WATCH NOW: Studios at 16e rue de Racine Host Open House and Art Market | Entertainment

Artist Missy Isely-Poltrock talks about the December 4th Open House at 16th Street Art Studios in Racine.

RACINE – There are two things to know about Saturday’s open house at 16th Street Studios at Racine Arts and Business Center:

  • The resident artists are delighted to welcome the public to visit their studios.
  • There is no pressure to buy anything.

“I don’t see this as a sales event,” said Rebecca Bissi. “It’s just a really nice way to welcome people to come and see a working art studio. We missed it in 2020, and I can’t wait.”

Bissi works from a 1,200 square foot studio on the fourth floor that offers ample space for her large-scale works.

She started by painting flowers – which she still does – and also creates 3D works by hammering carpenter’s nails into canvas and adding Swarovski crystals.

“I’m really in love with the shadow play on these pieces, which really changes depending on the light,” she said.

Bissi is a retired fashion designer, as evidenced by the two dresses on display in her studio, and uses the large windows in her spacious studio.

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Beside, Maureen Fritchen proudly calls herself “an environmental artist; one of those garbage can divers ”.

Her workshop is full of colors thanks to the pink and aqua polyurethane foam that she uses to create her pieces.

“I’m using materials that are going to be thrown away,” Fritchen said. “Instead, I reuse it for art.”

If you look closely, you will see that it also uses zipper ties and expired test tubes in its parts.

“When COVID hit,” she added with a laugh, “I sat at the house and cut all this foam material.”

The open house event, said Fritchen, “is a great opportunity to talk about your art with people. It’s all about having fun.”

Visitors interested in history should wander the fourth-floor hallway to find Sarah Bloom’s studio, which houses a 1901 platinum press.

“I found this press owned by a 90-year-old retired printer,” Bloom said. “It had been untouched for several years in northern Wisconsin. I got it in March, deep cleaned it and bought new parts. They don’t make them anymore, so finding parts is a problem. challenge. Glad to have it here instead of having it end up in a dump. “

During the open house, Bloom – whose studio was used by her mother, Bissi, until she moved into larger digs – “will be doing printing demonstrations, and people can do prints and bring one home. This is my first open house here, and I’m very excited for it. “

Greg Helding has been setting up a studio in the historic building since 2004 and has seen “empty spaces turn into studios”.

“I love working here with so many artists around,” he said in his third floor space, filled with his contemporary paintings. “It’s such a collaborative place. Plus, it’s warm and cozy here – and we have elevators.”

Gallery exhibition

Artist Missy Isely-Poltrock has been working in space for two years and is delighted “to see this building come back to life for the open house”.

In addition to her works, she also organized an exhibition for the second floor gallery, featuring works by resident artists.

“This gallery had been closed for a while and I volunteered to put on an exhibition,” she said. “I had never put on a show before, and it’s fun to see what everyone brought.”

His own works are abstract collages that often feature images of angels.

“I think there are all kinds of angel signs in the world,” she explained, “and I like bringing them to people’s attention.”

As for the historic building itself, Isely-Poltrock even loves the smell of the place, which has been home to various businesses for over 150 years.

“I love this space,” she said. “It has that ‘old building’ smell, and I love the energy of the place and all the people here. I’m really happy in my little corner studio.”

For Jennifer Evans, who works in her Periwinkle Art Studio in the building, Saturday’s event “should be fun. It’s always fun whenever you get the chance to show people your art. It’s the first time. that I’m here for the holiday event, and I’ve heard nothing but good things. “

Evans, who works in mixed media, doing flowers and abstracts (and, often, a combination of the two), said the timing for the open house was perfect.

“Here we are, on the cusp of the holiday season, about to host this event. It will be so great.”

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