There’s a more robust than usual surge of excitement and anticipation surrounding the upcoming 25th Hull Artists-hosted Open Studios following cancellation of the event last year due to the pandemic.
The 2021 schedule calls for the participating studios to be open for the weekends of Aug. 7-8 and Sept. 18-19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thirty-one artists, including two from Cohasset and one from Scituate, will be displaying their paintings, prints, mixed media, pottery, jewelry, mosaics, and many other works of art.
The open studios are viewed as an opportunity for residents of Hull, the South Shore, and beyond to experience local art at its best and to connect with the artists in their home studios and at various community locations around town.
“Open Studios is the heart and soul of Hull Artists,” member Bill Smyth told The Hull Times. “It’s a [diverse group] that participates, reflecting a variety of talents and artistic abilities.”
This major summer event in Hull has proved to be a success for artists, visitors, and local businesses “who all benefit from the influx of local and visiting art patrons,” said well-known Hull photographer Bart Blumberg, a member of the planning committee for the event.
The vision of the original Hull Artists Studio Connection (now known as Hull Artists), founded in 1995 to promote local artists through the Open Studios concept, has remained ever since. It is in keeping with Hull Artists’ goal of promoting locally created fine-art and artisan crafts – and Hull, as a seaside arts destination. This regional artists’ association is comprised of more than 90 fine-artists, craft artisans, and patrons.
“It’s a good opportunity to interact with the public and to receive usually positive feedback,” Blumberg said. “When we display and sell our art in galleries, we don’t usually get to meet the buyer, which leaves many of us unfulfilled since we would like to know a little about [him or her] and how our art will be displayed or used.”
Artist Judeth Van Hamm normally participates in Open Studios, but not this year due to other commitments. In 1996, through The Hull Times, she invited fellow artists to meet in her home. From that initial gathering, the Open Studios idea was born.
“I have a huge sense of gratitude to all those involved with keeping the Open Studios alive over the years,” Van Hamm said. “This is a good way to get off the beaten path and visit neighborhoods with which we are not familiar. There’s a lot more to Hull than its main streets.”
Blumberg noted that the history of Hull has “long been intertwined with the arts, from poets and painters to opera singers. … More recently, Hull has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as an informal artist community.”
In 2016, Hull Artists was granted nonprofit, tax-exempt status. In May 2020, the group was awarded a matching grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to fund a feasibility study to potentially convert the long-vacant state-owned Department of Conservation Recreation police station on Nantasket Avenue into the Nantasket Center for the Arts.
“Once fulfilled, this dream of a community arts center would provide a permanent exhibition space, a year-round retail gallery, artist studios, and space for community programs providing art, cultural, and educational programming for youth and adults,” Blumberg said.
For full Open Studios details, including downloadable listings of participating artists and maps of their locations, visit hullartists.com. Information is also available at several Hull businesses, including the Hull Artists’ Gallery at 121 Nantasket Ave. Admission is free. This year’s official sponsors are the O’Brien family and Jake’s Seafood.
“We’re hoping and planning for a good turnout,” Blumberg said.