Greenbelt Artists Studio Tour
Greenbelt’s first artists studio tour took place on Sunday. It was produced by the New Deal Café and sponsored by the city’s 75th Anniversary Committee and Friends of New Deal Café Arts (FONDCA). Thirteen artists opened their studios to visitors.
Julia Wade, art coordinator for the New Deal Café, works at the welcome table in the café. She hands out maps for the studio tour and answers questions.
John Abell picks up a map. Of the 13 studios open this afternoon, two are in the Greenbelt Community Center, seven in GHI houses, two on Northway, one in Boxwood Village, and one in East Greenbelt.
From left Terri Acton meets with Lisa Voith and Diana McFadden at the café. The three of them are walking together to visit studios.
In her home, artist Betsy Barber (right) shows Judy Powell a copy of this week’s Gazette newspaper. The A&E section includes a large photo of one of Ms. Barber’s paintings to accompany a story about Greenbelt’s studio tour.
Barber tells visitor Richard Richardson about her work. On the wall are paintings of Scotland—she is of Scottish descent. Barber has lived in Greenbelt for 15 years and also teaches music.
Artist Ellen Bretz (center) shows visitors Chris (left) and Barbara Logan stained glass works in her studio, a light-filled GHI addition looking out to her garden.
Bretz, who specializes in “handcrafted fused glass and wire wrapped pieces of art,” shows Barbara and Chris Logan her Paragon kiln.
From Bretz’s New Deal Café exhibit description: “Fused glass is an ancient craft that has moved into our present time with tools and techniques that thankfully don’t require a lifetime to master. Glass with compatible coefficients is melted (fused) in a kiln at about 1500 degrees. After it’s cooled I analyze the melted pieces to see if any or all have artistic possibilities. Sometimes multiple cuttings and firings are required before I’m satisfied with the results and decide to make it into jewelry.”
A studio tour poster greets visitors by Ridge Road outside Barbara Stevens’s home.
A studio tour postcard is attached to Barbara Stevens’s screen door. The illustration on the postcard is by Julia Wade, art coordinator of the New Deal Café.
In her attic studio, from right, artist Barbara Stevens shows visitors Nancy Falk, Diana McFadden, Terri Acton, and Lisa Voith a photo/painting collage titled “HOLLIDAY GREEN MAN GIFT TO THE WORLD FROM AMSTERDAM.”
Leaning against the wall are several of Stevens’s “green paintings.”
Artist Gary Cousin stands at the door of his house, wearing a black Frida Kahlo T-shirt. An array of colorful balloons greets visitors. On the left is his painting of Alec MacKaye, a musician and a member of the D.C. punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s, and on the right is Cousin’s self portrait.
In his living room/studio, Cousin points out a coffee maker in a painting on the wall. He has a series of paintings featuring common objects and he calls them “paintings of vessels.”
This coffee maker and two tea cups are Cousin’s models.
From Cousin’s MFA thesis statement dated July 23, 2004: “In a time of angst and overwhelming uncertainty, I have retreated to representing the simplest objects we depend on daily, and am striving to refine how I accomplish that, boiling down and reducing what I observe and the process of representing it. I am creating a respite from the immediacy and madness of human existence and referring right back to the endless quest we are each immersed in.”
Gary Cousin’s paintings are on display in his yard.
Artist Shayna Skolnik specializes in fine art, illustration, and design, and it is she who designed the logos of the Co-op Supermarket and Pharmacy, the Greenbelt Community Foundation, and the Farmers Market. Here in her dining room she shows visitors Tom and Johanna Jones her illustration work, and on the wall are some of her watercolors depicting everyday life.
Skolnik shows Tom and Johanna Jones a watercolor she is currently working on of the Greenbelt Starbucks.
In her light-filled studio, artist Ingrid Hass shows visitors Jay and Cindy Cummings her sketch book.
Ingrid Hass shows Jay Cummings some of her block prints of musicians. Hass is a professional singer with a master’s degree in opera performance, and she has long been attracted to musicians and music-making.
From an article about Hass in the September 9, 2004 issue of the Greenbelt News Review: “Themes of music-making seem to naturally infiltrate my art even if it is just a suggestive title. I am interested in the interplay of color and shapes and the rhythms I can create with them. I hear my pictures. Is the scene I’m depicting in a major or minor key? Does the day sound like blasting trumpets or mellow flutes? I want the rhythm and intensity of the zinnias to knock the viewer over because they knock me over. I try to capture the song that the subject is singing, whether it is a mountain view or a pile of veggies from the garden.”
Hass shows visitors that she actually uses Styrofoam for her block prints.
Studio tour sign outside Paul Downs’s home: “Welcome to the Stick Art Gallery.”
Paul Downs shows a piece called “Tepee” (a Native American name for a conical tent). Many of Downs’s works use natural objects such as sticks and branches found in the Greenbelt woods, and they are glued together to create fanciful objects.
A tower with many levels and many fairy inhabitants
Downs’s artworks are on display all around his house. Paul Downs has been an active preservationist. In the 1980s, he was a member of the Committee to Save the Green Belt which played a large part in creating Greenbelt’s woodland preserve, and for many years he has been involved with the annual Halloween Pumpkin Walk.
Kimberly Stark in her living room
Stark points at mirrors made from recycled Altoids tin cases. Also on the table are many of her shrinky dinks jewelry that features photos or slogans and can be worn as pins or necklace pendants.
From her website: “It’s a necklace. It’s a pin. It’s BOTH!!! The slogans are either ones I’ve made up myself or ones I found in a book that I think would make a great slogan. Some images are photos that I actually took myself using my digital camera while others are ones that I got from various places (such as Dover Publications’ collection of public domain images). There were also times when I drew some things directly into Photoshop (mainly simple shapes). I did the layout in Photoshop, printed it out on Shrinky Dink paper that has been specially coated for ink jet printers, punched a hole in the top for a necklace loop, baked the item for anywhere between 3-5 minutes, then glued a pin backing on the back. Regardless of whether you decide to wear it as a necklace or as a pin, it’s the ultimate in wearable art!”
Stark points to a diorama titled “The Rising”. It was created for a show commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and uses a doll she found in a thrift store. “When I was planning and constructing the diorama, I thought about ‘The Rising,’ a song that Bruce Springsteen wrote soon after the terrorist attack and I started to imagine an angel figure rising from the wreckage of Ground Zero.”
Kimberly Stark shows me a piece called “Peeping Castle.”
Ann Dunne has lived in Greenbelt for about ten years and has taken up art for five years after her retirement. She has taken classes with Clare Graves and Joanna Axtmann in the Washington area and does wash painting, silk painting, and collage. Here she is pointing to a wash painting titled “My Bear.”
Ann Dunne stands next to a silk painting titled “Autumn in Greenbelt.”
Barbara McGee’s home is #13 on the studio tour.
Barbara Simon is the president of Friends of New Deal Cafe Arts and the chief organizer for today’s studio tour. She uses her maiden name McGee in her art works, and here in her basement studio, she is showing some of her colored pencil drawings. This one on the table is titled “Kitchen Madonna.”
Applique is “a needlework technique in which pieces of fabric, embroidery, or other materials are sewn onto another piece of fabric to create designs, patterns or pictures.” McGee tells that this piece has been referred to by her friends as “The Green Woman,” and here she points out embroidery done by her daughter Julia.
Ana Gasper’s studio in East Greenbelt is the only one on this tour outside of the center city. Here in her living room she (right) talks to a fellow artist Clara Majors. Gasper came from Costa Rica three years ago where she was a writer and newspaper columnist, and Majors’s hometown is Lima, Peru. On the wall here are their acrylic paintings.
Ana Gasper talks about her acrylic painting titled “Hot Coffee.” It depicts women working under a hot sun in a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.
Artist Clara Majors shows a painting titled “Song of Life” which incorporates seashells in their original colors. Many of Majors’s works are inspired by black women in Peru.
Fred Gasper, Ana’s husband, shows me modernistic carpets custom designed by his brother Daniel Gasper.
The Gaspers have a selection of drinks and snacks for studio visitors.
By now, I have visited 11 of the 13 studios on the tour. There are two more studios on the third floor of the Greenbelt Community Center by Greenbelt artists-in-residence Tom Baker and Gina Mai Denn. I visited Baker’s studio before during January 8’s Artful Afternoon and I will try to see Ms Denn in her studio at a future Artful Afternoon open house.