Trick-or-treaters of all ages don’t have to wait until Halloween to start going door-to-door. This weekend’s ninth annual Dorchester Open Studios (DOS) affords locals the scary, but safe thrills of exploring neighborhood places they’ve never been to before without having to worry about coming up with a costume!
This Saturday and Sunday —October 23 and 24— from noon to 5 p.m., local artists will be displaying a wide range of artwork and handmade crafts—from paintings, sculpture and photographs to jewelry, giftware and wearable art.
The Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC), which organizes the event, extends a special invitation to those who have never been to Open Studios to stop by one or more locations of this, its highest participation DOS ever.
Though many artists are offering their work for sale, DOS newbies should rest assured that this is a no-cost, no-pressure event. Visitors should feel free to chat –or not– with any of the 122 artists welcoming the public. Often these host artists even have a table of snacks to fortify the art-curious as they progress around the community.
Group exhibition locations are spread out all over Dorchester. They include First Parish Church, 10 Parish Street (Meetinghouse Hill); Pearl Street Studios at 11 Pearl Street (Savin Hill); Humphreys Street Studios, 11 Humphreys Street (Uphams Corner); and Walter Baker Lofts at 1231 Adams Street (Lower Mills).
One feature that makes DOS unique among the city’s many Open Studios weekends is the inclusion of the Boston Home (2049 Dorchester Avenue), a long term care facility as yet another group site. For the past six years Susan Krause, DAC board member, has been helping adults overcome significant paraplegia or quadriplegia to become dedicated and skilled artists. This year 32 Boston Home artists and friends will be displaying their creations in the light, airy Garden Gallery. Hot cider and cookies will be served!
This year DAC debuts its specially commissioned map  depicting the locations of the five group sites along with eight home/ business individual studios. The free guide available at many Dot restaurants, libraries, banks, real estate offices and exhibit sites also features 20 historic sites and places of interest in Dorchester, making it handy keepsake even after the 2010 DOS is over.
About a third of this year’s exhibitors are showing for the first time. DAC Co-Chair Andrea Kunst notes, “We are delighted to welcome 16 artists new to Open Studios. Several artists, including John Lowe, The Chicken Painter, DonnaMarie Pare (who creates Marilyn Monroe multi-media work), Robin Chandler, and Iris DuPont will be opening their home studios, giving visitors an opportunity for an up close and personal look at both their work and their work environment.”
This year DOS features performance art as well as the more traditional visual art. The festivities kicked off last Sunday at the Humphrey Street Studios with The Art Show— conceived, written and presented by Uphams Corner-based ARTiculation, “a combination of interactive theater and urban poetics; a poetry-slam turned performance piece; a mosaic of life, love, youth, religion and art. The young performers use spoken-word poetry, improvisation and a hard hitting hip-hop beat to explore the relationship between classical theater and underground performance poetry.”
Tomorrow (Oct. 22) the action moves to the opening reception for the 2010 DOS weekend (from 6:30 to 8:30) at Hancock 309 Gallery and Consignment, a new exhibit space located across Dot Ave. from dbar. Gallery owner Valerie Owens offers a wonderful one-stop overview of Dorchester’s diverse creativity with a single sample from most of the artists showing this year.
Visit the DAC’s website thedac.org for updates and more information on artists’ personal sites, as well as the blog dac2010.wordpress.com for profiles of some DOS artists. Details on the Saturday 11 am DOS bicycle tour (starting in front of the Codman Square Great Hall) may be found at dotbike.org.