Posted on : 09/01/2015 12:19pm
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Shalyn Chamberland, a new artist at Indian Orchard Mills, is among the more than 50 artisans who will participate in the Open Studios, Art Show & Sale there Nov. 10 and 11. (Submitted)
More than 50 artisans will be featured at Indian Orchard Mills Open Studios, Art Show and Sale in Springfield on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, from noon to 4 p.m.
The fall event - which mill owner Charles Brush says marks 25 years for the open studios at 34 Front St. - is the largest of the season for the historic 300,000-square-foot arts and industrial complex that is home to 130 tenants and sits between the Chicopee River and a canal in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield.
It attracts between 600 and 1,000 visitors over the two-day period to what is billed as Springfield's largest colony of artists and has become a popular place for holiday shopping with offerings ranging from handmade jewelry to re-purposed furniture to sculpted forms of art.
"Open Studios attracts many new guests to each show while continuing to peak the curiosity of our core audience," Brush said.
"Overall, we find that our guests are surprised at the magnitude of the event. The offerings are plentiful and diverse."
He added, "Most recently, some of the manufacturing tenants have shown interest in participating in Open Studios. They range from wood workers to museum exhibit manufacturers to fishing lures."
"In all, the show has evolved from a few visual artists, to an art-industry showcase of a wildly creative community," Brush said.
Visitors can stroll through two buildings of the mill complex to visit the studios of the various participating artists - glassblowers, paper makers, weavers and potters among others - to see and discuss their work and place custom orders as well purchase on site.
"The original open studios concept was the idea of a small group of artists who thought it would be nice to invite the public in to their private studios once a year on a Friday evening in May. There were only about 10 artists on the complex at the time," Brush recalled.
"Over the next couple years, as word traveled that Indian Orchard Mills offered creative space for artists, their numbers soared to 28. All the studios were located in building No. 4 at the time. In 1999, the May Open Studios event attracted over 1,000 guests in the short three-hour period. It was at this point we decided to expand the event to a two-day period including both Friday evening and Saturday."
He added, "Demand for studios increased to the point where we actually had a waiting list of artists who wanted space."
"We decided to expand studio offerings in building No. 2 and artists came in droves. The complex, which had always had a primary focus on providing space for small manufacturing and start-ups, started to evolve into an art-industry mecca. As the number of artists grew, the group decided to expand Open Studios to both a spring and fall show. Artists on the complex now number at more than 60."
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