Artist Date: Western Ave Open Studios

I will be entirely honest: I look forward to attending at least one Open Studio event at the Western Ave Studios in Lowell, MA every year… but due to some recent health issues, I really wasn’t in the mood or frame of mind to visit the studios on Saturday afternoon.

I toyed with some excuses as to NOT visit the studios… then I felt guilty about even thinking about not going… so I set a time-limit: about two hours or until I feel unwell, whichever came first.

The Western Ave Studios are a massive complex of five floors and three buildings of artist studios, so we took the elevator to the 5th floor, planning on making our way down and, hopefully, running into some friends along the way.WAS.jpg

We step off the elevator and I am already thinking that this is going to be too much for me… and then I wander into the studio of an artist I had not met before. I was completely entranced by her work, absolutely loved the ideas behind a series she was working on and then we started talking and next thing I knew, I was sharing some postcards of my work with her and everything just changed inside of me: I was no longer thinking about how soon I could go home or how poorly I was feeling… I felt alive and excited about sharing with another artist about my work and listening to their ideas.

That one act of kindness from a fellow artist made all the difference for me that afternoon. And I encountered the same thing in several more studios that I wandered into: kindness, acceptance, sharing… and, healing.

I cannot stress enough the healing power of art on the mind and body.

A simple two-hour visit to a free open studio event benefited me more than I could ever have imagined. I had been feeling isolated as an artist lately and by going out and networking with other artists, I felt rejuvenated in regards to my work and excited about the connections I had made.

If you are in the Lowell, MA area, I highly recommend attending one of their monthly Open Studio events, you can check them out at: https://westernavenuestudios.com

WAS has more than 300 artists and there is absolutely something for everyone there. You can meet and talk to artists about their work, attend classes, lectures and sponsored events – one studio was advertising Handmade Book Classes and I immediately saw possibilities of utilizing this in my work, so looks like I will be checking that out soon!

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