Somerville Open Studios

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Somerville Open Studios
Somerville Open Studios logo.jpg
DatesMay 1–3, 2015
Location(s)Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville Open Studios (informally: SOS) is an annual event where the artists of Somerville, Massachusetts open their workspaces to the public. It is also the name of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which oversees the event.

Somerville Open Studios is the largest Open Studio event in New England, and the third largest in America.[1]


Somerville Open Studios was begun by two local artists, Jonathan Derry and Laura Fayer. The first SOS (1999) featured over 80 artists exhibiting at 25 sites throughout the city. The event has been held every year since. Participation and attendance has grown every subsequent year.[2]

Orange balloons have become a signature of SOS, where they mark an artist's studio which is open to be visited. Orange information kiosks have been introduced to provide more guidance. Several trolley-cars are also rented for the duration of event, on which volunteer guides direct people to workspaces and local landmarks.[3]

In 2002 the organization introduced the Artist’s Choice Exhibit at the Somerville Museum.[4] In 2011 a Volunteer Art Show was initiated to reward those who volunteer at the event.[5] In 2012 was the first runway-style SOS Fashion Show, along with an SOS Film Festival for video artists.[2]

As of 2015, SOS allows people to visit the studios of painters, printers, glassblowers, welders, woodworkers, photographers, and all manner of visual, multimedia and performing artists. Participants have included Taza Chocolate,[6] Vernon Street Studios,[7] and Artisan's Asylum.[8]

Organization and Governance[edit]

Somerville Open Studios has been a registered 5011(c)3 nonprofit organization since 2004.[2] Its stated purposes is to provide "...access to artists and [expose] the public to the wide variety of art-making activities taking place in the city of Somerville, Massachusetts." The organization's yearly budget is appx. $34,000 (as of 2012).[9]

Somerville Open Studios is managed by a board of directors composed primarily of participating artists. An executive committee is formed each year to organize the event, usually under the direction of one or more coordinators. This committee is assisted by approximately fifty dedicated volunteers and over one hundred on-site helpers during the event itself.[10]


  1. ^ "SOS Largest in NE, 3rd largest in US". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "SOS History". Retrieved 13 March 2013. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "history" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "history" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Trolleys, Info Kiosks, &c" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Volunteer Art Show". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Chocolate in Somerville". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "SOS Annual Budget". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  10. ^ "SOS 2013 Org Chart". Retrieved 13 March 2013.

External links[edit]