Open Studios: Vernon Street

A couple of years ago, my family came into town for Somerville Open Studios and we headed down to the Vernon Street Studios to check them out. We loved the sprawling building with artists around every corner and in every nook and cranny. There’s such a diversity of people showing their craft at Vernon Street, you might see a photographer in one room, a fine arts painter in the next and a puppeteer down the hall. It really gives you a lot of bang for your buck!

On the first floor, we followed Mara Brod’s photographs down the hall to her tiny studio where we had the pleasure of talking to the artist about her work. She spoke passionately about using a large-format camera and a new idea she has about how to display and package her photos.

I really liked these images, which were quite small and surrounded by a lot of matte. They really made you lean in close to see what the photo was all about and acted almost like a porthole or small window into another world.

Mara told us about a puppeteer on the second floor that we absolutely could not miss, so we headed there next. After winding through some hallways, we met Faye Dupras and became totally enchanted with her puppet creations. Faye’s work is whimsy of the highest order.

Faye moved to Somerville last year and says that so far, the city has presented itself to her so well and so quickly. She said she was really enjoying the community.

A few years ago when I visited the Vernon Street Studios, I saw some art about Somerville that I absolutely loved. I’ve been kicking myself ever since for not buying any of it, but I was lucky enough to find the artist again this year and was able to purchase one her pieces. Suzanne Lubeck does painting, encaustic mixed media and sculpture and jewelry.

She has a wealth of knowledge about Somerville and its history and I really enjoyed learning more about it from her. I loved her representations of the different hills around Somerville, which were what caught my eye originally a few years ago.

After leaving Suzanne, we found James Weinberg, who we’ve purchased art from in the past. He showed us what he’s been working on lately, like a CD booklet, wedding invitations and some nifty business cards.

Other art that caught my eye …

In addition to the art at Vernon Street, the building itself is incredibly interesting …

Photos by Mike Swartz

Did you attend Open Studios? What was your favorite part? What did you buy?

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