By Joey Phoenix
The 15th Annual Lydia Pinkham Open Studios takes place this weekend, November 20th and 21st from 10:00am – 5:00pm, offering 3 floors of more than 60 artists, makers, and food purveyors at the Historic Lydia Pinkham Building at 271 Western Ave in Lynn. This year, the organizers of Lydia Pinkham Open Studios have also teamed up once again with Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts at 590 Washington Street for a weekend of exciting programming downtown.
The Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts Campus highlights include a maker station with Brickyard Collaborative on Saturday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, entrance to Lynn Museum, artist Open Studios and gallery exhibits at Lynn Arts – including this year’s Members Only Showcase at The Galleries at Lynn Arts – and the Arts After Hours black box theatre.
Click here to view the full lineup of artists at Lydia Pinkham Open Studios and Here to see the list of programming from Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts. BONUS: Follow this link for a chance to win one of four $150 shopping sprees to spend this weekend (winners announced on Friday).
The event is free to the public and gives residents and visitors the opportunity to engage with artists, purchase their work, and discover the stories behind their latest creations. A trolley featuring live music will also run from downtown Lynn to the Lydia Pinkham building to make it easier for visitors to access both sites (Saturday only).
“Open studios is a fun way for people to meet the artist/maker behind the pieces that hopefully will be part of your everyday life,” said Tim Hansen (he/him/his) owner and artist at Digs Enamels, a fine art and enameling studio located at Room 313C.
“Open Studios is a special glimpse into how the artist works, peek behind the curtain of the art you have on your wall, you’re able to see from the artist’s perspective,” said Meg Nichols (she/her/hers), owner and artist behind m.ink studios next door to Digs Enamels in Room 314C.
Meg is a hand lettering artist, designer, muralist, and traditional sign painter available for commission. For this year’s open studios, her first in the building, Meg plans to demo her hand lettering and gold leaf glass gilding in addition to selling stickers and prints of her work.
“What I do is often so private, and it’s cool to be able to share it with people who are interested in what I do, people who aren’t already in the building walking by me every day,” she added.
17 Years of Clay, 15 Years of Open Studios
Lydia Pinkham Open Studios started as a small event in The Clay School in 2005. Led by Clay School owner, educator, and working ceramicist Kirsten Bassion (she/her/hers), open studios were a pivotal way to bring the public into artists’ spaces, and offer a glimpse into the worlds they create. Over the last 16 years (17 for the Clay School), this mission has evolved beyond The Clay School into not just the Lydia Pinkham building, but to all of Lynn itself.
“My original dream when I started growing Open Studios from The Clay School outward was to be able to bring this concept to the whole city of Lynn, highlighting all the creativity going on in the city,” said Bassion.”Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long and healthy relationship between all the art departments in Lynn.”
“What I’m most excited about is that Open Studios is back and Lynn Arts is able to participate fully,” said Doneeca Thurston (she/her/hers), Director of Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts. “We’ve had a lot of folks move into the building over the past two and a half years that people haven’t been able to see and experience yet.”
Recovering a Missing Year of Open Studios
While last year the anticipated annual open studios event had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the working artists and organizers behind open studios are incredibly excited about what this year will bring.
“When I moved my studio to the Lydia Pinkham building in December 2019, part of the appeal to choose that particular location was the artistic community and the annual open studio event,” said Bobbie Bush (she/her/hers), a professional portrait artist specializing in fine photographic portraits and custom painted portrait commissions located in Room 112. I was so looking forward to being settled in my new space in advance of the anticipated 2020 event, which unfortunately never happened due to the pandemic.
“Now in 2021, I am more excited than ever to welcome the public into my studio and share the newest painting commissions I am creating for clients! I have been preparing for the Lydia Pinkham Open Studios for the past few months,” she added.
“Last year, in the middle of COVID, the building manager told us that we weren’t allowed to bring 2,000 people into the building, which made complete sense,” Bassion added. “So we had the choice to either turn it into an online event or just pause for the year.”
Because of the nature of open studios, namely visitors being invited into the space to see artists in action, the organizers ultimately decided to hold off until 2021, and focus on making this year better, bigger, and more interactive than ever before.
“We’re starting to see a real thirst for these activities, for seeing artists in action and being inside these places, feeling the energy of the artists and everything that they’ve been doing,” said Bassion. “Because we’ve now had two years to create, and no audience, I think the artists are really thrilled to be out there. They’re gonna have some really fantastic work to show and sell.”
“And unlike a lot of bigger department stores, we don’t have a supply chain problem,” she included with a laugh.
5 Ways to Shop Small, Support Local at This Year’s Lydia Pinkham Open Studios
Open Studios is an experience that everyone can participate in. It’s so much more than just viewing 2D fine art, it’s a whole package. Here are some ways that visitors can make the most of this year’s city wide Lynn arts event.
1 – See Local Artists and Makers in Action (and make some art of your own!)
One of the biggest draws for attendees of Open Studios every year is the chance to view artists in action. Working artists in studios at Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts and the Lydia Pinkham building will be opening their doors for the public to come in, ask questions, see art being made in real time, and buy some great work made by these artists. Some of the creative professionals represented at this year’s open studios include painters, photographers, tattoo artists, bakers, chefs, digital artists, traditional fine artists, muralists, sign makers, leatherworkers, and many more.
“At Open Studios you get to step into these artists’ worlds a little bit, you get to meet them and talk to them, and find out what their core inspirations are and what they’re working on,” said Bassion. “It’s an invaluable thing whether you’re just a curious art appreciator or a maker yourself and you want to be inspired and see where other people are taking a medium that you’re familiar with.”
In addition to watching art being made and meeting working artists, event attendees can also stop by Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts to create some art of their own. Brickyard Collaborative, a unique intersection of Maker Space, Innovation Incubator and STEM education based in Lynn, will be popping up in the Lynn Museum courtyard on Saturday from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
They’ll be offering several demos including t-shirt printing, woodworking, 3D printing, coding with Raspberry Pi, laser cutting, a working forge demonstration, and even a dog-tag printing machine on Saturday from 1-4pm.
2 – #EatLocal at Lynn-based restaurants
In the midst of enjoying art, making art, listening to music, and exploring downtown Lynn, Open Studios attendees are going to need snacks. There are two food stops inside the Lydia Pinkham building: Uncommon Feasts, a farm to table catering company who will be serving savory and sweet pies and pouring wine, and Luna Sweets, a boutique cake studio and sweets shop.
But those are only two of countless options in downtown Lynn. Check out the #StayLocal2021 Guide to Lynn, MA for a full list of dining, shopping, and cultural experiences.
3 – Ride the trolley and listen to local artists perform (Saturday only!)
Walking is great for your health, but with so much to see and do at this year’s open studios, having access to a Trolley that can take passengers from one open studios site to another is a pretty important asset. Plus, on this year’s trolley (running on Saturday only), attendees can listen to live music while they art hop.
The performance lineup includes Dave Simmons, Guitarist at 11:00am, John DiTomaso, ukuleleist at 12:15pm, Julie Dekas, flutist at 1:30pm, and Jozef Nadj, Violinist at 2:45pm.
There will be free parking for trolley riders at Lynn English High School at 50 Goodridge Street,
4 – #ShopLocal at Open Studios Artists Shops
With the holiday season quickly approaching, open studios is happening just in time for you to pick up gifts for everyone on your list. Click here to view the full lineup of artists at Lydia Pinkham Open Studios and Here to see the list of programming from Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts.
“We’re always looking for that special something this time of year, and I think oftentimes, people just go to what is easiest: ordering off of Amazon or going to a local department store. But [open studios] is a wonderful opportunity for folks to not only see the small businesses and entrepreneurs and creatives that we have in our community, but also to buy a small painting, a handmade soap, or an affordable and special gift will make somebody happy, but also supports a working artist here in the community,” said Doneeca Thurston.
5 – #StayLocal with unique Lynn cultural experiences
Open Studios isn’t just a time to see 2D fine artists in action, but it’s also an opportunity to explore and enjoy other cultural experiences that Lydia Pinkham Labs and downtown Lynn have to offer. This weekend you can take a yoga class, get a tattoo, enjoy dance performances, view a gallery of fine art, visit a world-class museum, and more.
“We look forward to Open Studios every year! It’s uplifting to see members of our community wandering through the building, with eyes wide open, in awe of the many talented folks who occupy our unique space,” said Sara Bailey (she/her/hers) and Shanel Anderson (she/her/hers), co-owners of Soul City Yoga. “The building is so special, and it is a pleasure to share the variety of incredible offerings with so many people who don’t necessarily know what goes on inside these walls. Open Studios gives this building a jolt of energy and life!”
Lydia Pinkham Open Studios is this weekend, November 20th and 21st from 10:00am – 5:00pm and is sponsored by Lynn cultural council, Lucia Lighting, RCG properties, and The Clay School. You can learn more about this year’s open studios at https://www.lydiapinkhamopenstudios.com/ and https://lynnmuseum.org/
Joey Phoenix (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist and the Director of Brand Strategy and Innovation at Creative Collective. As the resident storyteller and town crier, they encourage you to send story ideas, inspiration, or pictures of adorable critters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Collective’s 2021 #StayLocal Campaign
Initiative encourages community to shop small and support local small businesses this November and December
The approaching Holiday season is putting people in the shopping, eating, and drinking mood as small businesses across the North Shore are gearing up for the busiest time of the year. Following up the successful 2020 #StayLocal campaign, Creative Collective is launching #StayLocal2021, encouraging individuals to shop and support small this upcoming holiday season. Learn more.