Discovering Art at the Source

By: Robin Hug

May 21, 2012

Blooming flowers and the winding country roads should be reason enough to get in your car and take a drive this summer—crisp summer mornings and views of the Russian River can be inspiring. But if you need another reason to get out and see some of the beauty that resides in Sonoma County, try mapping out a day or two during the 18th annual Art at the Source event in June.

It’s the largest open studio program in Sonoma County. From just west of Highway 101 all the way to the ocean, 155 artists have clustered into each other’s art studios throughout West Sonoma County to showcase their work to the public over two weekends. The open studio program gives artists a chance to show their work outside of a gallery setting and demonstrate their craft to visitors.

One of the things making this event more user-friendly is that artists are allowed to share their studio space with each other, offering participants the opportunity to see more art at each location.
First-time participant and longtime artist Nell Hergenrather joined the event to become a greater part of the artist community and bring a younger, fresh perspective to the Sonoma County art scene.

“I think that whenever you have something in context, the person, and you can see their paint brushes or their floor, it all is rich and has something to do with their creative process,” Nell said of visitors coming into the studios.

For ten years Nell has been creating art, painting, and most recently working with sculpture and creating molds to design plants, landscapes, cityscapes, and underwater worlds that radiate a futuristic feel.
Presently, there are two themes that lead Nell’s work: “cynicism—living the façade of the good life—and disillusionment—the poisoned places so often disguised and then marketed to mainstream America.”
Despite her display of trepidation, Nell’s work is colorful, thoughtful, often playful, and invokes thought about the life that we live and the things we do or don’t value.

Nell’s vibrant studio in Sebastopol will be open to the public during the event. Her studio is #25 on the trail map. A preview exhibit including Nell’s work and all other participating artists is being held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts from May 18 through June 10 and features one piece of work from each artist.
“You can come to our gallery, look at the work on the wall and decide which artists you want to visit. You can also look at the images in the catalog or you could take a look at the studio demonstrations; depending on what type of art you are interested in, a number of the artists are giving demonstrations of their processes,” said Sebastopol Center for the Arts Executive Director Linda Galletta.

The art media include glasswork, painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, wood, fiber art and much more. Works will be available for purchase directly from the artists during the event.

“This is a great retail opportunity for the artists who don’t always have a lot of ways to sell their work,” said Linda Galletta. “It is an alternative to showing in a gallery and it is much more hands on for the public and the artist; it becomes much more personal to ask questions and establish a relationship.”

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