LYNN — On Saturday, for one day only, artists and vendors in the Lydia Pinkham building opened their doors to the public, in cooperation with the Beyond Walls Festival and Lynn Arts. Painters, upholsterers, glassblowers, event decorators, and a variety of vendors were able to share their magic with locals and those who traveled to view their work.
Debbie and Charlie Hughes heard about the event through a friend who lives in the North Shore area. The Hughes drove from North Andover so they wouldn’t miss it. They had never visited the building or any of its vendors before and they were intrigued at the idea of a communal home for artists and craftsmen.
“We walked in the door only a few minutes ago,” said Debbie Hughes. “I’m already excited to see what they have going on here.”
Siblings Alex and Bill Bitopoulos roamed around the building and visited all the open rooms they could find. They stopped to check out the Lydia Pinkham building, after hearing about it via Facebook, before they went on a downtown tour to admire all the new murals. The siblings grew up in Lynn but had not been back for a number of years. Alex Bitopoulos said she’s excited to see all the city’s improvements and the arts and culture being dispersed throughout the new downtown.
“It doesn’t even feel like the same city I was raised in,” said Bill Bitopoulos.
Gladys Lopez and Vicente Disla own a number of studios in the building. They run Disla Art School, Upholstery and Friends, and The Most Valuable Creations. Lopez and Disla renew old pieces of furniture, sell original paintings, and create unique centerpieces and party favors for a growing list of clients.
Lopez and Disla met while working at Lydia Pinkham. Her son and his nephew attended the same karate class, which used to be held in the building. Lopez credits many of the positive things in her life to the facility, where she’s created a network of both colleagues and friends.
“You can combine with the other neighbors working in the studios next to you and everyone always helps each other out,” said Lopez. “It builds a sense of community.”
Alex Ginches, of Melrose, acquired his own glassblowing studio in the building only four months ago, and had a number of intricate pieces on display for the one-day event. Ginches said he wasn’t totally prepared for all the visitors, but he made it happen, even selling a few pieces of his work.
Kathleen and Eric Gendron, of Ravenstone’s handmade gifts and curiosities, joined the Lydia Pinkham community three months ago. Their studio was packed with visitors intrigued in seeing what they had to offer, including crystals and hand-bedazzled skulls.
“It’s an extension of our home,” said Eric Gendron.