inspiring to see artists jump in and join the fashion show with all kinds of amazing wearable art projects! If a group has an idea and we can incorporate it, it is likely to happen, as long as there is a group of people with the energy to make it happen. Other times, things get dropped, we used to have a film fest associated with SOS, but that seems to have fallen off. It all depends on the people involved and what they want to make happen.

Why should 'we' attend?

SOS weekend is the best weekend of the year. One of my visitors said that to me a couple of years ago and I totally agree! If we have good weather, what could be better than walking around the ‘ville visiting artists and art exhibits with stops at the great cafes and restaurants around town to refuel? I can’t imagine a better, more fun day in Somerville! I truly, deeply hope we are able to hold the full city-wide event next year!

for more information go to