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May 18, 2004

In This Issue:

Weekend 3 Highlights

The Art Experience: Unique, Diverse, Personal

Upcoming Issues of In The Studio

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Issue #10: Successes for Weekend 3; The Art Experience; and Upcoming Issues

An e-magazine published by Silicon Valley Open Studios.

  Weekend 3 Highlights

The third and final weekend of Open Studios 2004 brought art lovers out in San Mateo County.

   The Art Experience: Unique, Diverse, Personal

Few will argue that the Borders, Starbucks, and Targets of the nation have decreased our quality of life. But have we overlooked another essential component to a thriving economy?

  Preview of Upcoming In the Studio Issues

Now that Open Studios have ended, what will the In the Studio Magazine have to talk about? Lots!

Issue #10: Successes for Weekend 3; The Art Experience; and Upcoming Issues

Issue #9: Successes for Weekend 2; Weekend 3 Highlights; and Demonstrations

Issue #8: Successes for Weekend 1; Weekend 2 Highlights; and Demonstrations

Issue #7: Gala Opening for SVOS 2004; Highlights for Weekend 1; and Demonstrations

Issue #6: Serendipity by Design; Inspired Monotypes; and Digital Wonders

Issue #5: Fire, Noise & Punch; Watercolor Jungle; & Houses of Spirit

Issue #4: Step Into My Garden, Woman's Best Friend, and Coincidences

Issue #3: Girl Power, Layers of Paint, and Familiar Subjects

Issue #2: Figurative Art, Art in Transit, and Life on Three Levels

Issue #1: Jellyfish, Trinity Alps and Tranquility

Successes for Weekend 3

San Mateo's Art in the Park

By Angie Young

Art customers in the San Mateo Park
Art in the San Mateo Park San Mateo's Art in the Park

Top to bottom, left to right: Art enthusiasts appreciate the artwork on the outside decks of the Community Center; JoAnne Benson stands beside her work; and Simone Rauoux talks art with a patron.

These guys at San Mateo’s Silicon Valley Open Studios had it down right--thanks to Lise Poulsen, Kathy Wade and others who pitched in and made the event work. Collectively, the 25 artists created pieces made in the following media: oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor, photography, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, woodturning, gourds, and fiber arts. They came from all over the Bay Area, from Morgan Hill in the south to Marin County in the north. There was even one artist from New Mexico--Ronna Katz. Patrons could talk to them outside in the tea garden area or indoors and browse among dazzling displays. Lise had a floorplan with information on the 25 artists and their locations in a nice, easy-to-read layout.

Ken, a visitor from Morgan Hill, loved the wood-turned pieces by gifted artist Dewey Garrett. Despite his many achievements in designing and constructing awesome sculptural vessels, Dewey is such a humble man. Two of his fine pieces came home with me. Another woman from Sunnyvale loved talking to the artists and said this was the first Open Studios she’s ever visited.

Artist Jo Bee displayed whimsical paintings with UFOs and plein air roosters, selling some pieces. I noticed her quirky sense of humor, which is similar to mine, and we gabbed about stuff until I noticed I had 23 other artists to visit. What a shame. I wished I had two days to spend with these wonderful people. Next year, I plan to exhibit alongside them.

Joni and Mary Medrano set up their booth with red balloons, flowers and colorful tablecloths that attracted me to them and their artwork. Joni’s sense of humor grabbed a hold of me right away. Her acrylic paintings, “Midnight Snack” and “Plump Pear” were my favorites. I took “Plump Pear” home with me. The artist and I had something in common: we both love drawing cartoons in zany colors and in weird, goofy situations. I love Joni’s style.

I spoke with the two gourd artists at the site: Becky Black and Cyndee Newick. It was refreshing to see gourds exhibited in a fine art show; these talented ladies are dedicated to producing fabulous works of art and love to share their devotion to the craft with others.

Theresa Wayne sold an oil painting and prints of her landscapes; she was happy overall with the show and wants to come back next year. Marge Regan’s custom jewelry sold, and she told me she liked the location of this show. People who were out on a Sunday stroll in the park would stop by and talk to Marge, Theresa and the other artists. These conversations ended in a sale, commission work, or future networking opportunity for most of the participants at the Silicon Valley Open Studios tour in San Mateo’s Central Park.

Stories and Art Blend in Portola Valley

By Angie Young

Customers! Art!

Left to right: An art enthusiast surveys the artistic offerings; Kalani Engles poses with her creations.

Heading up the scenic roads in this mountainous region of Portola Valley made for an enjoyable and lovely Sunday drive in the countryside. Nestled in the peaks of this pristine, forest-like setting and geologists’ paradise is the Portola Valley Town Center, where seventeen local artists displayed their artwork for the public to see.

In the midst of horse stables, tennis courts, soccer fields, and gorgeous homes on such an idyllic backdrop, the Portola Valley artists spent two days at the soon-to-be demolished venue, talking to passers-by about their eclectic works. This is the last year for the Portola Valley Town Center, as they have to close its doors due to the seismic risks in the area. However, these dedicated artists have found another public venue in which to work and display their art in Redwood City.

Kalani Engles, a vibrant, youthful woman, paid personal attention to each visitor with her charming personality. Her amazing works astounded those who entered her studio, and she was engaged in a business transaction when I stepped inside. Two brilliant, eye-catching metal sculptures beckoned me to examine them closely, and I fell in love with them as well as with her other brightly colored abstract paintings. This seasoned artist has exhibited her work in galleries, museums, and other public venues nationwide. Her career is still going strong, and she is constantly creating new works to delight collectors, patrons, and artists alike.

Potter Sally Kunstadter, a long-time exhibitor with Silicon Valley Open Studios, sold several of her beautiful ceramic pieces. And oil painter Carol Wagner spoke with visitors about the themes of wildlife and domestic animals in her paintings.

The unique thing about the Portola Valley Artists’ open studios tour was seeing book authors next to artists selling their wares. These people were friendly and answered many questions and also took time with each visitor, which is nice to see among folks in a busy world.

The Art Experience: Unique, Diverse, Personal

By Kerri Lawnsby, Executive Director

A mother's day adv

On the left: Sweet but generic. On the right: A unique gift from a loving daughter.

Few will argue that the Borders, Starbucks, and Targets of the nation have decreased our quality of life. Truly, having these corporate entities in your neighborhood increases property values because they indicate a certain feeling of “we have arrived”—a sense of stability and familiarity that a national brand can bring to a community.

While we certainly see the advantages of embracing these sorts of businesses, we may, in the process, overlook another essential component to a thriving economy: Unique Experience.

Unique Experience is meeting the person who created your product, hearing the inspiration behind it, and learning how it was made. Let’s take the example of Mother’s Day. When deciding what to give my mother, the obvious choice was to send her flowers. I could have chosen the “French Countryside” bouquet, and with shipping and tax, it would have been around $100. Beautiful choice; but not unique, and not long-lasting.

Instead, I opted for a different path—a more special and less frequently taken path thereby conveying a unique expression of my love. Having just participated in Open Studios, I knew of a jewelry artisan from whose many handcrafted pieces, my mother could choose her very own gift. The artisan, Elisabeth Michel-Meyrueix, visited my home to show my mother her unique collection. For each piece, Elisabeth explained where she discovered the stones, gems or beads—“these are Moroccan”, “I found these in a little antique store in Paris”, “these beads I will not find again”, “I loved these stones, so beautiful, I knew I would find something to create with them.”

We knew Elisabeth was from France, and we later discovered that she taught history and geography there to high school students for many years. Her knowledge of stones, gems and beads was partially driven by her intense interest in world history and culture. The jewelry became more than something to wear—it became part of a shared experience that connected us to each other, and to the world. The unique necklace I bought my mother had carnelian crystals, vermeil stones, and gold beads from adornments purchased at an antique store in Paris. Presented to my mother in a gossamer pouch with satin ribbon tie, this was a very special gift indeed. The woman who nurtured and loved me over the past 35 years deserved nothing less. Cost: $125. Experience: priceless.

It is this kind of experience that nourishes us, and gives us a lasting value every time we retell the story of meeting the artist. Local artists connect us with our society, providing the colorful tapestry that unites us through shared experiences and diverse cultural reflections. Participating in this unique art experience is what makes us feel special and part of a larger vibrant community.

The unique experience artists and creators bring to a community was the topic of the recent Silicon Valley Arts Summit in San Jose. As I sat and listened to the keynote speakers and panelists over the course of two days, several themes emerged that I think are relevant for Silicon Valley citizens to consider:

A recent study by the California Arts Council supports these themes with facts. The study, “The Arts: A Competitive Advantage for California II”, powerfully illustrates that the arts are vital to the economic success of our society. The study shows that the arts are a vibrant, economic engine that:

In an economy driven by the technology sector, it is important for businesses and the community at large to realize that, as former NEA Chair, John Frohmeyer stated: "Creativity is the currency of the future". In many ways, the arts are the R&D of the creative ecosystem underpinning much of the Bay Area’s economic health and vibrancy. Silicon Valley has long been seen as the place where you can "make new things happen." It is where new ideas and creative expression are encouraged. It is also considered by many to be the creative capital of the world—the “think tank” where Macintosh, the World Wide Web and e-commerce were all conceived and launched; where companies that dominate world markets thrive; and where the largest percentage of venture capital is still invested.

The people working in these “think tanks” are creating the software and hardware infrastructure of our modern society. Their ingenuity is stimulated by creative experiences; by the sparks that fly when intelligent people interact; by the new ideas that arise from varied cultural encounters. The arts provide a release for these inventive minds, unlocking imagination and inspiring greatness in technological pursuits.

Moreover, Silicon Valley is a vibrant society where people find it rewarding to come together to celebrate, edify, and preserve our diversity. The arts are essential to this endeavor—they build cultural bridges, contribute to cross-cultural understanding, strengthen the association between identity and citizenship, and enhance our quality of life.

As this year’s Open Studios comes to a close, I urge you to continue connecting with your local artists. Support the creative fabric of our Bay Area society by spending a portion of your income with local artist merchants. The SVOS printed and online Artist Directory is a resource designed to help you find local artists all year long—phone or email them; they would love to hear from you. You would be surprised how many artists, like Elisabeth Michel-Meyrueix, would be happy to arrange a special visit to help you select art pieces for your home, yourself, and others.

As a non-profit arts organization, SVOS is working to develop ways to reach into the community, to meet you halfway, to tell you about our local artists and show you the outstanding creativity that lies in your midst. Become part of our circle—subscribe to In the Studio magazine, and let us bring you into the creative, artistic network of local artists that enriches the culture and diversity of our Silicon Valley community.

Upcoming Issues of In the Studio Magazine

By Kerri Lawnsby, Executive Director

Our staff at In the Studio Magazine is already working on informative articles for artists, emerging collectors, and art enthusiasts. Over the rest of the year, we will release monthly issues with articles for each of our audiences.

We hope you're as excited as we are about the upcoming issues of In the Studio Magazine. All we need is your subscription!

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