Open Studios in the US
I frequently visit my son in the US who with his family lives in Kensington, a hill town touching the university town of Berkeley, east of San Francisco. The area is also known as the East Bay.
Here I came across the concept of Open Studios. Over two consecutive weekends in the month of June, some 400 plus artists of 13 cities of this area display and sell their art. They either do this from the comfort of their own studios (which could be part of their homes in some cases) or in a public hall where some 40-50 artists hire booth spaces. A 40-year old organization by the name Pro Arts organizes this event.
East Bay Open Studios is the biggest art event in the East Bay, spanning over thirteen cities and two counties, drawing over 60,000 studio visitors over two weekends in June every year. Together, East Bay Open Studios and the Directory of East Bay Arts serve as essential resources for artists to cultivate new audiences for their work, network with their peers, professionalize their practice and make art more visible across communities. For visitors the event offers an opportunity to meet local artists, explore new neighborhoods, and discover art.
The directory also assists visitors in planning their tour of the Studios. City maps showing Studio Locations, thumbnail listings of artists in different categories, along with the event calendar form the content of this directory.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Watercolor Paintingsas a separate category of Art (Watercolors) in this directory, not to be mixed with Paintings, Sculptures, Book art, Photography, Print making and so on. It reminds me of the separate competition for Watercolor Paintingsorganized by All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society in New Delhi, India. While the general paintings include Watercolor Paintings, the special category for the latter obviously does not include Oils, Acrylics, and other mediums.
My wife and I visited The East Bay Open studios in 2011 and again in 2014. We made several lasting friendships with the Watercolorist community of this area.
The East Bay Open Studios 2015 will be held on June 6-7 and June 13-14 2015
In December, Berkeley Artisans Holiday hold another Open Studios in which over 100 artists and craftsmen open their workshops and galleries to the public.
In another Blog I shall talk about my observations of American Watercolorists and the Indian Watercolorists.
Here are some photos of our visits to the Open Studios
An inviting signage of Open Studio of my friend Susan McAllister, Berkeley
In the studio of my Teacher Julie Cohn, Berkeley
Several artists displaying In Jack London Square, Oakland
“One of the best forums around for Bay Area artists and art lovers to meet.” – Oakland Tribune
“The fun thing about this event is that going here and there exposes things that are ordinarily invisible.” – Leonardo Online