This weekend, November 10 and 11, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Fenway Studios, a National Historic Landmark and the oldest purpose-built structure in the country designed solely as artist studios, hosts “Fenway Studios Open Studios Weekend.” Work ranging from abstract expressionism to post-modern realism is available; whether you’re a major collector or someone looking for a special gift or unique stocking stuffers or cards to adorn your gifts (all worthy of frames in their own right) — or you’re just interested in seeing a strong cross-section of locally-created art in the space where they’re made, the event promises to be visually and spiritually rewarding. If you attend, please bring a donation for its 10th Annual Food Drive to Benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank.
A few days prior to the event, Artscope managing editor Brian Goslow exchanged questions with Lynda McNally, the founding president of Friends of Fenway Studios and an open studios committee member of Fenway Studios, to discuss this year’s event, the history of Fenway Studios, the artists based there and the celebration of its 10th annual Food Drive for the Greater Boston Food Bank, in which artists and art lovers help the less fortunate in our community during a time of year that food donations are needed most.
HOW ARE PREPARATIONS GOING FOR THIS YEAR’S FENWAY STUDIOS OPEN STUDIOS?
My fellow Open Studios Committee (OSC) members and I begin planning for the, ‘Fenway Studios Open Studios Weekend Celebration,’ in January, for the annual November event — and we are very fortunate to have a dedicated group of committee members who have been volunteering for years, and although we always strive to have new and exciting elements introduced each year during our Open Studios event, we have a sound and strategic, ‘TO DO,’ list that we follow and are able to implement pretty smoothly, and in a timely fashion.
MANY, IF NOT ALL, OF YOUR ARTISTS USUALLY SHOW THEIR WORK IN A LARGE FORMAT AT GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS. TELL ME A BIT ABOUT THE ARTISTS WHO’LL BE SHARING THEIR WORLDS WITH THOSE WHO ATTEND AND THE ART THAT’LL BE ON VIEW AND AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE DURING OPEN STUDIOS…
I will try to sound as impartial as possible, but, I must express, the Fenway Studios artists are a gifted community of artists — and I have had the pleasure to work with many very talented artists throughout Boston, but, as you can see from the attached Fenway Studios invitation, the Fenway Studios artists are diverse, contemporary, traditional and skilled in their chosen medium — and they look forward to welcoming the public in to their studios/homes to share with all their guests what they are working on, and to enjoy conversations about what inspires them.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE ATTRACTED TO FENWAY OPEN STUDIOS?
Everyone who has a curiosity about history and architecture. For example, Fenway Studios was constructed in 1905, modeled after Parisian art studios, it is the only purpose-built building in the entire United States still used with its original intent, which was that it was designed specifically to provide optimum work and living space exclusively for visual artists. Also, everyone who loves art and culture, and who enjoys meeting artists who are dedicated to their craft and are happy to talk about what inspires them, while engaging in conversations about art and culture as a whole, and how important it is for it to be a part of one’s life in some capacity. Further, the Open Studios Weekend Celebration at Fenway Studios is a wonderful way to interact and socialize in a beautiful and historic setting with artists, friends, family, and new friends.
ARE YOU ABLE TO ATTRACT RESIDENTS OF THE FENWAY NEIGHBORHOOD THAT MIGHT OTHERWISE NOT ATTEND GALLERY EVENTS?
Fenway Studios welcomes everyone to join in our Open Studios Weekend Celebration, and we are especially thrilled when we see and meet our community neighbors and provide an opportunity to meet professional artists and view their impressive work.
HOW MUCH DOES THE VENUE AND ITS LONG HISTORY CONTRIBUTE TO THE SPECIALNESS OF THE EVENT?
All the Fenway Studios artists — present day, and founding members — all demonstrate a deep connection to their community, and that is why the Fenway Studios artists look forward to this annual event, and take much joy in having neighbors, new visitors, family and friends participate in Open Studios. They not only take pleasure in sharing with the public the passion of their work, but, they love having the public visit this magnificent National Historic Landmark, so they can see how perfectly Fenway Studios provides an environment in which they can create.
THIS IS THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR FOOD DRIVE FOR THE GREATER BOSTON FOOD BANK. HOW DID IT START AND WHO BENEFITS FROM THE DONATIONS?
It was a decade ago that I suggested the idea of a food drive to my fellow OSC members, and then to all the Fenway Studios artists, after learning that it is during the onset of the holiday season when the Greater Boston Food Bank’s (GBFB) food inventory becomes depleted most rapidly, I suggested we host a food drive during our Open Studios Weekend Celebration — and immediately, they all agreed; and since then, in addition to the efforts of our OSC, each Fenway Studios artist has been promoting our annual food drive via their respective websites and event emails.
ALL food donations we collect are happily given to the GBFB — and this year, in celebration of our 10th annual food drive, I reached out to our neighbor down the street, The Lansdowne Pub, and asked if they would like to help spotlight the food drive and without hesitation they said, ‘Yes!’ So, anyone who brings a non-perishable food donation will receive a ‘thank you’ coupon which will provide a complimentary appetizer with the purchase of your entrée at The Lansdowne Pub.
HOW DOES SOMEONE ATTENDING FENWAY OPEN STUDIOS CONTRIBUTE? This link will list non-perishable food items that the GBFB welcomes most: http://www.fenwaystudios.org/pdf/BestFoodsToDonateToYourFoodDrive.pdf
DO THE PARTICIPATING ARTISTS USUALLY HELP OUT WITH THE FOOD DRIVE AS WELL?
Yes, right from the beginning, the Fenway Studios artists were committed to host a food drive, they all were very happy at the thought of helping those in need, and the artists themselves donate food items in addition to promoting the food drive on their websites and via their Open Studios promotional emails — you could say that the Fenway Studios artists know that a picture is worth 1000 words, but, they also know that actions speak louder than words, and that is why, for a decade, they have always taken action to support and promote the our annual food drive to benefit the GBFB,
(Fenway Studios Open Studios takes place this Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fenway Studios, 30 Ipswich St., Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, visit fenwaystudios.org.)