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Hosting Open Studio Night

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

In early 2018 the RAL Art Center was approached by a teacher in Lancaster County to offer an adult art activity in the evenings. I agreed to host an Open Studio at RAL on Wednesday nights from 6-8:30PM. Initially, most of the participants worked for the local school systems, but as time went by we expanded our group. We have artists of all skill levels from beginners to former college art majors picking up their brushes again. Artists came and went, but I always had enough interested people to keep the Open Studio going. Each week I would set up a still life and I was also able to paint small studies with the group. Along with setting up the space and clean up, I was available for advice and instruction. More importantly, the group supported each other with praise and constructive suggestions. Because Open Studio is also a social night for us, the artists can bring refreshments for themselves or to share.

I am an exhibiting member of the RAL Art Center and I rent 6 feet of wall space in the gallery. I also volunteer for shifts as a day manager of the Gallery. This has enabled me to collect the $20 fee ($25 for non-members) weekly which allows scheduling flexibility for the artists because they don't have to commit to coming for multiple weeks in a row. Between the bookkeeping and the instruction, these days I usually just work on small tasks each week versus painting with the group. Many of the members of Open Studio now work on their own painting projects and are often working from photographs and their imaginations.

Over the last four years, Open Studio has become an important part of my artisitic life. I spend much of my daily life painting in my studio alone which for me is not always ideal. Each week, I look forward to the comeraderie of our Wednesday night sessions. Because we have been together so long, it has been great to watch "my artists' develop. They amaze me and inspire me each week.

This February 2023 there is month-long exhibition of more than thirty paintings and drawings by our Wednesday Night Open Studio Friends group at the Lancaster Community Library . The library will host an meet-the-artists reception on Saturday afternoon, February 11th from 3-4:30. Special thanks to artist Bonnie Leigh Jones for taking the intiative of oganizing this show for us.

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