The fifth annual self-guided Stapleton Open Studios tour of artists’ studios is back, with 28 artists ready to meet visitors, show their work and demonstrate how it is made. The artists represent a range of disciplines, including painting, photography, sculpture, mosaic, jewelry, glass and fiber art. All art is for sale.
Artists’ studios at 16 locations in Stapleton and North Stapleton will be open from 11am to 5pm on Sept. 23 and 24. The map of locations is available to download at stapletonartists.org. “With the Stapleton community growing in the area north of I-70, this year the map is divided into north and south sections, with I-70 as the dividing line,” said coordinator Lin Clark.
The Stapleton Open Studios opening reception will be Friday, Sept. 22, from 6–8pm at The Cube in North Stapleton. The reception is free and open to the public. Live music will be provided by Paris Swing Set. “All the artists will be there and each will bring one piece to show,” said Clark.
Clark said the number of artists has grown—six more than last year—as has the number of visitors. “We had at least 1,100 visitors last year, more than twice the number we had when the event started in 2013.”
Three participating artists expressed their artistic motivations: creating beauty that unites people with each other, their own spirituality, and nature.
Painter Beatriz Sotela Bearden says, “What you see in my art is a world of faces. I have seen and met thousands of people from all parts of the world. My idea is to introduce people here to the marvelous differences in cultures around the world and all the people who are so beautiful. If people see that in my paintings, I will have accomplished something in life.”
Bearden grew up in Costa Rica and worked as an airline attendant for 36 years. Her travels took her to the Himalayas, Africa, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia and Central Asia. “I was able to record the faces I saw in drawings and photos, and now that I’m retired, I turn them into oil portraits. I’ll demonstrate the process of making a painting out of a drawing.”
Sculptor Paul Bareis creates figurative and direct metal pieces ranging from tabletop size up to more than six-feet tall [direct metal means metal pieces welded together]. “The whole idea of creating, of making something out of nothing, is magical,” he says. “Real magic is taking raw stuff—like wood, steel, copper or clay—and watching as it becomes transformed into something of beauty and meaning. I stand back after I create a piece and say, ‘That came out of me?’
“When I create, I’m being utilized as a tool by God, just as I utilize a cutting torch or a modeling tool, with my own unique style and expression. Creating is how I enter into a relationship with the Sacred.”
Bareis, a former Montessori school teacher, will show his process by letting visitors participate in a hands-on activity called Model Magic. “People have a tendency to make art flat even though we see in the round. I’ll show the principles behind design and sculpting,” he said.
Katy Tartakoff’s fine art photography invites observers to see the beauty in their own backyards. Tartakoff’s photo subjects, including flowers, birds and insects, are often found on her walks in Stapleton. “My camera invites me every day to go for a walk,” she said. “I try to capture the beauty we forget to look at. I hope people see something they look at all the time but never saw.
“We are living in a challenging time, with elevated discrimination against many people. I stand for human rights, but I can’t get super involved in political change. So I make beauty. I hope to remind people of the majesty surrounding us; I capture life’s magnificence.”
Stapleton Open Studios is the main event of Stapleton Artists, a group of artists dedicated to integrating art into the lives of people in the community. This year, Stapleton Artists gained nonprofit status. Clark said, “This allows more opportunities to bring art programs into the schools, and also host more workshops and lectures. Now we have an umbrella to apply for grants and reach out to people who love the arts, to get donations growing.”