SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) – With beautiful beaches and lush redwood forests, Santa Cruz has long been home to a vibrant community of artists.
Artist studios are scattered across the county, and for the first time since the start of the pandemic, artists reopened their studios this month for a beloved event, the Open Studios Art Tour.
The public is invited to meet more than 100 artists and see how their creations are made this weekend.
“Open Studios is a wonderful event and we have so many talented artists in our community,” said oil painter Janet Ferraro.
The annual event has connected art lovers and artists for more than three decades. But the pandemic put it on hiatus for two years.
While isolating themselves socially, artists were busy drawing, painting, sculpting and working with metal. The artists told KRON4 they were excited to finally be able to show off everything they’ve been working on and reconnect with their community.
Ferraro has loved horses since she was little. She uses a technique called “knife painting” to sculpt the texture of her oil paintings and give galloping horses impressions of movement.
Ferraro said a highlight for opening his studio was seeing the joy on the girls’ faces when they are surrounded by dozens of paintings of their favorite animal.
Sam Wenger is a native of Santa Cruz who learned from his father how to hand-make steel and leather lotus chairs.
“My dad designed the chairs in the ’60s and’ 70s. He wanted to go with a simplistic, ergonomic design,” Sam Wenger said.
For Sam Wenger, casting steel and cutting leather is an old-fashioned profession he is proud to pursue in his family’s family garage.
“Personally, the pandemic has freed up a lot of time to focus energy and effort on the process of creating the chairs and the art. But it also took away any kind of connection to the community. All fairs, art exhibitions and events have been canceled in the past 18 months. So it’s really nice to have this opportunity to connect with the audience, ”said Sam Wenger.
Like Wenger, Ferraro said she spent much more time at home with her family during the pandemic. Her passion for painting has helped her focus and stay positive through difficult times.
“I found it really important to try to rise above and be in a positive position as much as possible,” Ferraro said.