On April 6 and 7, the first beautiful weekend of the spring season, the city of Newton, Massachusetts, hosted their annual Newton Open Studios event. Now in its 22nd year, the event brought in over 150 artists showing and selling their work at 45 locations across the city. Host locations included the Newton City Hall, First Baptist Church in Newton Centre and various studios and homes, sharing spaces and showing their dedication their community. These locations, many of which are historic, were all marked by red balloons outside of the entrances. Beyond getting to know and explore the artists’ work, attendees were able to experience the love that Newton’s residents have for their city. These pop up exhibits and sales showed the creativity the people of Newton have to bring to the Boston area.
Newton City Hall provided information about the event as you walked in the doors past the signifying red balloons. Newton Open Studios utilized both floors, accessible by stairs or elevator and a map was presented to guests with an exhibitors list so they could easily find where each of the 21 artists were located. Six of the artists were on the first floor, making for a quieter atmosphere, but the rest of the artists were located upstairs where many people were browsing and chatting with each other and the artists.
Naomi Platt’s paintings were located right in the center of the main hallway of City Hall. The large display space made her paintings extra eye catching. She works with watercolors, acrylics, pastels and mixed media mediums in creating portraits and landscapes. Her portraits often incorporate dance as well as close up views of women’s faces. Some of her acrylic paintings have contrasting like bright purples and yellows with bold lines, while some of the watercolor paintings have similar colors with light lines. The differences in her paintings showed the multiple skills Platt brought to NOS.
First Baptist Church in Newton Centre was another popular stop for visitors due to its busy location, where children and families also enjoyed the lively atmosphere. Zeina Kahhale organized the space, making sure that the atmosphere was exciting and fun as people snacked and enjoyed the music in the background. The weather was warm and pleasant, but going inside the church where eight artists had their work set up was just as wonderful.
The artists’ work there included watercolor paintings, photography, mixed media, mosaics, jewelry, wearable items and jewelry. Garrow Throop, whose photography and watercolor mixed media pieces were available in the church, spent time enriching attendees in the way photography and watercolors can be used together and also went around explaining the work of the other artists in the building.
Zeina Kahhale brought stoneware, acrylics, oil paintings and encaustics to NOS. Her encaustics fascinated the majority of the visitors interested in her work. Her encaustic paintings capture a genre that dates back to ancient times where Roman, Greek and Egyptian civilizations mainly painted portraits of icons and members of their families. Kahhale uses the hot beeswax mixed with color pigments to create colorful paintings of flowers, geometric shapes and landscapes. Her work also educates individuals who are unfamiliar with the intriguing ancient art of encaustic paintings.
All of the art showed how multifaceted creativity in a city can be; the methods and materials vary, but all of the artists’ interest in making and sharing their work unifies the residents. Newton Open Studios demonstrates the communal energy one city has for the arts just by getting together and sharing their work with each other and the public.
(Artscope Magazine is proud to be a sponsor of Newton Open Studios; for more information on the organization behind the event, visit newtonopenstudios.org.)