Open Studios 2023: Somerville's Joy Street & Brickbottom Expo

Photo: Jay Willett / WBZ NewsRadio

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Open Studios is a time for more than 80 artists from the Brickbottom Artists Association and Joy Street Studios to open their workshop doors for the public to peer inside.

WBZ's Jay Willett spoke to Jason Polins, an artist and educator who has spent 18 years with JSS in his space.

"We get to open up our doors, people come in and sort of experience what the creative vision of different people is," Polins said. His space is full of student work, sculptures, and stoic statues with clown noses atop of them to poke fun at their seriousness. The art acts as inspiration to his students, who have taken to incorporate the clown noses in their own work.

Surreal works from Alexandra Rozenman inspire themes of illusion and displacement, with one piece in particular, "Blind Date with Edward Hopper," paying homage to "Nighthawk," with a more Russian influence.

"[Open Studios] happens twice a year, but the one that happens right before Thanksgiving is the one that happens in Brickbottom and JSS," Rozenman said.

Sebastian Rizzon of the Zen Art Center teaches meditation every month to his students, and offered a few recommendations to those looking to take a breath and take a break from the hustle and bustle of our brains.

"You can get into a meditative state just by focusing on whatever activity you're doing. You can use that to reach a flow state, and by that point, you're not going to be thinking about anything— you're going to be thinking on the work that you're doing," Rizzon said.

Artists from JSS say they have started a petition to write down a contract with new building owners to secure their future in the building.

"We are kind of in danger. Their vision of the neighborhood is to create biotech, and that's great— but where do we go?" Polins said.

Polins went on to say that JSS has a committee that speaks with owners on regular basis. While there's no plan for artists to leave, those who sign the petition want to put words in writing to keep the JSS in house.

WBZ's Jay Willett (@JayWillettWBZ) reports.

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