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Artist studio tour comes to Lewiston

by jmaloni
Sat, Sep 6th 2014 07:00 am

A new resident is organizing an artist studio tour in Lewiston during the second weekend of September. During the tour, various artists in the community will open their workspaces to the public.

Painter Michelle Marcotte, originally from Ontario, Canada, moved to Lewiston in the spring. She was surprised to find out the town had no artist tour, so she decided to organize one herself.

"A lot of communities in Ontario have an annual art studio tour," Marcotte said. "It's good for the artist; it gives them an opportunity to meet people that might be interested in their work."

She said it also offered non-artists the opportunity to see art in a new perspective.

"It gives the public a chance to see the work of new artists, and where they work and how they work," Marcotte said. "It sort of gives the artist and people who are interested in art a chance for a longer, more in-depth conversation than at an art show."

She also said that in her studio, potential buyers are able to see what her paintings look like mounted on the wall, which gives them an idea of how it will look in a home.

Other artists on the tour offered different reasons for joining.

Painter Thomas Asklar said he joined the tour to show people his work, but he also thought the event could be good for the community.

"Lewiston is a big art center, historically," he said. "You've got the history there and I think it's important to keep art in focus all year."

Asklar said activity in the town seemed to slow down after all the events during the summer and an event like this could boost interest.

"It seems like in the summertime Lewiston is a real festival town," he said. "I think it's important to keep the momentum going throughout the year."

Artists who have signed up for the tour include Asklar, jeweler Robert Young, glassmaker Roz DiBacco, photographer Sue Sullivan and woodworker Ken Vick, who is also Marcotte's husband.

Young of Niagara Jewelers, will discuss how he designs and creates jewelry in his studio and store located at 744 Center St. in Lewiston. "I can walk people through the entire creative and production process here at my studio. Visitors are often surprised to learn that all the creative, manufacturing and repair work is done right here, and not shipped elsewhere," said Young.

DiBacco, also found at 744 Center St., will feature colorful glass objects that will literally light up your home. "I make home lighting in my glass studio as well as decorative, hard to find tableware such as sushi plates, and unusual glass items such as jewelry for yourself -- or for your dog!" said DiBacco.

Sullivan, whose travel and nature photography will be showcased at her framing shop, Sue's Frame of Mind at 748 Center St., also will display the works of other local artists. "I love the opportunity to have more time to talk to people about my own photography and about the works of other local artists on display here," Sullivan said. "Framing is also both art and craft because the right mat and frame can turn your art or collectible into an exceptional focal point," she said.

Vick recently moved to Lewiston and set up his large woodworking shop on Fort Gray Drive. Vick is one of few woodworkers who can build the intricate joinery and ebony elements needed for Greene and Greene style furniture - a sub-set of the arts and crafts movement of the early 20th century. His sculptural rocking chairs made from mahogany or walnut require several months to build, not to mention sourcing perfect quality, thick-cut lumber from trees 50 to 100 years old. "I make only a few pieces of furniture a year from extraordinary woods and each piece is a true individual. I love showing people my shop. During the studio tour I will show a half-done, and a fully-completed, sculptural rocking chair and discuss how the piece is constructed and carved," Vick said.

Marcotte said she is still looking for artists who want to join the tour, and invited those still unsure of whether they want to join to come out and see the other artists this year. She said she wants to make the tour an annual event and those artists are welcome to join next year.

The tour will take place Saturday, Sept. 13 and Sunday, Sept. 14. Marcotte's studio at 468 Fort Gray Drive will be open from noon to 6 p.m. both days. A full list of all participating artists and their addresses will be available in each open studio.

Autumn Evans contributed to this feature.

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