Marin Open Studios Concludes 2020 with Virtual ‘Sense of Place’

For nearly 30 years, Marin Open Studios has connected artists to art lovers in Marin County. Normally, the nonprofit arts organization engages and supports local artists by bringing the audience to them each year during self-guided studio and gallery tours.

This year’s Covid-19 pandemic canceled the tours this past May, though Marin Open Studios remained connected to local artists with online gallery shows and a “Meet the Artist” series that highlights the varied talented folks who call Marin County home.

Marin Open Studios’ premiere exhibition in its new virtual gallery celebrated “The Human Spirit” this past September. That first show was curated on the theme of portraying different aspects of humanity, and featured several Marin Open Studios artists.

This weekend, Marin Open Studios offers its second virtual exhibition when “A Sense of Place” opens online Friday, Nov. 20. The new online show features more than a hundred images by local artists, with works curated around the general theme of landscapes.

Nationally-recognized local landscape and wildlife artist Paul Kratter juried the show and awarded special recognition to six works. San Rafael artist Teresa Dong received the show’s first place recognition for her oil painting “Sausalito.”

On the Marin Open Studios website, Dong writes, “I was at the Gate 5 dock painting with my friend Robert all afternoon. All of a sudden, I saw a carpet of grey clouds rolling towards us. While the sun was still shining from the west… Later the rain followed, and we all got very wet. This was a very short moment but dramatic.”

San Rafael artist Davis Perkins took second place in the show with his painting “Doc’s Pond.” Fairfax-based studio and plein air painter Timothy Horn took third place for his painting “Field of Dreams.” Sausalito artist Dan Cassidy and San Anselmo artist Steve Emery were both awarded Honorable Mentions. Cassidy’s photograph “Blue Chair Iceland” is from a series of landscape photographs taken during his Icelandic artist residency in 2019. Emery’s acrylic painting “Top of the Granite Slide” is inspired by a three-mile stretch of nature that Emery visited before the area burned in the Creek Fire this past August.

The final award of the virtual show is the first annual Connie Smith Siegel Painting Award, named for the late artist and teacher who lived and worked in Marin County’s San Geronimo Valley for more than 40 years before her death on August 4 at age 83. The award went to San Anselmo artist Chrstin Coy for her painting “Mt.Tam Glow–Ring Mt.”

On the Marin Open Studios website, Coy writes, “Painting has always given me great joy and a sense of purpose. I enjoy sharing my vision of Nature and hope that the eyes of the viewer will be opened to the beauty that surrounds us here in Marin County. I feel very fortunate to be a visual artist in such inspirational surroundings.”

“A Sense of Place” is available to view in the virtual gallery from Friday, Nov. 20, through Wednesday, Dec. 30. This weekend, Marin Open Studios is hosting a live virtual event to mark the show’s opening, as curator Paul Kratter and the show’s six featured artists come together in an online discussion about their paintings and the stories behind them. The live event takes place on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 5pm.

In a year like no other, Marin Open Studios kept the local community of artists together through virtual offerings, and the organization is already looking ahead to 2021 with hopes of being able to offer both online and live exhibits. To continue its mission of supporting the arts, Marin Open Studios is also currently soliciting donations.

“We are excited about Marin Open Studios 2021 and we’re getting ready for whatever life throws our way,” writes longstanding “Angel” donor Peggy Haas. “We have several different scenarios in development, all of which are designed to keep everyone safe. Art has shown to be a great outlet during these past months for millions of people; it’s grounding, soothing, and inspiring. Now, we need your support more than ever to keep our community of artists thriving.”

Visit ‘A Sense of Place’ online now and tune in for the live Zoom event on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 5pm at marinopenstudios2020.org.

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Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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