Artists always seem to have the best toys. Stroll through Arizona State University's Grant Street Studios, the renovated Phoenix warehouse where master of fine art students have studio and exhibition spaces, and you’ll get the picture. From 3D printers to kilns, it’s a creative playground.
Beyond that, the studios are a hub for Valley artists whose works you've likely enjoyed in several local venues, ranging from monOrchid to Bentley Gallery.
And you can go behind the scenes for a closer look during Open Studios. It’s happening from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19. The event is a rare opportunity to see how and where emerging (and a few established) artists create everything from sculpture and paintings to installation art and photography.
A group called The Art Grads puts on the annual affair, first launched in 2015. Dozens of MFA students open their work spaces to the public, so people can talk with them about their work and watch them create it.
The artists specialize in various media – such as sculpture, fiber art, ceramics, photography, drawing and painting, and intermedia. So, you’ll see artists working on all sorts of pieces during Open Studios.
But you’ll also get to explore places like the wood shop, where objects that look like giant toys are the tools of serious art-making. Basically, it’s the art equivalent of being a kid in a candy shop.
Open Studios is free to attend, and you can drop in anytime during the event. But if you want to see specific demonstrations, you should time your visit accordingly. Here’s the rundown on artists offering demos during the weekend.
• Clay Throwing with Laura Korch Bailey and Brandi Cooper from noon to 2 p.m. in the ceramics area.
• Face Painting with Roy Wasson Valle from noon to 4 p.m. in the atrium.
• Indigo Dying with Lena Klett, Shannon Ludington, and Molly Koehn from 1 to 2 p.m. in the fibers/sculpture area.
• 3D Body Scanning with Andrew Noble from 2 to 6 p.m. in the media labs.
• Polaroid Portraits with Joshua Haunschild, Carlos Garcia, and Joshua Gutierrez from noon to 3 p.m. in the photo area.
• Printmaking with Anthony Meade and Emily Ritter from noon to 4 p.m. in the atrium.
• 3D Body Scanning with Andrew Noble from noon to 6 p.m. in the media labs.
If you’re in the mood to see more art, they’ve got that covered, too. The event includes three exhibitions featuring works by ASU art faculty, students, and alumni.
The “Baggage” exhibition inside Step Gallery features MFA candidate Rachel Goodwin, whose art explores consumer culture. She’ll be giving an artist talk at Step Gallery at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
There’s a Side Gallery where you’ll see works by Roy Wasson Valle and several MFA printmakers, including exhibition organizer Emily E. Ritter. Finally, there’s a photography exhibition at the nearby Northlight Gallery.
Open Studios weekend also includes several performances.
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And there’s one last thing worth noting. The MFA students are holding a Red Tag Sale during Open Studios, which means you might just go home with a sweet new piece of art.
Open Studios takes place from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19. Get details on The Art Grads Facebook page.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.