City Wide Open Studios 2010

Artspace's 13th City-Wide Open Studios – from a few angles.

Loving New Haven and Open Studios

Where can you run into your high school art teacher & that stenographer you never wanted to see again? Where can you meet artists who’ve never exhibited beside artists who have shown things internationally? Where can you wander back home,  then stumble upon a swingset art installation in the lot on the way back to your bicycle? Only at an annual event called citywide open studios, hosted by Artspace, which expands the first weeks of autumn into three weekends of learning, seeing, sharing, and exploring. I asked 6 people and one artwork at Opening Night what they love about New Haven & what they love about City Wide Open Studios

Meg Herlihy


The cultural diversity. Here we have more art and music than anywhere else in Connecticut. It has the best scene.


Once a year the community comes together, it is open to lots of people, and representative of the diversity of scenes. It allows you to reconnect with people you wouldn’t see otherwise, it’s a good networking event, open to any age group, young kids, old people.

Ryan Cyr


We are close to the wilderness—15 minutes in any direction to the beach or the woods. But there is enough city action to also be satisfying.


Sharks and germs.

Danielle DeSanti Davis


It’s eclectic and down to earth.


It brings together a bunch of artists in one place, there is good energy. It’s a good place to get creatively inspired and excited about making things.

Detail from Ilona Anderson‘s Dwell


The interiors and their acceptance of colorful faux bois tree house art.


It’s a great make-out spot. All the exposure to artwork makes me want to reproduce.

Jennifer Stockwell




Helen Kauder, I can’t believe I’m saying that, I’m so glad she’s back.

Jason Bischoff-Wurstle


It’s small & large at the very same time.


They throw a great party every year, it opens up community at the right time & in the right season.
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Mary Dwyer


The mix of people and it’s history are why I love New Haven.


I love the democracy of open studios—not curated, just original.

Thanks to everyone who answered these questions! Please join the conversation and tell us why YOU love New Haven & Open Studios. We’ll be sharing your thoughts and pictures here and on the facebook, but we can’t talk to everyone! Take a photograph of yourself or a friend,  or a favorite artwork and tell us why (or they, or it) you loves New Haven & Open Studios.  You can e-mail your pictures to cwospics (at), or you can tweet them to @ArtspaceNH with the hashtag #CWOS.  One lucky photographer will win a CWOS tote bag!

Let’s share love for this place & the art that happens here!

(P.S. I’m fairly certain Open Studios loves you back!)

Your friendly inquisitor, Beth Anne Royer lives in a city, works in a city, and spends a lot of time thinking about why they do & don’t work.  She loves New Haven because she fell in love there once, and it will forever be all romantical to her in autumn for this reason.

Beth loves open studios because it is unexpected, and she loves being astounded, surprised, excited, and otherwise engaged in the world and art is good at doing these things.


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the very first CWOS Bike Tour

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Thanking the greeks, and the fir trees and the pigments

Encaustic painting dates back to the ancient Greeks, when shipbuilders used wax to fill cracks in their ships. Sometime thereafter pigment was added to the wax, and repairs became restorative & decorative. Soon the art moved from ship’s hulls to other surfaces. Some encaustic paintings from AD 100-125 survive, depicting bust and head portraits set into mummy casings in Greco-Roman Egypt. Beeswax was used in many ways in this era—even as a kind of dry-erase board for conveying messages. So how do we travel from ancient Greece to the city of New Haven?

This year’s open studios features a variety of artist’s talks and demonstrations, and on Saturday, Maria Lara-Whelpley, an artist with a space in Erector Square provided a demonstration of the technique we can thank the Greeks & the bees & even pine trees for making possible. I’ve always admired the way that encaustic artworks I’ve seen seem soaked in a softness & semi-transparency. Maria Lara-Whelpley describes the feeling of looking at images created with encaustic techniques as akin to “looking through a semi-sheer curtain.”

If this combination of “bee sweat” or beeswax, damar varnish, (the crystallized sap of a fir tree) and pigment can create this surface seems like beautiful, ancient alchemy…well, it is.  But if one was also seeking an artform that might allow you to brandish a heat gun, a torch, and carving tools, as well as joint compound, well, you are also in the right place. One blessing of the modern age is that we can adapt the methods of the ancients, but order grade A beeswax over the internet from Illinois. Don’t say the future isn’t here. Don’t say heat guns aren’t awesome.

Lara-Whelpley demonstrated using the wax itself as a drawing surface that she carved into, imbued with pigments, and coated again with more wax. The wax used for painting sat upon a hotplate surface and was clear and shimmering. She also showed us a sheet of rice paper she’d printed on her home printer, which she affixed to the surface of a birch board treated with 3-4 coats of joint compound, which she praised for its roughness. Lara-Whelpley then built layers of wax over this paper. She also demonstrated methods for transferring photocopied images using the heat gun and wax.

You can mix oil paints with the encaustic medium as well, but it seems the ratios must remain at about 20% oil paint, 80% wax, otherwise the medium will not dry. I’d argue there is something magical and organic about the effect it gives, something that has always  drawn my eye into works done with it. At some point, Lara-Whelpley talked about the archeology of the work—and this seemed, to me, just the right word for the kind of patience and strangeness of the process. It was ancient and pensive, it was meticulous and forgiving, it and new and wonderful.

This isn’t the last demonstration of CWOS! Nor was it the first! Check out:

This year’s City-Wide Open Studios features more interactive demonstrations by artists, and the second weekend is no exception. On Saturday and Sunday, October 2 and 3, Artspace’s neighbor Project Storefronts will hold demonstrations in hooping, weaving, and reading knitting patterns from 1 pm – 4 pm at their 71 Orange Street location.

At Project Storefronts on Sunday, October 3, DETRITUS will host a chapbook-binding workshop from 3 pm – 4 pm; the event will be led by local authors Beth Anne Royer and Edgar Garcia. Also on Sunday, October 3, Creative Arts Workshop will host ongoing demonstrations in sculpture, painting, drawing, and printmaking from 12 pm – 5 pm at their 80 Audubon Street location.

Visitors can explore studios and demonstrations on their own, or participate in guided bike tours led by the Devil’s Gear beginning at 12:30 pm and leaving from their new location at 151 Orange Street, in the rear of the 360 State Street building. Studios will be open from 12 noon – 5 pm on both days, and a complete map and .pdf guide are available on the City-Wide Open Studios website

Related Resources:

A slideshow of the process:



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Congratulations, Martha!

Stephen Kobasa reviews new work by our Martha Lewis in the New Haven Independent!

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Back at Home!

Being back in New Haven at first made me nervous, I guess simply because I hadn’t been involved with this art scene for a while since I have been away at school. Though I was welcomed with open arms as always. “Art is a part of our culture here in New Haven, it distinguishes us from any other city,” says John Destefano, Mayor of New Haven. New Haven is the home of hundreds of artists of all ages and City Wide Open Studios is the place where we can all see and share. Greeted by many familiar faces during the opening event at Artspace for City Wide Open Studios, and I was quickly reminded of why City Wide Open Studios is my home. In 2006, I signed up to participate in City Wide Open Studios during the fall semester of my 2nd year in undergrad. I was prepared to just show some things I had been working on in my studio classes as a Art Ed major. The response to my work and my ideas was amazing. The community of artists and art lovers embraced me as an artist. By the end of that week after my return to Boston, I was officially a painting major. It all started at City Wide Open Studios 2006. It gave me a warm feeling to be in the mist of City Wide Open Studios 2010, with the crowd of people with creativity at heart.

I am excited to studio hop today at Erector Square!

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cwos opening event!!

we showed up with Critical Mass in tow! 175 bikers !!

the opening was great , nice work everyone!!

i will post some pics soon!

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Tinkering with the Toolbox

We’re always pleased to make the artist’s toolbox available as part of City-Wide Open Studios.  Right now, we’re updating it to include invites for September 25-26, October 2-3, October 2 only, October 9-10, and October 9 only.  Stay tuned!

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Introducing our bloggers.

This year’s City-Wide Open Studios is bursting with energy.  Over 200 artists are opening their studio doors — or exhibiting at our Alternative Space.  They’ll also be giving lots of demonstrations and artist talks, too.  We’re also hosting some exciting events, like our Festival Kick-Off on September 24 and the first Underground of the school year!

In keeping with the collaborative spirit of City-Wide Open Studios, we’ve asked a few of our friends to blog about their experiences.  Some are opening their doors, some are coming home, some are cycling through it, and some are exploring all that New Haven’s rich artist community has to offer. Without further ado, allow us to introduce:

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Introducing our blog.

Over the past twelve years, City-Wide Open Studios (CWOS) has drawn thousands of visitors to explore New Haven’s neighborhoods while discovering artists, galleries, and the treasures of our city.

City-Wide Open Studios celebrates contemporary art in all its myriad forms, and is undoubtedly Connecticut’s leading visual arts event. Art dealers and curators from the region and beyond have used CWOS as a resource to discover new artists, plan upcoming shows, and buy art. As one of the largest open studios programs in the country, CWOS connects hundreds of local artists with the greater New Haven community — and beyond.

City-Wide Open Studios is a program of Artspace, a Connecticut non-profit organization presenting local and national visual art, providing access, excellence, and education for the benefit of the public and the arts community.

This year’s City-Wide Open Studios promises more interactive demonstrations, exciting events, and the return of the Alternative Space!  And in the true spirit of openness and collaboration, we’ve asked a few of our friends to blog about their City-Wide Open Studios experiences.  Stay tuned for the introductions.

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Opening weekend!

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