What’s New This Year for 2021?
You’ll find a fully outdoor, very decentralized event, with about 40 locations. Each location will have a small number of artists, and plenty of room for visitors to feel comfortable.
During our planning this winter, we decided it was important to create a format for this year that could be “covid-proof” – that would let us ride through any changes in community covid status — no crowds, just small groups of artists, out in their yards and on porches, inviting visitors to engage with our usual high level of art And craft.
We hope to be back to our usual format next year.
Newton Open Studios Covid-19 Guidelines
Our goal is to make sure that both artists and visitors feel safe, and at ease, at our event.
While all covid-related restrictions have been lifted in Massachusetts as of June 15th, this is still a transitional time for all of us. Not everyone is comfortable standing close to others, or being indoors with others they don’t know well.
- Please be respectful of other’s personal space.
- Please ask artists if it’s OK to touch artwork.
We have designed this event to have as much artwork out in the open air as possible – we hope you enjoy your tour!
What is NOS?
Newton Open Studios produces community arts events that bring together the artists and residents of Newton. It is a non-profit, funded mainly by artists registration fees, but also by donations from generous individuals and businesses, and in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as administered by the Newton Cultural Council.
Newton Community Pride acts as the Fiscal Agent for Newton Open Studios.
One of the Longest Running Open Studios in the Region!
In 1985, Newton’s Third Annual Beaux Arts Ball was being planned. Newton artist Renee Rubin applied for a grant to organize an open studios event. Because of funding limitations, her application was rejected. It was then that Linda Plaut and Judy Anderson of the Mayor’s Office for Cultural Affairs became involved. With their support and Renee’s efforts, the first Newton Open Studios was organized. Twenty-eight artists at 19 sites participated.
Three years later, in 1988, as part of Newton’s Tricentennial Celebration, Renee had the chance to organize another open studios event. More than 30 artists at 24 sites took part.
After a gap of nine years, the community’s third Open Studios was an important part of Newton’s Festival of the Arts in 1997. This event was organized by the New Art Center with help once more from the Mayor’s Office for Cultural Affairs and in conjunction with the Newton Community Pride Committee. Participation grew to more than 60 artists at 25 sites.
In 2000 and again two years later, the New Art Center organized and sponsored Newton Open Studios (NOS). The event had grown to 75 artists participating at 44 sites, demonstrating the artists’ desire to reach out and contribute to the cultural life of the community. The following year the New Art Center, limited by resources, asked Newton artists if they would organize the exposition. With the center’s guidance, a group of artists, led by Wendy Seller and Renee Rubin, planned and carried out a very successful 2003 event with 91 artists at 52 sites.
Since 2002, NOS has been a dependable and exciting annual event – both for the art community and for the public. It has grown into one of the largest open studios events in greater Boston, and in 2006, was recognized by the Boston Globe Magazine in its Brief Guide to the Best Open Studios. The event now includes an average of 175 artists each year, at 50 to 60 pop-up exhibit sites.
In 2009, NOS officially became part of Newton Community Pride. We greatly appreciate the operational support we receive from this terrific organization, which organizes and supports so many “quality of life” events and organizations in Newton.
In 2013, NOS moved the date of the spring event, from the weekend after Mother’s Day, to the beginning of April. Surveys of our artists and our visitors showed overwhelming support for this move. Going forward, dates will be either the first or second weekend of April each year. We’ve researched 20 years forward to make sure we can always avoid holidays and school breaks.
The Fall Juried Art Fest
Beginning in 2009, NOS has held a large juried show each November at a central Newton location (Newton City Hall since 2013). This show recruits jurors from area museum and gallery curatorial staff, and other local art luminaries. Our Jurors have included Nick Capasso, director of the Fitchburg Art Museum, Catherine French, director of the Danforth Museum, and Paula Tognarelli, director of the Griffin Museum.* The work of approximately 70 fine artists and craftspeople is displayed and offered for sale during the fall juried shows.
The “Salon” section of the Art Fest, with its low application fee and no participation fee, offers Newton artists a low-cost way to become a member of the NOS community, and gain eligibility to participate in the year-round smaller exhibits.
Year Round Smaller Exhibits
In 2010, NOS began to hold smaller exhibits, 1-3 months in length, in the Mayor’s office and in the Inspectional Services office at Newton City Hall. In 2012 we began staging shows at NewTV Gallery on Needham St. as well. Information on the current shows can be found on the events page of our website, and on our facebook page. Any artist who has participated in either the Spring Open Studios or the Fall Art Fest in the past 24 months, can exhibit in these exhibits (nominal hanging fee per artist).
Winter and Summer Juried Exhibits
In February 2012, NOS held its first annual winter juried show in the Mayor’s office,, and in August 2013, we held our first “Summer Selective” at NewTV. We have been delighted to have Kathleen Smith, exhibitions director of the New Art Center, as our juror for these annual winter and summer competitions. Any artist who has participated in either the Spring Open Studios or the Fall Art Fest in the past 24 months, can APPLY to these exhibits, and application is free (there is a small hanging fee for chosen artists).
Cultural Council Grants
Since 2005, NOS has been honored to receive grant funding each year from the Newton Cultural Council (funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council).
Volunteers Run the Show
NOS’s co-director, Ellen Fisher and Claudia Fiks, are aided in all aspects of the organization by a multitude of dedicated artist volunteers, without whom these events could not take place.
*the full list of NOS Fall Juried Art Fest Jurors:
2008: Nina Gara Bozicnik. Curatorial Fellow at the Decordova, and currently the Assistant Curator at the Currier Museum of Art,
2009: Elizabeth Geller, director of Corporate Program, DeCordova
2010: Dina Deitsch, curator at the DeCordova
2011: Catherine French, director of the Danforth Museum
2012: Paula Tognarelli, director of the Griffin Museum
2013: FlatFile Boston principals Mika Hornyak, Sara Dassel, and George Sopel
2014: Nick Capasso, director of the Fitchburg Art Museum
2015: Jessica Roscia, curator of the Danforth Museum
2016: ARTSCOPE’s Kaveh Mojtabai (Founder and Publisher) and
Brian Goslow (Managing Editor)