Photo Gallery: North Adams Open Studios
NORTH ADAMS -- A steady flow of visitors poured through 21 galleries and artist studios as part of the eighth annual North Adams Open Studios on Saturday and Sunday.
"I think we've had some great people stop by," Gail Sellers, one of the organizers and exhibitors, said in her studio space at the Eclipse Mill on Sunday afternoon. "That's what is enriching for me: engaging with people."
According to Sellers, the event has become a showcase for artists living in the area. It also allows the public a glimpse of the creative process as visitors tour the open studios.
"Doing this in a public way is better than doing it in my home," Melanie Mowinski, of Press Gallery on Main Street said Saturday. An assistant professor of visual art at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Mowinski primarily works in the gallery at 49 Main St. She frequently instructs students and gives demonstrations on the art of using a letter press.
Some artists were not so open to having people view their personal studio spaces, but still found a way to showcase their work.
"It's a living and work space. I have boundary issues," local artist Carol Kiendl said. Instead of choosing to allow visitors into her space, Kiendl and 11 other artists displayed their work in Main Street's Gallery 107.
The number of local artists in the area impressed some visitors over the weekend.
"It's always nice to see how lively an artist community is," said Judith Ellers, who visited for Open Studios from Greenwich, N.Y. Ellers, who is also an artist, toured the Eclipse Mill on Sunday.
Though there was not a large amount of people attending the Open Studio tours this year, Sellers still viewed the event as a success. Sellers said many people stopped by the River Hill Pottery Studio she runs with her husband, Phil, and asked why the event wasn't held every weekend.
According to Mowinski, over 60 visitors stopped by Press Gallery on Saturday afternoon. The Eclipse Mill tallied over 171 visitors the same day.
"We've had some locals, and many from out of town," said Sellers.
"It's interesting. I've seen things I've never seen before," said Birke Gregg, who along with her family of German tourists visited Gallery 107 on Sunday after touring Mass MoCA. She was particularly drawn to a collage by Rosemary Kress. "We walked around to see what else was in town. I like it," she said.
Sellers credits sponsors for helping to promote the event. Vacation Village, The Porches, the Red Lion Inn and Mass MoCA all helped send visitors to the galleries and studios, according to Sellers.
"Instead of asking for money, we asked our sponsors to help us promote," she said.
Beside radio commercials and advertisements in magazines, Sellers plans on placing even more signs along the three entrances to North Adams to promote the event next year.
"It's amazing how many people stopped in because of the signs," she said.
Several of the artists gave attendees demonstrations of their art making process.
Phil Sellers demonstrated throwing clay on a spinning wheel and made coffee mugs as people gathered on stools in his studio watched. Mowinski gave a print making demonstration at her gallery on Saturday afternoon. She focused on making Bobelles, movable disks that date back to the Renaissance and are now more commonly seen in charts of the night stars.
"This is worth doing because the city worked really hard to promote Main Street and this is one of the things I can do to help," Mowinski said of her participation in Open Studios.
"Victory is having a wonderful space to make art," Kiendl said. Being a part of a strong arts community is also important to the retired arts professional who began making art when she was five. "This is about a number of us getting together to have fun."