The Art of Living in Eastie

-By John Lynds

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Artist Craig Van Horne inside his studio at 80 Border St.

Part of what has made East Boston a wonderful place in which to live is the neighborhood’s flourishing artist community. The East Boston’s Artist Group at 80 Border St., renovated a few years back by the East Boston Community Development Corp., is unlike any other art gallery or studio in Boston. Here the building balances unique workspace for artists, a fine gallery in which to display local art shows and a new cultural exchange center with weekly and annual events to embrace community participation and support.

Year after year, no other event tries to engage residents and expose them to the world of art and culture than the annual East Boston Open Studios.

This year more than 50 local artists have invited the community at large to see their latest creations in their  studios, view group exhibitions, attend live music and dance performances and visit the new artist studios across the neighborhood.

The two-day event ran Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22.

Artist Moni Oolyonghai shows off his work.

“This is the fifth Open Studios since the CDC renovated the artist studios.

“There really is no other studio space and gallery in Boston as nice as this,” said artist Jason Fitz-Gerald. “We’ve been working really hard to get the word out there and we got a big turnout.”

With top notch artists displaying their works ranging from paintings, photography, sculptures and jewelry and crafts, Eastie’s artist community was excited to show off other artists space that have spawned in recent years.

Open Studios locations included 80 Border Street – The Atlantic Works Building – that featured four floors of artist studios, 100 Condor Street – home to the new Cavity. Lab Gallery, 175 McClellan Highway – home to Future Labs, a growing artist community with over 20 artists and a number of businesses, 202 Maverick Street – home to Casa de la Cultura – where a group exhibit was hosted, and 256 Marginal Street, the Boston Shipyard and Marina – home to Harbor Arts Outdoor Gallery.

Other locations included the Condor Street Urban Wild, where permanent public art by B. Amore and Leigh Hall enhanced an urban park with beautiful vistas along a formerly polluted industrial site, and 260 Sumner Street – the new firehouse home of ZUMIX, which hosted an open house on Saturday, May 21.

“East Boston is a culturally rich and diverse neighborhood, featuring a variety of ethnic eateries, beaches, and arguably the best views of the Boston waterfront and skyline,” said Artist Group’s Sandra Castillo. “The Greenway and numerous parks provide access to nature and beautiful landscaping. May is a beautiful time of year to be in East Boston, with flowers and trees in bloom, and the weather beginning to warm up. It’s a very ‘walkable’ neighborhood with interesting architecture and a lot to see and do.”

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