Open Studios weekend offerings include bold work by teen artists

"Freedom" the hard-hitting graphic style of Boston International High School's Junior Pina, on display as part of Dorchester Open Studios at the Erick Jean Center for the Arts in Four Corners, in an exhibition devoted to student artists from Dorchester.

Arresting canvases and bold artistic statements by teen artists from three Dorchester high schools will have pride of place at this weekend’s annual Dorchester Open Studios.

On Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5, about 30 of their creations – drawings, paintings, found object sculpture – will fill the Erick Jean Center for the Arts, the Four Corners home base of the Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC), the local non-profit that organizes this free event.

An insert in last week’s Reporter previewed the scope of this exhibit, the neighborhood’s best-attended and most widespread art event.

The DAC describes Dorchester Open Studios as “a family-friendly arts celebration that covers the best of Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood.” The public is invited to view and possibly buy art, or just meet and chat with the artists, who work in a whole range of media , including painting, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and photography.

Dorchester Open Studios, one of the eleven members of the Boston Open Studios Coalition that is coordinated by the city’s Arts and Culture Office, is among the largest Open Studios series in the country. Artists across the city open their workspaces on successive weekends to provide a rare opportunity to see the personal environments in which the work is created.

“Open Studios is a great Boston tradition that celebrates our residents who create visual art as well as giving everyone a chance to meet the artists who live in their neighborhood and across the city,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “Open Studios embodies the kind of community that makes Boston such a great place for artists to live and create.”

Where to See What
The Savin Hill artist and author James Hobin coordinated and curated the Jean Center teen show that features works by students from three Dot schools where he has taught art at different times since 2010: the Jeremiah E. Burke, Savin Hill’s Cristo Rey Boston, and the Boston International High School (BIHS) on Maxwell Street. Hobin, who in September founded the first-ever BIHS art program, collaborated with local art teachers Jessica Edwards at Cristo Rey and Alisa Rodney at the Burke. This exhibition is being generously sponsored by the Massachusetts Building Trades Council.

Most of the creations of local artists can be seen in group-show venues, the best-known one being at the First Parish Church on Meetinghouse Hill. Because this is the most popular one-stop venue, organizers have announced that some exhibitors will have to display their works under tents on the Rev. Allen Lawn. Dot Art has promised to run kids arts and craft activities outside, where there will also be live art-making demonstrations by local taggers.

Vincent Crotty's "Gas Tank at Twilight"Vincent Crotty's "Gas Tank at Twilight"

Five local artists continue to host the true “Open Studios,” allowing visitors to visit their workspaces to smell the smells, to inspect the paraphernalia, and to explore the milieu where the artworks are created. The two Open Studios veterans at the Pearl Street Studios are Judith Brown (painting) and Lawrence Pryor (painting, sculpture). The painter Vincent Crotty shows his work at 22 Huntoon St.; Susie Smith, her dolls and angels, at 29 Eldon St.; and Robin Chandler, mixed media at 2 Holden St.

The deeply felt loss by the passing of sculptor Joseph Wheelwright, the managing partner and guiding spirit of the Humphrey St. Studios, may account for that venue’s not participating in Open Studios this year.

One feature that makes Dorchester’s event unique among the city’s many Open Studios weekends is the inclusion of the Boston Home (2049 Dorchester Ave.), a long-term care facility, as yet another group site. Here some 32 watercolorists will demonstrate that they have overcome significant paraplegia or quadriplegia to become dedicated and skilled artists.

For updated information and details on Friday’s opening reception and Sunday’s closing reception, visit dorhesterartscollaborative.org.

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