Cambridge Open Art Studio Hosts Launch Party

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Cambridge Open Art Studio Hosts Launch Party

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By Brittany Mendez, news correspondent

Last Thursday evening, artists showcased a variety of works, from photography and multi-dimensional art to clothing prototypes at the Kathryn Schultz Gallery for the Cambridge Open Art Studio launch party.

The preview kicked off a weekend-long event which showcased over 150 artists in 64 locations around Cambridge. Organization director Julie Barry told The News that The Cambridge Art Council has organized the annual show for the past ten years. However she emphasized that the show existed long before their management.

“Most of the artists tend to come to us, but we try to do outreach as much as we can,” Barry said. “One of our challenges is that we focus on Cambridge-based artists, so we look for people who are based in Cambridge, either living, working or have a studio here. We try to support local.”

Erin Becker of the Cambridge Arts Association has served on the Advisory Board for Cambridge Open Studios for six years and helps organize events like this one. Her primary role is to guide talented artists in taking the next step in their career.

Artist Deborah Peeples displayed a piece titled “Hum” created by building up layers of molten pigmented wax then scraping back layers to expose the older wax. This process creates the effect of old and new layers simultaneously visible to the viewer.

“I’m interested in what is exposed and what we protect in ourselves and what we show others and how we present ourselves in the world,” Peeples said. “For me, the process mirrors that interest.”

Artists, organizers and attendees were excited to speak to the man behind the camera of a close-up photograph of President Obama. Derrick Z. Jackson, the photographer of “Contemplation,” captured the former president, then candidate, in a meeting with the National Association of Black Journalists in Las Vegas during the summer of 2007.

“You don’t get get too many close-ups of a presidential candidate like that,”  Jackson said. “He was listening to a question and listening to it really thoughtful[ly] with a moment, a split second of serenity that was actually a significant piece of his presidency.”

Another photographer, Linda Haas, displayed a photograph she captured of three Turkish women dressed in traditional Muslim clothing, laughing after a long day of picking grapes.

“I actually love this picture, I feel like it captures the three women in a sweet and natural moment. It’s three women who are clearly wearing clothes that identify them as Muslims,”  Haas said. She pointed out that people tend to stereotype women in Muslim clothing in today’s society.

The next major event hosted by the Cambridge Art Council will be the River Festival, which takes place the first Saturday of June. The festival will showcase visual art, dance, music, theater, arts vendors and food along the Charles River.