Inside the Artist's Studio with Art Central

Visual Arts


As the summer months encroach in all their boiling fury, more and more artists and cultural institutions are standing up to the notion of “off-season” with programs and offerings for their year-round supporters. This includes the members of Art Central, a burgeoning collection of local artists looking to grow in the community, which hosts its monthly Open Studio session this Saturday, June 30, from 11am to 4pm.

“The people who live here all year like to go out and involve themselves in the culture,” says Wayne Eastep, a professional photographer and member of Art Central. Alongside painters Lucy Barber and Kathy Wright—the other two members of Art Central living in Sarasota full-time—the trio will open their studios and showrooms on Central Avenue this weekend, allowing any and all to wander or stumble in, ask questions or just peruse as they please.

In preparation for these monthly open studio sessions, participating artists strive to prepare new work and new collections (in addition to cleaning up a wee bit, laughs Eastep). For Eastep, that means printing and framing a new series based on finding art in architecture, which means much more than just looking for pretty buildings. “They happen to be connected to architecture,” he says of his subjects, “but they are abstract, and isolated out in a way that celebrates shape, form, line and all the ingredients artists use to make art.” A professional photographer who retired from globetrotting on assignment to recently open a studio, Eastep has photographed in 125 countries, and mines all of those, as well as recent work, for his exhibitions.

Importantly, says Eastep, all members of Art Central are working, professional artists, not hobbyists, and visitors will see a studio set up for real production. But while the open studios might contain a certain necessary marketing component, that’s not what the day focuses on. “We’re not out there selling,” says Eastep, who prefers to let the art, the price tag and the consumer work out that equation on their own. “We’re just available,” he says, for conversation or a question or even just a nod and a handshake. “Here we are,” he says. “This is where we work, this is what we do and we’re glad you came by.”

Art Central Open Studios with Lucy Barber, Wayne Eastep and Kathy Wright is this Saturday, June 30, from 11am to 4pm at the artists’ studios at 1330-1340 Central Avenue, between 13th and 14th streets.

Pictured: "Shaker Spiral Staircase" by Wayne Eastep.

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