Artoberfest at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

Letting go of summer can be difficult especially in New England.  But, there is an incredible silver lining that comes with this annual change: the Fall.  For most of us, Fall brings forth an array of exciting stimuli such as: the crisp autumn air, aromas of all things apple, spectacular leaf displays, the soaring cheers of football fans, and all kinds of pumpkin flavored treats.  For Western Avenue artists, fall is also a very special time because we hold our annual Artoberfest!

Here’s what’s happening during Artoberfest this year…

  • Artists open up their studios and lofts to the public for two days ─ October 6th and 7th from 12-5 p.m.
  • Our historic mill buildings are the home of over 300 artists and have many corridors you can weave your way through – embark on your own art maze adventure.
  • Artist demonstrations will be held in a range of mediums so you can see how art is made.
  • Our artist designed pumpkin contest will once again delight visitors with the unusual and unexpected.  In addition, you can vote for your favorite pumpkin and be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate.
  • The Loading Dock Gallery will be hosting a New England Regional Juried Show with Annual Poetry Convergence ─ not to be missed.
  • Navigation Brewery and Food Trucks (Phoenix Rising Pizza – October 6th; Chicks and Dogs – October 7th) will be onsite ─ enjoy a tasty snack and a handcrafted cold one.
  • The Onyx Room will be open for viewing if you are looking to rent a venue for an upcoming event.

Bring your family and friends ─ there is something for everyone to love!

Because our artists use a variety of mediums, there is bound to be something in our complex that will speak to every member of your family.  Both admission and parking for this event are free.  So, save the date for this awesome autumn celebration and join us for an artful experience your senses will surely not forget!

Check out our Facebook Event Page for further details!

The Art of Bookbinding: Learn More at Artoberfest. Featured Artist Todd Davis Western Avenue Studio: A314

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Our previous featured artist is not the only Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member gearing up to go back to school.  Book binder, Todd Davis, doubles as a receptionist at the North Bennet Street School, his alma mater.

Hands-on and Technically Challenging – A lover of history and old crusty books, Todd became interested in how books work during the many hours he spent among the stacks while pursuing his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  A former software consultant of 30 plus years, he likes that book binding is a technically challenging, hands-on process that doesn’t require a keyboard or computer.

Nomadic – Todd was born in Texas, raised in Ohio, and lived in Florida before moving to New England to work for Wang Laboratories in 1982.  After living in Nashua, NH, he moved to Medford, MA, then finally settled in the South End of Boston.  Each time he comes to work at Western Avenue Studios, he commutes an hour and a half by commuter rail.

Right Place at the Right Time – Establishing a bindery can be very costly and time consuming.  However, fate was hard at work the day Todd came across a mailing list announcement about a binder in Norwich, VT who was looking to sell his entire bindery before he retired.  It was an all or nothing acquisition.  So, Todd plunged head first into his new mid-life career.  After a good deal of searching, he decided to set up shop here at Western Avenue a little over two years ago.  Getting the equipment into his studio was a great feat, as some of his equipment fully assembled weighs 1000 lbs or more.

Restoration & Repairs – Besides commissions and workshops, Todd provides book repair services.  Each repair project presents various obstacles, but Todd loves the challenge as well as the mystery and history involved in taking a book a part.  He usually has an old time radio show playing in the background when he’s dissecting book structures, except in July when he faithfully watches the Tour de France.  Some of his past repair projects include: a family bible, a Roman Missal, a 50-year-old wedding photo album, and a private library’s circulating collection.

Visiting Western Avenue Studios During Artoberfest – Like several other Western Avenue artists, Todd will be conducting demonstrations on his latest projects during Artoberfest (10/6, 10/7). In addition, you can find Todd in his studio sometime between 9am-6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays during a typical week.  Walk-ins are always welcome.

For more information on the Middlesex Bindery, check out Todd’s website: https://middlesexbindery.com/ and his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MiddlesexBindery.

Check out our Artoberfest Facebook Event Page for further details!

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Enhance Your Back to School Experience at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

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It’s that time of year again.  Stores are awash with families preparing for the upcoming school year.   Don’t forget to put Western Avenue Studios and Lofts on your shopping itinerary.  Here are 11 ways you can leverage our next Open Studios event on September 1st (Noon – 5 p.m.) to enhance your Back to School experience:

  1. Spruce up this year’s wardrobe with a new wearable handmade piece.
  2. Find colorful artwork for dorm rooms, homes, offices, or apartments.
  3. Treat a favorite teacher or coworker to something unique.
  4. Get inspired – see over 50,000 works of art in our complex and attend the Loading Dock Gallery’s Of Earth and Air show (4 – 6 p.m.).
  5. Learn some tips and tricks by watching demonstrations or chatting with a fun mix of friendly creative people.
  6. Find a photographer to capture your special family moments.
  7. Have a favorite book that’s falling apart rebound.
  8. Check out the Onyx Room if you are looking to rent a venue for an upcoming event.
  9. Freshen up every bedroom with a cozy quilt.
  10. Enhance family meal prep with a handcrafted cutting board from one of our talented woodworkers.
  11. Tell us how you heard about us on an Orange Survey Card and you will be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate.

These are just a few reasons for attending our September event.  However, don’t take our word for it.  Come and check it out for yourself!  Admission and parking for this event are free.  Navigation Brewery will be open and Chicks and Dogs food truck will be on site that day.

Check out our Facebook Event Page for further details!

Spring Art Thing at Western Avenue Studios

Join the artists of Western Avenue Studios for Open Studios the first Saturday in May- and don’t forget to take part in the Spring Art Thing, our free drawing for a Western Ave gift certificate!

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Creaticity: Lowell Art & Maker Festival

The Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) is excited to announce Lowell’s first Art & Maker Festival will be happening this weekend, September 16-17, 2017 in downtown Lowell. CREATICITY will fill Market Street with art and culture of all types – artists and makers, writers, performers, music, interactive public art, and so much more.

Many of the artists, writers, and makers of Western Avenue Studios will be featured at this event. WAS artists vending on Market Street will be:

WAS artist Lisa Hertel will also be doing a free workshop, “Grow Your Own Wire Tree,” on Saturday at 4:30. Stephan Anstey is doing a workshop at 4:30 on Sunday entitled, “Coming Unstuck through Poetry.”

Creaticity is free and open to the public.Visitors can expect to see over 50 booths lining Market Street exhibiting fine art and artisan goods for sale, featuring works by local artists. Makers will showcase their creations or projects promoting science, technology and art. Stage and street performers will delight young and old alike, with music, theater, and dance. Free interactive workshops and demos will be held throughout the two-day festival, allowing visitors to learn and create their own art. Visit the writers corner to speak with local authors and listen to their works. The Revolving Museum will be creating a large public art piece, where the public can join in making the artwork over the course of the weekend. Walking tours will be led by members of the community, allowing visitors to learn more about Lowell’s public art scene, dance in Lowell, and innovation & invention.

A New Look for the Old Ball Game

Sports fans and art lovers unite! Western Avenue Studios and the Lowell Spinners continue their partnership this August 11th with “Art in the Park,” a unique chance to browse and purchase creative works by Western Ave Artists at LeLacheur Park, and with a Silent Auction, the proceeds of which will go towards Spinners charities and Loading Dock Arts, a  501(c)3 charity that supports art education and resources in Lowell.

Up for auction will be original works of art created using Spinners baseballs and other gaming equipment. Check out a sneak preview below of some of the works of baseball art that will be for auction at the August 11th game at LeLacheur Park, and get your tickets to the game online here to be part of the action! The game will be followed by fireworks.

Primped Out Pumpkins: and the winner is . . . .

Each year during ARToberfest weekend, Western Avenue Studios artists transform simple pumpkins into dramatic works of art! From fanciful fairy tale pumpkins to fretfully frightful abstractions, you’d be amazed at how a building full of artists use their creativity in an effort to win the coveted “People’s Preferred Pumpkin” prize. During ARToberfest weekend visitors were invited to wander the hallways and vote for their favorite creation.

This year the winner of the contest was in line to recieve The Great Pumpkin Trophy, created by artist Bruce Wood of studio #427, a $50 COOL gift certificate, and a Pumpkin Spice & Chill gift set, created by Amaranth & Rue Handmade Soaps, of studio #A302. Most importantly the winner would earn bragging rights for the next year.

Here are some of the creations that were entered into the contest:

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The winners of the 2016 Primped Out Pumpkins Contest are . . . . . .

Third Place: Cheryl Polcaro, studio 323, with her Caterpillar Pumpkin

Second Place: Bruce Wood, studio 427, with his Scary-Go-Round

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And our first place winner: Derek McGearty, studio A210, with his Scrapsapien Workers

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Congrats to everyone who took part in this year’s contest!

Artists of Western Ave Studios rule “Kingdom Animalia”

The Whistler House Museum of Art has given their 2016 juried members exhibit a “wild” theme this year – and many of the artists at Western Avenue Studios have been included in the show. “Kingdom Animalia” shows off the animal loving side of art with more than eighty original pieces in a variety of mediums.

“The Kingdom Animalia exhibition came out of discussions of people’s love for pets, and we chose to expand the subject to include all animals,” says President and Executive Director Sara Bogosian. “The result is a wondrous array of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and fiber art of creatures large and small. It is an overwhelming and lovely exhibition that all ages will enjoy.”

Among the many works on display are several by WAS artists. Valerie Borgal, Joe Lapiana, Jack Homes, Art Ferrier, Kathy Lennon Clericuzio, Nita Leger Casey, Laurie Simko, Suzanne Hodge, Margot Mam Thach Ilene Richard, and Denise Rainis all have works represented in the show. Congratulations to Laurie Simko, who has three pieces in the show, one of which earned her a Whistler Award.

The “Kingdom Animalia” exhibit runs through June 18th. The museum is open to visitors Weds through Saturday, 11:00 to 4:00. Or visit the artists themselves in their studios the first Saturday of every month during Open Studios to see more of their work.

WAS this Weekend- February 6th edition

February Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios not only comes at a great time to pick up a few things for your Valentine but also features our Gifts from the HeART event. Visit participating studios, collect stickers, and enter for a chance to win a Western Ave Studios gift card. Open Studios is Feb 6th from 12:00 to 5:00 and is free to park and attend.


The Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios is pleased to announce it’s latest exhibit- “The Painted Lady & The Glass Man: A Modern Fairytale.” The reception for this exhibit of works by Tracy Levesque and Peter Zimmerman will take place this Saturday immediately following Open Studios.

Art Ferrier, of studio #503, will be hanging his latest color photography at Bishop’s Legacy Restaurant in downtown Lowell this Sunday.

“Love & Murder: Art to Die For!” an exhibit featuring work from more than two dozen Western Avenue artists, curated by Liz Stewart and Regina McGearty, with an interactive storyline created by Renee Mallett continues at the Ayers Loft Gallery. There will be a special Valentine’s Gift Shopping event held at the gallery on February 11th, starting at 5:00.


Renee Mallett of Amaranth & Rue Handmade Soaps (available in studio #A411 and the Loading Dock Gallery) and Liz Stewart of Lush Beads (studio #A205) will be sharing a space at the 10th annual Great Burlesque Expo in Cambridge, MA this weekend.

Walk on the Moon jewelry, in studio #A206, has two great specials this weekend for Valentines. All heart jewelry will be 15% off. And limited edition Creme Brulee candles will be debuting this weekend in the studio.


On March 5th Pop Culture Place (studio #108) will be hosting the 2nd Annual Doll Show and Meet-Up in the Onyx Room. They currently have vendor tables available for people who make or sell doll specific items. You can find more info about being a vendor at the Doll Show at  www.BJDnerds.org

Jack Attack Clothing will be having a prom dress sample sale this weekend in studio #223. Long and short prom style dresses will be on sale with prices starting as low as $85! The sale will run for 12 to 4.


Diana Zipeto, of studio #A505, is currently showing her collage paintings at Brew’d Awakening on Market Street in Lowell. The show continues through Feb. 19th.

The COPPER MINE COLLECTION has moved across the hall into studio A315, combining space with WREN & ROSE STUDIO.  Please stop by and see our newly arranged accommodations for our JEWELRY and PHOTOGRAPHY. Mention that you saw the WAS this Weekend blog and take 10% off any purchase greater than $50.