Sarasota Studio Artists Association
Second Saturday Open Studios
More than 30 artists will open their studios to visitors during this free event.
Saturday, January 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
(December 7, 2023) Sarasota Studio Artists Association (SSAA) is a dynamic community of more than 70 regionally based artists. The creators in this broad-based coalition work in a diverse range of genres, mediums and styles. More than 30 SSAA artists will open their studios to visitors on Saturday, January 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Open Studios tours take place on the second Saturday of every month. To plan a visit, visit SRQartists.com for an interactive map and information on participating artists.
Jen Palmer is the founding director of SSAA. She notes that viewing a work of art can be an uplifting experience. But meeting an artist in the studio where they create takes it to a whole new level.
“Open studio visits are always fascinating,” she says. “It’s a chance to interact with artists, learn about their creative processes, and support them by buying their art.” Palmer adds that these artistic close encounters are the opposite of elitist. “There’s something for everyone, at every price point, from $10 to $10,000. Visitors can meet mixed-media artists, realist painters, portrait painters, photographers, sculptors, abstract artists and much more.”
Second Saturday Open Studios is SSAA’s most public initiative. But there’s a deeper purpose behind these tours. According to Palmer, it’s all about restoring the visual artist’s central place in Sarasota. “Independent visual artists are an integral part of Sarasota’s arts culture,” she says. “Shining a spotlight on their talents is our mission at SSAA.”
Palmer and her husband, the artist Craig Palmer, launched the organization in late 2021 with that ambitious goal in mind.
“Sarasota has a long-standing reputation as an ‘arts town,’” she says. “To make that reputation a reality, we want to support visual artists who live and work here. By creating a personal, one-one-one connection between art lovers, collectors and artists, our Open Studios help restore a welcoming arts community. SSAA has also created a welcoming community for artists who are new to the area, and provides a supportive environment for creatives who are passionate about their pursuits”
Highlights of nine participating artists:
Mara Torres González is a visual artist, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, currently based in Sarasota. In 2020 she opened MARA Art Studio + Gallery in Sarasota, where she contributes with art organizations and other contemporary artists in the area. Torres González’s mixed-media work tells stories and explores emotions in viewers; she is passionate about using her career and work as a voice. “SSAA is a much-needed organization for the growth of the Sarasota art community,” she says. “I’m honored to be a part of this collaboration.” MARA Art Studio + Gallery, 1421 5th Street, Suite A, Sarasota.
Steph Gimson is a contemporary abstract painter, whose work is collected in America and Europe and shown at galleries in St Petersburg and Cincinnati. Gimson is currently working on a commission for an upscale hotel chain in Naples. “SSSA is a wonderful organization that allows the public a glimpse of artists in their natural habitat,” she says. “Being able to see an artist’s process is rare, and helps collectors get a feel for the work and the hard work that goes into every piece.” 2059 Princeton Street, Sarasota.
Sam Wuerful is a self-taught, abstract expressionist painter who has embarked on a journey of self-discovery through artmaking. She says that painting is a form of meditation, allowing her to dive deeply into herself to explore thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Wuerful describes herself as a “kinetic artist, exploring the movements of feelings and moments one experiences in this life through paint.” The artist says her work is influenced by cubism, impressionism and artists from the postmodern era such as Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler. 1330 Central Avenue, Unit 1312, Sarasota.
Kathy Groob captures coastal scenes and her abstract oysters, seascapes and sailboats have become popular. “I welcome local residents as well as visitors to my studio on St. Armands Circle,” she says. “Every visitor comes away with a free painted seashell.” 400 Madison Drive, Suite 210, Sarasota.
Anja Palombo was brought up in Germany, trained in painting and studied art history. She taught art in Asia for 20 years and exhibited work on three continents. Having worked in a variety of media, she is currently working in ceramic sculpture, studying the poetry of shape and the physical world. “Sarasota has an amazing modern visual arts history, and right now I feel the visual arts are coming back in force. SSAA has shown us the amazing diversity of work, new energy and outstanding creativity in our community. We are grateful to SSAA for helping us realize our strength while connecting artists with an audience.” 2429 Burlington Lane, Sarasota.
Meg Maher Pierce received her master’s degree in art and art education from Columbia University, NY, and an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. She was a teacher of art at the Herricks Schools, New Hyde Park, on Long Island from 1969-2001. Her latest work includes hand-stitching, mixed-media, installations, collage and featuring domestic vintage fiber. Pierce says she is “dedicated to sewing peaceful meditations using the humble intimate beauty of vintage cloth.” 2061 Princeton Street, Sarasota.
Ralph Berger says he loves “the unique feeling of being lost in the creative process.” His sculptures are in public, private and corporate collections throughout the United States. They explore the beauty of positive and negative space. “My goal is to create art that connects with people and brings them joy,” says Berger. 7640 Matoaka Road, Sarasota.
Bella Arte Studio hosts the work of the couple, Marco Bell and Monica Spain. Together, they’ve been painting landscapes in acrylic and pastel respectively, observing beauty in nature to convey the visual language that stirs the soul. “SSAA has created a camaraderie among artists to connect with the public during our open studios every second Saturday of each month,” says Bell. 1344 Central Avenue, Suite 1344, Sarasota.
Visit SRQartists.com to discover artists, studios and events happening within Sarasota County’s cultural art community.
Sarasota Studio Artists Association
Sarasota Studio Artists Association (SSAA) was created to restore a welcoming artist community and support visual artists who have a studio open to the public. Its independent visual artists are an integral part of Sarasota’s arts culture, and the mission of SSAA is to shine a spotlight on their amazing talents. Visit SRQartists.com.