Have you ever wondered what goes on inside an artist’s head or workspace? Here’s your chance to find out.

For two weekends in October, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) is holding the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST), a free festival that allows audience members to gain access into studios and view art all over the city.

“The goal is to celebrate the arts in Philadelphia and to ex- pose the existence of artists, to uncover the fact that artists live among us and that there are
so many nooks and crannies across the city where people are making work and people are creating very exciting things,” said CFEVA Community Programming Coordinator Julia Fox.

The 17th Annual Philadelphia Studio Tours will take place during the weekends of October 8–9 and October 22–23, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day.

POST spans 22 neighborhoods across Philadelphia, with the first weekend showcasing locations West of Broad Street and the second focusing on the artists East of Broad Street. The good news for Penn students is that they don’t have to travel very far to take part—there are studios and workshops right in West Philadelphia and University City.

The festival includes access to artists’ studios, workshops, talks and exhibitions. Studios range from warehouses to artists’ homes. While the tours of the studios are self–guided and free of charge, CFEVA also offers guided trolley tours for $45 per person each Sunday of the program (reservations required).

“There are artists out there who want to talk to people about their work, for sure,” said Fox.

In addition to studio tours, there are a number of more traditional gallery exhibitions which are a part of the program. These exhibitions will be held in City Hall, the Pennsylvanian Academy of Fine Arts and the Sonesta Hotel, among other venues. One of the featured exhibitions is CFEVA’s 2015 Antonia W. Hamilton Fellow Nick Cassaway’s installation at the CFEVA gallery, “Above the Sound of Ideologies Clashing”. This piece is a room–sized wallpaper consist- ing of repetitions of 80 different images telling the story between a stage magician and a sorceress.

“Nick’s show is definitely going to be very unusual,” said Fox. “I’m sure people will be taking selfies in front of it and it’s just going to be very loud and very exciting, all–encompassing.”

Cassaway’s installation will be on display from October 8 to November 10 and the opening reception will take place from 5:00–7:00 p.m. on October 13.

POST was founded by Karen Brown, with the first Open Studio Tour taking place in 2000, according to POST’s website. It was taken over by CFEVA in 2009.

Last year, POST drew an audience of around 47,000 viewers and featured 299 artists along with 52 accompanying exhibitions. This year, there will be around 240 artists, 50 of them new to the festival.

“POST is a program that allows the outsider to come into the artist’s studio,” said Fox, “And it is pretty unique in what it does because the public gets to explore—through demonstrations, through gallery exhibitions—the world of an artist in Philadelphia.” 


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