Although Open Studios has now become an accepted tradition here at CAM, it is instructive to consider how singular and unique a phenomenon it is in the larger context of national and international contemporary art institutions. Museums are destinations, places where people come specifically to perform a ritual of interacting with meaningful objects and experiences that is simultaneously personal and public. As such, they are both generally accessible yet somewhat closed off, allowing for a sense of contemplation about the world in a space that feels closed off from it. The artist’s studio performs a similar function, offering the opportunity for private reflection and deliberation as well as production. Typically, the labors that take place in the studio are only seen in their completed form in the museum space. Open Studios, however, allows the audience a rare window into the artistic process, not only in terms of what an artist may be working on, but also a sense of the atmosphere within which the work is made. While a studio visit is a normal and everyday occurrence for a museum curator—providing a way to familiarize ourselves with a new artist’s work and working process or a site for discussion about a project we’re developing for the museum with an artist—it is a special privilege and form of access that this program affords to our public. There are no set rules per se, but one would generally be advised not to be shy about asking questions, to be respectful of being a guest in someone’s typically very personal space, and to visually absorb as much as possible. CAM is incredibly grateful to the St. Louis artist community for their annual partnership with the Open Studios program and we sincerely hope the experience is a thoughtful and enriching one for all involved.
By Dominic Molon, Chief Curator
About Open Studios STL
Now in its eighth year, Open Studios STL (formerly known as City-Wide Open Studios) features more than 170 St. Louis-based artists who open their studios and art spaces to the public over the course of one weekend. Studios and gallery spaces are open Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, 11:00 am–6:00 pm, with locations east of Grand Blvd. open on Saturday and locations west of Grand Blvd. open on Sunday. In addition, CAM is hosting a kick-off party at the Museum on Friday, June 21, organizing a variety of guided tours, and sharing information about artist-organized events taking place throughout the weekend.
Visit openstudios-stl.org to search artists by neighborhood, medium, and more.