Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fenway Open Studios: The Building and the Doors

Heavens, it's almost December and I still haven't posted about our visit to the Fenway Open Studios. Built in 1905 in the Arts & Crafts style, Fenway Studios is America's oldest continuously operating artists' workspace and residence. There are about three dozen  studios, all with have huge windows and northern light, 12-foot ceilings, and a certain irresistible charm. Some have beautiful fireplaces, many have small kitchens and bathrooms, and most have original floors and other details. I'd swear that a few still have some original furniture. The building is now an artist coop and, every November, they hold a weekend open house, so visitors can view the National Landmark building, meet some of artists, and view and buy work. You can find out more here.

This year we went on Sunday. We had a great time. Talking to artists is never dull. I used to do it for a living and I miss being able to do it a lot. I took a lot of photos when I wasn't chatting, mostly of the spaces, along with some art.

In this post, I'll show you the building and some of the artists' doors. We'll go inside some studios and see some art in the next couple of posts.

The building looks vaguely like a brick fortress. It overlooks the Mass Pike, which is close by and as noisy and distracting as you can imagine. Directly across the highway, there's a huge, ugly parking garage. Since each loft has a wall of large windows, it's a challenging situation, especially on the first floor.

The entrance has wonderful ironwork, with lions, scrolls on the lintel, and bands of rosettes on the doors:

 Inside, there's a sort of ironwork cage, a lobby, and stairs and an elevator to the three upper floors:

The studios run along one side of a long, plain corridor on each floor. On the other side, there are original steam radiators and several windows (overlooking a parking lot, sigh).

Still-life vignettes are everywhere, including the windowsills:

I checked out the bathroom and was surprised to find this terrific old sink. To the left was a stall, which I didn't explore. There was also a fully stocked bookcase.

I especially like the metal knockers gracing some of the artists's front doors:

We always take the stairs rather than the elevator. I'm not sure why; perhaps we were in better shape when we first visited the studios. Since they have 12-foot ceilings, you have to climb almost two flights of stairs to get to each floor. The stairway is dingy and utilitarian, but there is this sign:

Stay tuned for the studios.

(PS: I want one!)

1 comment:

  1. The collection of door knockers is impressive! And that bathroom sink; fabulous!


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