Spotlight’s on visual art in weekend’s Open Studios

Dorchester Open Studios: April Clay is one of several artists exhibiting at the Walter Baker Artists Lofts in Lower Mills this weekend. Image courtesy DACDorchester Open Studios: April Clay is one of several artists exhibiting at the Walter Baker Artists Lofts in Lower Mills this weekend. Image courtesy DAC
This weekend the new board of the Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC) is opening several new venues and tweaking some old traditions during the 2013 Dorchester Open Studios (DOS), which showcase the creative spirit of the visual and performing artists of the city’s largest neighborhood. All 15 sites will be open noon to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday (October 19 and 20) during this 12th annual DOS.

“This year’s Dorchester Open Studios promises to be one of the best we’ve seen in many years. We’re excited at the opportunity of having several new sites exhibit the works of local artists,” says J. Gustavo, DAC Board President. “My commitment to the success of Open Studios and Dorchester artists is but a simple representation of Dot pride and community collaboration that is expressed across our entire board of directors.”

Hopefully you saved the four-page color insert from last week’s Reporter, which featured the lively DOS 2013 guide map (otherwise, download it from the DAC site). Created by Dot’s own Frank Marval, the graphic designer who also did the DOS banners, the map pinpoints galleries/ venues and public art/historic sites all over Dorchester. It also has the shuttle routes as well as photos of all sites.

Wherever you live, it should be easy to find art nearby because this year’s DOS is spread very widely. Among the four new venues are the outdoor pop-up market in the bank parking lot near the Strand and some home galleries.

Well over 100 artists in every imaginable medium will be welcoming visitors. A few folks will exhibit at more than one location; for example, Susie Smith will have her elaborate Afro-American angel dolls both at her home studio on Eldon Street and at DAC’s home, the Erick Jean Center for the Arts (EJCA) in Four Corners.

The classic Open Studios experience involves popping in on artists, right where they make their art. The Humphrey Street Studios (outside Uphams Corner) offers Dot’s best one-stop, dirty-fingernails experience, where you can really poke around in the actual workspaces where 32 artists use all kinds of cool tools to transform canvas, wood, metal, paper and stone into surprising sculptures, paintings, hand-carved signs, and furniture.

This year DAC is bringing back free shuttle service in white vans which will circle through two routes from 12-5p.m. on both days. The two loops intersect at First Parish Church (traditionally the DOS group-show home base), which will serve as a transfer point.  Loop “A” (North) connects Humphreys St. Studios, Upham’s Corner ArtPlace, Pearl St. Studios, First Parish Church, EJCA and back. Loop “Z”(South) connects First Parish Church, Howard Art Project, Ashmont Station, The Real Estate Group, The Boston Home, and the Walter Baker Lofts.

Friday Night Cabaret and Opening Reception

The traditional free Friday night cabaret will be combined with the opening reception as a variety of Dot performers entertain at the Codman Square Black Box theatre, entered from the lower rear entrance of the Great Hall. The eclectic program ranges from self-taught pianist Kenny Pierre, reggae musicians Jahriffe and the JAH-N-I Roots Band, and singer/songwriter Bethel Steele, to Dot’s own Boston Tap Company and spoken word artist Stephen Alkins. In the theater lobby look for one or two pieces by many of the artists showing this year.

Last minute changes (including cancellations of Graveyard Poetry Reading and Artmobile visit to Uphams Corners) may be found at


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