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Lydia Pinkham Open to artists

Dhwani Jain, right, of Billerica, MA practices making pottery on a wheel with artist Peter Grams at his studio during Open Studios event at the Lydia Pinkham Building in Lynn, MA on Saturday, November 19, 2016. (Alena Kuzub/The Item) (Alena Kuzub)

LYNN — “I feel very organized this year,” said Kirsten Bassion, with a laugh. “I’m very hopeful this year’s Lydia Pinkham Open Studios celebration will be the most successful yet.”

Twelve years ago, Bassion, owner of The Clay School on the third floor of the Pinkham, convinced her fellow artists renting space in the Western Avenue building to open their studios to the public on the same day. About 100 visitors checked out the wares of fewer than 10 artists.

Last year, nearly 1,000 visitors attended and got a jump on their holiday shopping.

The 12th annual Lydia Pinkham Open Studios takes place Saturday and Sunday. Bassion said at least 53 artisans on five floors have signed up to participate. Volunteer guides, a follow-the-blue-tape-route map and a quick reference directory of participating studios will help visitors navigate the labyrinthian maze that is the Pinkham Building.

About a dozen artists from LynnArts in Central Square will also open their studios on Saturday. There is also a theater and music studio at LynnArts worth checking out. And Laurence Howard of the funky Pick Up Modern & More design store has fun events planned that day. A trolley will shuttle attendees to and from the Pinkham building and the downtown all day on Saturday.

“The Beyond Walls mural project is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in Lynn in years,” said Bassion, adding that she’s excited that LynnArts and Pick Up Modern are adding to Saturday’s fun. “That free trolley on Saturday will make it easier for everyone to visit both us at the Pinkham and the LynnArts artists. Add the murals, and there’s lots happening downtown.”

Kate Luchini, former director of the Lynn Cultural District and a member of the planning team, said,”We’ve been trying to connect the Pinkham with the downtown for a long time.”

“The Lynn arts community is an essential part of the city and its future,” added Bassion. She and Lucini, an artist who specializes in enamels with her Digs business partner Tim Hansen, are hopeful city leaders will buy into that vision and link all efforts together.

Lynn Police will relax the resident parking designations near the Pinkham during Open Studio hours both days. The Pinkham building is not handicapped accessible.

Major sponsors include the Lynn Cultural Council, Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development agency, Marblehead bank, RCG and The Clay School.

Bassion said a diverse group of Pinkham artists will participate, including potters, painters, sculptors and glass blowers. “There’s a lot of talent here, and we’re all excited to show off our work.” The Pinkham building is also home to a yoga studio, custom bicycle company and a coffee roaster that will participate. Luchini added that a bakery and pop-up pierogi store will be serving tasty treats and Girl Scouts will be selling yummy things as well.

This year, there is a new website built from scratch by Kim Allison and Kyle Day that is loaded with information about the participating artists: lydiapinkhamopenstudios.com.

Carolyn Cole, director of the Lynn Cultural District, said the trolley will make it easier for visitors to enjoy all the creative talent that exists in the city.

“In addition to all the artists opening their studios at LynnArts and at the Pinkham building, Pick Up Modern & More on Exchange Street is also presenting an Introduction to Micromosaics program by collector Brian McCarthy after the studios have closed for the day,” added Cole. The micromosaics program is on Saturday at 6 p.m. Admission is $15; proceeds will benefit serve the Lynn Cultural District.

Lydia Pinkham Open Studios, 271 Western Ave., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Admission is free. For more information, go to lydiapinkhamopenstudios.com.

LynnArts Open Studios, 25 Exchange St., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information go to LynnMuseum.org.

Pick Up Modern & More, 68 Exchange St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., exhibits, candy-making & more, admission is free; “Intro to Micromosaics” program, 6 p.m., admission $15, RSVP to [email protected]

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