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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Reminder: The Dorchester Open Studios

Dorchester Open Studios, presented by Mt. Washington Bank takes place on October 25 from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Organized by the all-volunteer Dorchester Arts Collaborative, this year’s event features the work of 100 artists in private studios and shared public spaces-14 locations in all-all over Dorchester. Sites include Baker Lofts, Dorchester Historical Society, Dorchester Kiln, Great Hall, Kit Clark, Humphreys Street Studios, Mt. Washington Bank, O’Brien’s Market, UMass Boston, as well as several private studios.

The highlights of 2003 will include the Elder Arts at Kit Clark (1500 Dorchester Avenue, Fields Corner). Over 25 artists from the Kit Clark Senior Art class, the Adult Day Health Program and the Uphams Corner Health Center’s Elder Service Plan are participating. A variety of art will be exhibited, ranging from folk art to fine art. According to Jon Schum, coordinator of the Adult Day Health program at Kit Clark, “Art may be the only way for some of the program participants who have speech or other impairments to creatively express themselves. The work will show that people, regardless of physical condition, still have the ability to produce vibrant and compelling art.”

At UMass Boston, Pearl Street, Arts of the Point, the Harbor Art Gallery, and the 5th floor of the Healey Library feature artists from Pearl Street Studios, who have been temporarily displaced by a renovation project. Seven artists will show their work in the lovely atrium space.

Pearl Street Studios, at 11 Pearl Street in Dorchester, is located in a quiet, residential neighborhood off Dorchester Avenue. Founded in 1984 by artist-owners Judith Brassard Brown and Larry Pryor, it is comprised of a Victorian house and two brick barns originally built as livery stables. The “barns” have provided working studios for twelve artists in eight studios working in a variety of media. This is Pearl Street’s 19th Annual Open Studios.

Until 2002, Pearl Street was the only studio opening its doors to the public on an annual basis. This year, Pearl Street artists are on view at UMass because it is in construction, undergoing a process of transformation. Owners Pryor and Brown are working to convert to six live/work spaces with many of the artists who have long been in residence taking ownership of the new units. Walter Baker Lofts (1231 Adams Street) with “Walter Baker” spelled out in 12-foot welded letters across the flat roof of its Federal-style exterior, Baker Lofts is a looming presence in Lower Mills.

In September the Walter Baker Building (the gem of the remaining Baker Chocolate Factory Complex sites) was resurrected as Walter Baker Lofts. This adaptive reuse of the administration building as thirteen moderate income artist live/work lofts was made possible by the joint efforts of the Department of Environmental Management, Historic Massachusetts, Inc., Keen Development Corporation, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

This year the building was honored with a Preservation Award by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and the artists in residence completed the installation of 60 artworks in the sky-lighted three-story Atrium Gallery. Humphreys Street Studios (11 Humphreys Street, Uphams Corner) is where nearly forty artists and artisans now work. The six buildings, joined in two contiguous clusters, are the site of the former Daloz Cleansers establishment (whose motto was said to be “We took the Back Bay to the cleaners”). Large and small studios contain painters, sculptors, woodworkers, mold-makers, inventors, and dreamers. There is an architecture office, a sign carving business, a gilding shop, and an iron shop. For open studios the lobby of the mill building will also feature a number of works by invited guest artists.

The DAC has planned some other events to celebrate open studios. On Friday October 24 from 7:00 – 9:00pm at the Great Hall in Codman Square, there will be an opening reception, featuring a sampling of visual art plus entertainment and food. Free and open to the public. Also on October 24 at 9:30pm, Tarbox Ramblers bring their edgy prewar blues-influenced music to the Emerald Isle in Fields Corner, $3 cover. And on Saturday October 25 at 7:00pm Valerie Lawson and Elizabeth Doran host a poetry slam at the Emerald Isle. Suggested donation $4.

The Open Studios are free. Programs that include maps as well as information about the artists, will be available at various sites around Dorchester in October, as well as in the October 23 issue of The Dorchester Reporter. It will also be available online at www.DorchesterArtists.org. Most sites are accessible by T. There will be an information center, with maps and helpful volunteers at O’Briens Market, 1911B Dorchester Avenue, across from the Ashmont T stop. For more information, visit www.DorchesterArtists.org, write [email protected] or call 617-822-8205.