A&E

Artists open up

Silicon Valley Open Studios gives glimpses of artists at work

Springtime means new blossoms, baby animals and, in the Peninsula fine-art world, the return of Silicon Valley Open Studios (SVOS). The annual free festival offers art lovers the chance to visit more than 375 artists in many media at work and get an up-close glimpse at their headquarters. The event runs for the first three weekends in May, covering studios from South San Francisco down to Gilroy and in towns from the Pacific coast to the San Francisco Bay. Artist studios in Palo Alto, Mountain View and many neighboring communities will be open May 5-6 and 12-13.

Palo Alto Studios, located at 4030 Transport St., is one of the many locations that will be opening its doors to the public. The former printing warehouse is home to 26 artists, including painters, printmakers, sculptors, jewelers photographers and more. Thirteen will be participating in SVOS, including Mountain View resident Dotti Cichon, who specializes in environmental photography; Russian-born Maria Kazanskaya, who paints, among other things, the landscapes of coastal California (including incorporating genuine ocean water into the work); Palo Alto resident Laura Jacobson, whose work is inspired by biology and by the human brain in particular; and Ireland native Gertie Mellon, who creates abstract and figurative paintings influenced by the urban landscape.

"It's my first year participating so it's a big adventure for me," Maria Pazos, a Cuban-American artist (and former Mountain View Voice graphic designer) who uses the medium of alcohol ink, said. "I think the community benefits, especially in our digital world, to have the public see artists at work and what it takes to create art that does not use a computer. I think it's particularly good for kids to see a real studio, see the work. It's very educational."

Downtown Palo Alto's Pacific Art League (668 Ramona St.) will host three SVOS artists: Stephanie Han, watercolorist Dasha Jakobson, who will also exhibit in Menlo Park and Los Gatos, and photographer Michael Marlow, whose artist statement cheekily boasts, "I've never won any prizes and my work has never been displayed anywhere else in the past."

Other local organizations participating in SVOS include Abilities United, The Cubberley Artist Studio Program (CASP), Gallery House and many others, including studios in Menlo Park, Redwood City, Stanford, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

For a complete list of artists, studios, locations and schedules, go to SVOS.

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