Friday, October 8, 2010

Take a trek to Art Trek

Ceramic artist Shanie Stozek is opening her home studio on Carman Avenue to the public as part of Art Trek. This is her first year taking part in the annual studio tour that invites the public to open their eyes to the array of artistic talent in the area.

This annual studio tour is an open invitation to interact with artists in the community


Have you ever wondered what goes on inside an artist's studio? Art Trek '10, presented by the Fredericton Arts Alliance, is inviting you to find out.

Artists around the city will open their studio doors to the public the weekend of Oct. 16-17, giving people a glimpse into their work life.

"It's essentially the same format as previous years. A whole bunch of studios around the city open themselves up to have people come in and take a look at what's going on," says Katie FitzRandolph, president of the Fredericton Arts Alliance.

"What I'm pleased about this year is that it's much bigger. We've got way more artists and way more locations." If people have been on Art Trek before, she says, there are many reasons and locations to come again. "And if you haven't been in the past, it's a whole new world for you." FitzRandolph sees Art Trek as a way to bring members of the public and working artists together through a non-intimidating, friendly, accessible kind of event. "For the artists, they get a chance to show off what they do and get a chance to answer questions about their work and talk to members of the public, maybe even sell something," she says.

"For members of the public, it's a chance to walk into an art studio and see the kind of tools and equipment and various things that artists use to produce their craft, and to ask questions, maybe have a chance to see a work in progress." The atmosphere of Art Trek is much more casual than a gallery opening might be, she notes.

"I think people are intimidated by gallery openings, or just by galleries period. People don't see them as just another store where you can go in and browse," says FitzRandolph. "Here you have artists saying come into my studio. I'd like to welcome you in and show you what I'm doing, in essence. It's an open invitation to interact with people who are making art." She's pleased to note that this year there are three studio locations on the north side of the city and 12 different studios overall. In 2009, there were seven locations.

"Last year we had 28 separate artists and this year there are 37. And we've got a broader range of arts and crafts, too.

"We've got more ceramics, more jewelry, more textile as well. It's not quite so solidly painting. We've got a better cross section of the amazing amount of art that is being done in this city." One of the north side participants is ceramic artist Shanie Stozek. She's taking part in Art Trek for the first time this year.

"I had heard about it in previous years, but this time of year is kind of busy because it's getting towards Christmas and I was doing a lot more shows in previous years and couldn't handle the extra work it would take to open your house," she says.

This year she decided not to do as many shows, so the timing was perfect for her to take part in Art Trek. So far, the experience has been a wonderful one.

"It's really fabulous. The Arts Alliance does a lot of work. It's kind of a no-brainer because they do all of the advertising and all of the promoting. They set it up so you really can't say no," says Stozek.

"This is amazing for the artist." She will be sharing space in her home on Carman Avenue with artist Denise Rowe.

"She's a fabulous book binder and photographer, a woman extraordinaire really. She dabbles in clay and knitting," says Stozek, noting Rowe will have handmade books on display during Art Trek.

Stozek will be displaying her own collection of handmade pottery as well.

"I have two series right now. One is functional stoneware pottery with a white crackle glaze, with different textured borders of different colours," she says.

It is inspired by the food she likes to eat, as it includes everything from French traditional butter bowls to Asian-inspired chopstick bowls.

"The second line is the turquoise and brown. I just call it yummy because those are my two favourite colours and they meld together so perfectly and I've just been playing a lot with those two glazes in the last year-and-a-half or so, and just this summer with the Arts Alliance residency I designed new shapes, like triangular plates and rectangular platters," says Stozek.

"I'm really excited. I just launched them this summer and will have a lot more of those pieces at the opening." She hopes Art Trek will bring in an array of people, including those who might not go to an art gallery.

"You get to come into artists' homes and get a glimpse of what it's like to be an artist at home." Printmaker David Brewer is opening up his studio, Rabittown Press on Aberdeen Street, for the first time as part of Art Trek.

"I've been laying low the last few years and I thought it was a good time to lift my head up again," he says.

He expects painter Don Gould will also be on site during Art Trek, as he invited him to come and share the space that weekend.

"He's painting. With me, I've got a print shop downstairs and that's where I've been putting a lot of my effort lately," says Brewer.

"I've got several presses and I'm setting type and whatnot. Folks can expect to see a letter press operation, and there will be a freebie or two to walk away with.

"They get the chance to maybe print something ... and ask whatever questions they might want to." Maps showing the locations of the different Art Trek participants can be picked up at locations around the city. Locations include City Hall, The Charlotte Street Arts Centre and The Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

The event goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17. People are welcome to start wherever they wish and see as many galleries as they want.

"Some people will take a couple of hours and visit a couple of studios, some people will try and visit all of them," says FitzRandolph.

"You decide what appeals to you." For more information, visit the Fredericton Arts Alliance website at www.frederictonartsalliance.ca.

While there, you can sign up for Arts News, which gives subscribers a weekly look at what's going on in the arts in Fredericton.


What: Fredericton Art Trek '10 Information: The community is invited to Open Your Eyes during Art Trek '10, when Fredericton artists open their studio doors to visitors. Art Trek is taking place Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 17, from noon to 5 p.m.

Contact: Pick up your map of participating studios from the Fredericton Art Alliance or visit www.frederictonartsalliance.ca.


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