Somerville is home to about 400 artists who work and/or live in the city. And this weekend’s Somerville Open Studios is their chance to show off the incredible work they produce here.
I’ve been attending Somerville Open Studios for years and it’s still one of my very favorite weekends of the year. While it’s wonderful, Somerville Open Studios can be intimidating to experience for the first time, so I’ve created a guide for how to make the most of it without burning out.
Somerville artist James Weinberg at Vernon Street Studios in 2012.
Beyond the Pattern: The Art in Fashion Show
Thursday, April 30, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave.)
Free; doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Somerville Open Studios Preview
Friday, May 1, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
75 artists throughout the city provide a sneak peek
Somerville Open Studios
Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, noon- 6 p.m.
400 artists exhibiting at 108 locations throughout Somerville
There are tons of other events happening throughout Somerville Open Studios weekend and you can find a full listing of them on our calendar.
Union Press during Somerville Open Studios 2013.
How to do Somerville Open Studios Like a Pro
Pick up a Somerville Open Studios brochure/map. This is your lifeline to the weekend, so it’s critical to snag one from the many brightly colored stands dotting the city. It has a pull-out map with all of the participating artists’ locations and key details about the weekend you won’t want to miss.
Pick an area and stick to it. Somerville Open Studios is a huge event that takes place across the entire city. It may seem like a good idea to try to see everything, but that will only lead to burn out. Pick a few places to spend your time so you can truly enjoy the art and conversation with the artists.
Wander. It’s really fun to hit up the big Somerville studios like Vernon Street and Brickbottom, but many of the artists exhibiting are working out of smaller spaces or even their homes. Wandering down side streets can be a great way to discover artists and neighborhoods off the beaten path.
Susan Cheever’s loom at Mad Oyster Studios during Somerville Open Studios 2014.
Make a plan for getting around. Walking, biking and taking the free Somerville Open Studios trolley are your best bets for flexibility, easy travel and reducing stress. Driving is a possibility, but be prepared for traffic and little parking in many neighborhoods.
Come prepared. Wear sunscreen, drink a lot of water and wear comfortable shoes. Check the forecast and bring an umbrella or rain coat if it looks like you’ll need it. Being prepared for any scenario means you’ll have more time and energy for taking in the art.
Eat out and take breaks. The Somerville Open Studios brochure/map has some suggestions on where to dine out during the weekend (and the Beat has nearly three years of archives detailing Somerville’s dining scene). Support local, independent restaurants and shops while you’re out and about by grabbing lunch or dinner, coffee and a snack or maybe a Mother’s Day present.
Buy stuff. With that said, most of the art you’re going to see is for sale, so you should come prepared to purchase something if you really love it. I’ve bought many pieces large and small for my own home and as presents for people at Somerville Open Studios. I love them all so much because they were made by someone right here in my home city and because they remind me of past Open Studios weekends every time I look at them.
Somerville Open Studios at the Arts at the Armory in 2012.
A Look Back at Past Somerville Open Studios
2012 re-caps including stops at the Arts at the Armory, Fringe Union and Vernon Street as well as some items we purchased.
2013 re-cap with a link to the Facebook photo album we created for that year’s event.
2014 re-cap with a special look at Mad Oyster Studio in Gilman Square.