Hey friends, I had a pop-up studio during New Haven’s city-wide open studios dubbed Open Sources. I was at the Bregamos Community Theater for my open Studios. In this month-long art festival hundreds of artists from across Connecticut open their doors to the public to exhibit their work and offer a peek into the creative process.
My assigned space – Bregamos Community Theater is next to Erector Square, which is a former toy factory building now home to dozens of artist studios. This proximity meant those of us artists in Bregamos Community Theater could enjoy some of the heavy foot traffic from Erector Square. On the other hand it also meant that some visitors may tire after going through the very large Erector Square and may therefore not come visit us. However, I was banking my hopes on the former rather than the later.
Getting ready for the day of the open studios was a lot of work. I had artworks ready to go. So, that wasn’t an issue. It was getting all the other things that go into setting up in an art festival that were. My biggest task was getting one piece of artwork framed in this creative way that I’d come up with. You see, folks are always asking to see the back of my work. So, I came up with a framing idea that would allow people to see both the front and back when the piece is framed.
Executing my idea though, took a lot more than I’d anticipated. It required a lot of design sense, trial and error, and collaborations. Oh, and of course, several runs back and forth to the home improvement and art supply stores. By the time the paint was dry, well I only had a couple hours to spare. But I made it work.
You’d think that working down to the wire, I’ll be late for the opening. Nope, your girl arrived before the doors opened. Setup was brisk and friendly. The owner of Bregamos Community Theater, Raphael Ramos was so gracious and willing to help in anyway possible. He climbed ladders to adjust lighting, moved chairs and tables around to make room for artists. He was an immeasurable help. Also, Gabe from Artspace– the organizers of open studios- was also very helpful.
The first day of open studios was a little slow. It was a beautiful autumn day. However traffic was slow. The second day, though, made up for what the first day lacked. Although it rained on the second day and the weather wasn’t that great (I had to wear my jacket most of the day), traffic was good.
All in all, it was a great event. It was so worth my time. Going in, I wasn’t sure whether it will be worth it or not. Right until a couple of days before the event, I was still debating whether to participate or not. Yes, planning and getting organized for the event took a lot of time away from my studio practice. But, like I said, it was worth it.
I met so many people. And I got to talk about my work for two days straight with people who were intrigued and interested in the work. People I would never had met if I’d stayed in my studio. Gallerists came by. Curators came by. Other artists came to chat. And art lovers from all over the state came as well. It was amazing. Going out, showing your work, and meeting people is a necessary part of being an artist. To all of you who I met at open studios, a big thank you for stopping by.
And to you my artist friends, I know it’s hard for a lot of artists to do this because we’re often introverts. But you can start slowly. Get your feet wet in small events and then grow from there. If you want to be a professional artist, showing your work, meeting people, and talking about your work comes with the territory. And we can all learn to do this no matter whether we’re introverts or extroverts. Friend, if I can do it, you can too.
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Also published on Medium.