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Get a jump on your holiday shopping with these open studio events

Artists in the South End and Jamaica Plain are setting up for sales this weekend.

Third Craft Pottery, Colorful Splatter Mugs, stoneware clay and food safe glaze. JP Open Studios @ Loring Greenough in Jamaica Plain.Leena Ismail/Third Craft Pottery

Two of Boston’s oldest open studios events — South End Open Studios and Jamaica Plain Open Studios — invite the public behind the scenes this weekend. And Tuesday, Sept. 26, Artists for Humanity, a nonprofit that helps youths pair creativity and entrepreneurship, welcomes visitors to their Open Studio evening. These are just a sampling of more than 20 open studios around Massachusetts this fall.

Studio of David Lloyd Brown at 450 Harrison Ave. Emily Gallardo

South End Open Studios started with a group of 12 artists 37 years ago, said Jenn Sherr, co-chair of United South End Artists, which organizes the event. Since then, it has waxed and waned. About 20 years ago, Open Studios covered 15 artists buildings and more than 250 artists, according to Sherr. Then gentrification drove many artists from the neighborhood.


This year, between 50 and 60 artists in six buildings will welcome visitors. “It’s still a great artists community in the South End, it’s just that artists can’t afford to have studios here,” she said.

If, like me, you’ve visited artists at work in the South End, you know that half the fun is wandering through the warrens of old industrial buildings, turning a corner, and finding a studio filled with beauty and creative energy.

JP Open Studios, around for 30 years, spotlights about 180 artists from Jamaica Plain and beyond — in people’s homes, on porches and driveways, in yards, and in local businesses, according to Susan Duprey, executive director of the Jamaica Plain Arts Council. There will be close to 70 sites to visit, and 30 art installations around town.

“It’s all over the place,” said Duprey. That includes four group areas where artists who don’t live in JP can display their work.

“Nailed It!” by Matthew McKee at JP Open Studios. Matthew McKee

On Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m., Artists for Humanity’s Open Studio evening celebrates the AFH Artists Fellowship Inaugural Cohort, five alumni who have been working with mentor Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs for the last six months. Fellows Amril Foster, Ayana Mack, Kevin Nguyen, Naijah “Nine” Garrett, and Michael Talbot will show work in the “VOICE5,” exhibition, and visitors can tour the studios at the AFH Epicenter.


The inaugural cohort of the AFH Artists Fellowship, exhibiting at "VOICE5" on Sept 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. in The AFH Gallery. From top (from left): Naijah "Nine" Garrett, Michael Talbot, Kevin Nguyen, Rob "ProBlak" Gibbs (Fellowship Mentor), Ayana Mack, Amril Foster, and Nicole Dubov (Fellowship and Alumni Coordinator). Artists For Humanity

Wherever you go to open studios, it’s a peek into artistic process.

“You get to learn what’s behind all of it, what inspired the artists, and to be in the studio where it’s made,” said United South End Artists’ Sherr.

South End Open Studios, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., www.useaboston.com

Jamaica Plain Open Studios, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. https://jpopenstudios.com

Artists for Humanity Open Studio, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 5-7 p.m., AFH Epicenter, 100 West 2nd St. www.afhboston.org/event/open-studio-september-2023

Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com. Follow her on Instagram @cate.mcquaid.