Arts & Culture Community Culture Maplewood South Orange

14th Annual SOMA Artists Studio Tour Brought Together Artists and Art Lovers

Dozens of local artists showcased their work at the 14th Annual South Orange Maplewood Artists Studio Tour. The Studio Tour, which took place on June 3rd and 4th, featured works from up-and-coming artists as well as established ones at 56 different venues. It was presented by the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs and 1978 Maplewood Arts Center.

The Tour was was free and open to the public. “It’s a bit like going to an art museum. You get to go out and see lots of different art; it’s a fun day,” said Ann Vollum, an artist, calligrapher and book seller whose work was displayed in The Baird’s first floor gallery.

Artists and art lovers alike benefitted from the event. “At the Studio Tour there’s no commission so you get them a bit cheaper than you would normally,” said Geralyn Robinson, owner of Geralyn’s Art Studio in Maplewood. “When you sell through a gallery, the artist loses the commission that’s charged by the gallery. But on this day, it’s all for the artist, and that’s the way it should be.”

From left to right: Erin Rogers Pickering, Geralyn Robinson, and Cornelia Wenokor at Geralyn’s Art Studio.

“It’s a fun energy,” remarked Erin Rogers Pickering, whose lively watercolors were on display at Geralyn’s Art Studio. “It gets you to try new things. You put all your stuff on a wall which gives you a different perspective of your art. A lot of times you just see your stuff in your studio and on your table, so when you get to put it all up, it gives the artist a different way of looking at their work. You get to see it from other people’s eyes.”

“It makes you want to work more because people are talking about your work,” said Evelyn Graves, an artist and exhibition designer at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center. “Most of us are sitting in our studios isolated from the rest of the world wondering ‘why are we really doing this?’ But when you do a studio tour like this, people come and look at your work and they like it or they appreciate it or they comment. It reinforces what you’re doing.”

Painter and board member of the Studio Tour Committee Cathleen McCoy Bristol expressed a similar sentiment. “Unlike an exhibit where you have one to three pieces in a show, this gives you an opportunity to bring out all your variation in your work and get feedback from the public. It serves as a springboard, it serves as encouragement, and it serves as a guide.”

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