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Stories from Cultivate’s Artist Open Studio:


Kae Pershon, who runs Cultivate’s Open Studio sessions, shares her thoughts and experiences on this bi-weekly event:


One of the most amazing aspects of the Cultivate Adult Open studio that I've noticed is the sense of community each session brings. On its surface, it may seem like a time for studious practice. When in reality, it is a place where we share in conversation and experiences while working on a variety of mediums, from oil painting to coloring pages. That's not to say there isn't a serious artist among us, quite the contrary, but skill level or medium don't hold much significance when you’re with

new friends.


“A welcoming atmosphere is essential to create a safe, open environment for both creating and conversing. Those conversations are what I look forward to each week.”


As a natural introvert, it can be more than a bit daunting to sit at a table with a group of strangers. I never imagined the ease that came with getting to know so many amazing individuals. Some have become regulars while others are the occasional drop-in. All have been equally vital to that evening’s open studio.


One particular evening was fairly small, with folks dropping in to stay for a while before other obligations pulled them away. One group, a mother and daughter, stopped in about halfway through the evening. It was their first time at our Open Studio and the mom said she was just there to hang out with her daughter while she filled her sketchbook. We began chatting. She asked me about Cultivate, I asked her how she'd heard about us. We talked about art, her daughter's college ambitions, and she asked if I made my own work. I said yes and mentioned that my work revolves around my struggle with my ADHD and Autism. Her eyes widened as she exclaimed, "I have ADHD too!" The rest of the evening was filled with commiserating over the difficulties that it can cause in our everyday life to jokes about forgetfulness and inattention. Her daughter joined in as she sketched an incredible scene of a galaxy flowing from a coffee cup. Planets and asteroids were intermingled with steam and stardust, brightly colored and beautifully illustrated. Granted, not every Cultivate Open Studio involves a discussion of the inner workings of neurodivergence. Often its lighthearted jokes about living as an artist, discussions about how to remain creative when the world around us seems to consume every spare moment, or heartfelt encouragement that creating in any aspect makes you an artist, regardless of how you express it.


“At Open Studio, it's not about what we're making specifically, but that we are making.”


Ultimately, the Cultivate Adult Open Studio is whatever you'd like it to be. Whether that's joining a friend and chatting with others while they create, bringing a small sketchbook and doodling away the time, or working on your next commission, it's open for you to use however you need as a fun, encouraging space for all.



Artist Open Studio occurs on the second and Third Tuesday of every month from 6-8PM. Admission is free, and more can be found via our Facebook events, or by visiting our Gallery Events page : https://www.cultivategrandrapids.org/post/cultivating-your-creative-side-at-the-adult-open-studio-and-lab


We hope to see you there!

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