A brief interview with 2016 Open Studio Tour artist: Kathy Strauss


Kathy Strauss in her studio.

Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do in your studio?
I am a fiber artist and printmaker, and my work is largely informed by my other career as a laboratory scientist. Recently I have been making block prints embroidered with structures related to the printed image, along with monotypes layered with mathematics that describe the image.
Undercurrents 6, Oyster Toad by Kathy Strauss


What drew you to the medium(s) that you are currently working with?

I love the immediacy of monotypes, and I love making block prints and then seeing how many variations on each of the same print I can make by the addition of embroidery.

A brief interview with 2016 Open Studio Tour artist: Lania D’Agostino


Artwork by Lania D’Agostino

Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do in your studio?

I do figurative sculpture, some are from live models others are smaller figures sculpt in clay and cast in resin. I have a studio just for painting that is overflowing with figurative paintings in bright colors. I use mostly oil paint and charcoal.
Artwork by Lania D’Agostino

What drew you to the medium(s) that you are currently working with?

I have been sculpting and casting figures for the museum industry for over 20 years so I am well versed in the figure. Some of the sculptures I do now use the same materials and techniques that I’ve learned in my business. The direction that I’ve been going with these sculptures are based on social issues such as transgender and gender variance awareness, homelessness and Black Lives Matter.
With the sculptures I need to have the direction and intent of the work first but with the paintings they are a direct painting process that is more of a spiritual journey. I usually learn their stories after they are finished.

Get the inside story on Baltimore’s arts council, events agency and film office and how it operates with executive director Bill Gilmore.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the history of BOPA and how it came to be the organization that is today.

A. In the 1970s, the office was originally known as the Baltimore Office of Promotion & Tourism because we managed the tourism business back when there really wasn’t a lot of tourism product in Baltimore. Things were just getting started at the Inner Harbor, before Harbor Place, the only things that were down there were the Constellation and the Science Center. Then when the Convention Center was built, they established what was called the Baltimore Convention Bureau, which managed meetings and conventions. In the late 80’s, the Convention Bureau took over the tourism function to create the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, so we dropped the “T” and operated as the Baltimore Office of Promotion for a number of years. During the O’Malley administration in the early 2000’s, we added the “A” by combining the Mayor’s Advisory Committee of Arts and Culture with our office to become The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and when you began working at BOPA?

A. I started in 1980 as a graphic designer. I was recently out of the Master’s program at the University of Baltimore and was hired as a part-time graphic artist. Over the course of time, I moved into the art director position, then the opportunity came to become what was then the promotions director, responsible for all the special events. I became the deputy director in the late 1980s, and during the Schmoke administration I was appointed director. So it was a combination of right place, right time, and opportunity.

Q. What does BOPA do specifically for artists and cultural organizations in Baltimore?

A. Obviously we’re a funder, and we’ve been very fortunate to have secured the resources to support programs like the Transformative Art Prize, the Sondheim Prize, our newly created Municipal Art Society Public Art Prize, and the City’s Creative Baltimore Fund. We have programs and grant dollars to actually commission work from artists, and through our events like Artscape, Light City, and the Book Festival, we are able to engage the arts community through commissions, programming and performances. We hire a lot of arts educators to staff Bright StARTs and our other arts education initiatives. Every day we get emails or the phone rings from artists or arts organizations that are looking for resources, advice, or opportunities to collaborate.

Q. With only a 50-person staff, how does BOPA manage to coordinate all of its programs? (more than 30) while serving as the city’s arts council, events agency and film office?

A. The dedication of the staff, without question, is the #1 ingredient to make all of our programs successful, because you can administer a lot of things and not have the success and positive outcome that we have. People tend to really get into the rhythm of the organization and events that we do annually and seasonally and enjoy making such a positive impact. Our job is to provide a diversity of opportunity, fun events and educational programming. It has a profound impact on the quality of life for the people who are living here and working here, and brings joy to people who are visiting. So, it’s a lot of work, don’t discount that, but I think the team effort and positive outcome is what motivates us and keeps things moving forward.

Q. What is the most rewarding thing about being BOPA’s Executive Director? Would you say it’s contributing to the positive impact on the city and quality of life?

A. Yes, on many different levels. I think a lot of people don’t realize the jobs that we help facilitate. I mentioned the artists and performers that we hire, but that has a lot of residual effects to secondary spending. A big part of our budget goes into the local economy, and we’re providing job security for a lot of artists. And I think it’s rewarding just in its diversity, we do so many different things and there’s always that next big event.

 Q. What is your favorite thing about Baltimore?

A. Baltimore is a wonderful place to live. Its geography, being on the water in the mid-Atlantic region, it’s close to so many different things. I think that the pride that people have for the city manifests itself in so many unique ways artistically, but also there’s a sense of camaraderie and collaboration here. I’ve heard so often from people that have moved here how thrilled they are with how people are nice and want you to succeed. People really want to work together and see things through collaboratively.

Q. What is one thing that you like to do in your free time that people might not know?

A. I like to play with my dog, Archie, a black lab rescue.

Q. What exciting things does BOPA have coming down the pipeline in the future?

A. Light City returns for its second year in March. And hopefully, we’ll be producing an Orioles celebration for the winning of the World Series this year. We last had one in 1983.



A brief interview with 2016 Open Studio Tour artist: Lyndie Vantine


Sluice by Lyndie Vantine

Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do in your studio?

Every artist who approaches the genre of landscape – whether rural or urban – trods a well-worn path of traditional motifs and solutions by many artists who have created before her. By creating abstracted landscapes that exist somewhere between the illustrative and the sculptural, I try to push headlong into an overexposed genre in an attempt to discover something new.
Heal by Lyndie Vantine

What drew you to the medium(s) that you are currently working with?
I’ve long held a fascination with how painting could leave the 2-D surface and create something “more physical” by inclusion of the third dimension. The form of my works allow me to explore many types of “scapes.”
Eventide by Lyndie Vantine

What is something that you think is unique about your studio or practice?

I build all of my understructures and do the shaped canvas work myself.

What is one thing you love about being an artist in Baltimore?

It mirrors the individualistic nature of the neighborhoods of the city. There are “pockets” of artists, all ages, styles, galleries, etc., each contributing their own unique ideas to the art scene whole. Love the possibility in that idea.
Connections by Lyndie Vantine

What are you most excited about for this year’s Open Studio Tour?

I missed it last year while on a trip to New Mexico. Mostly love the direct interaction with people who come to the studio, conversation, new connections, new information.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just a thank you to School 33 for continuing to coordinate this event. It is a great opportunity to artists and visitors alike.
Untitled 2 by Lyndie Vantine

Thanks, Lyndie!

You can check out Lyndie Vantine’s studio in the Cork Factory, located at 302 E Federal St. Her studio will be open on both Saturday & Sunday (Oct. 8 & 9) between 10am-6pm.

A brief interview with 2016 Open Studio Tour artist: Bruce McKaig


Bruce McKaig’s studio

Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do in your studio?
My work has always been process driven, initially exploring material qualities: pouring things on to photo paper, successive doses of light, hand coloring, intervening as much as possible. In my forties, I almost revisited teenage thoughts of being a photojournalist when I combined pinhole and time-lapse techniques to photograph people doing what they do, mostly working. That exploration produced images, objects, and projections increasingly channeled through public art projects. As part of my first public art project in 2001, I produced 1000 DVDs and handed them out on the streets. As my art became increasingly public art, ever process driven, I started to directly examine the processes of public art and subsequently, finance and economics. I have been a visual artist for nearly forty years, and have a Masters degree from Georgetown University in international affairs with a concentration in economics.

Artwork by Bruce McKaig

What drew you to the medium(s) that you are currently working with?
Photography started for me as a child on Sunday afternoons between the Wonderful World of Disney and family vacation slides. The slides were accompanied with stories and eventually they replaced my memories. I now remember being in a living room with screen, shag carpeting and a milkshake more than ever being at Hoover Dam or on a farm in Alabama. Between Disney and family vacation photos, I grew up with ample examples of how well photography makes up it’s own reality.

What is something that you think is unique about your studio or practice?
Building on nearly forty years of exploring the visual arts, I have most recently turned to socioeconomic issues as the primary subject matter for the works. My images, videos, participatory sculptures and performances now examine issues of labor, income inequality, education, incarceration. I am a 2016 Fellow in the New Economy Maryland program (Institute for Policy Studies) where I research on funding practices and policies in the arts. In addition, I have been awarded the 2016 Engagement Grant Award (Crusade for Art) to build a barter network in Baltimore amongst artists and tradespeople.
Artwork by Bruce McKaig

What is one thing you love about being an artist in Baltimore?
I moved to Baltimore summer 2015, and continue to appreciate how welcoming and diverse the city is to new comers. In addition to the rich visual and performing arts (music!), Baltimore explores a number of alternative models to bring art and people together, which aligns well with my research on funding practices in the arts.
Artwork by Bruce McKaig

What are you most excited about for this year’s Open Studio Tour?
As well as meeting new people and introducing them to my studio and practice, I am most excited to use the open studio days to share details about the barter network with artists and workers that I am building thanks to the Engagement Grant award, hoping to connect with people who would like to participate.

A brief interview with 2016 Open Studio Tour artist: Ashley Milburn
Sun Horse by Ashley Milburn

What is something that you think is unique about your studio or practice?
My studio has door sized windows overlooking our garden.

Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do in your studio?
My studio is a work/love space (More work, than live). It’s not a mini-gallery, more example of where my focus is, was, will be.
A brief interview with 2016 Open Studio Tour Artist: Paul Moscatt
Fred Lazarus by Paul Moscatt

Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do in your studio?:
Portrait and Figure Painting, Plein Air Landscape Painting. I work in Oil and Acrylic.
I work directly from the model or the landscape. I many times work with a group painting along side students while conducting figure, portrait and landscape classes. The studio supplies extra easels and tables and a changing schedule of models. We also work from musicians who will be playing their instruments while posing.
What drew you to the medium(s) that you are currently working with?:
My education in the Cooper Union Art School and Yale University Art School gave me a good background in abstract and representational painting. Major consideration was given the oil and acrylic mediums and the archival use of these mediums. I favor working in oil for figurative work but I also like the adventure possibility inherent in using acrylics.


What is something that you think is unique about your studio or practice?:
My experience. I am a retired Professor who taught painting and drawing at MICA since 1966. My studio is an activity center for painting and drawing, both representational and abstract painting. I conduct figure, portrait, landscape and color sessions and I paint along side the student and leading a critique session after each class.
The studio has an immense amount of my work to be seen, work which I have produced since the early 60’s. Though the vast concentration is now observational and representational, there are many large works which are more conceptual involving a personal self portrait narrative.


What is one thing you love about being an artist in Baltimore?:
Baltimore is a great place for artists to work. It especially has excellent studio and exhibition spaces. An active group of artists, young and old along with the other arts – actors and musicians form a large cultural base.
It’s art institutions including MICA, Peabody, the Walters Art Gallery, the Baltimore Museum are world renowned. It is also closely situated to Washington, DC with its great Art Institutions.
Marian by Paul Moscatt

What are you most excited about for this year’s Open Studio Tour?:
Preparing the studio for the tour is a major part of the Open Studio event. This requires a lot of work for me, cleaning, organizing, getting together a display of my work.
Opening the studio becomes social event, an enjoyable opportunity to welcome and entertain old and new friends. I like to put out a nice spread and supply ample beverages to promote a party atmosphere. This also happens throughout our building which has a number of other artists so it is fun and very social to visit and connect with your fellow artists which of course includes break bread and sampling their wine.
The tour also brings new people into the studio, new people to see my work and become familiar with my teaching sessions. And then there is the possibilities of moving some work, selling to new and old visitors to my studio.
This whole process of being part of the studio tour allows me to gain further insights into my own work. Perhaps that’s the greatest benefit of all.
Is there anything else you would like to add?:

The Paul Moscatt Studio welcomes artists experienced or not who want to work with the figure, portrait, color or landscape. These are work session classes with optional critiques at the end of the session. The fees are reasonable and the student chooses what individual sessions they want to attend.

The Paul Moscatt Studio also accepts interns who would benefit from the studio experience while earning school credit. They can participate in studio classes without charge and the time is credited to their obligatory intern hours.

Individual visits to the studio can be arranged after the Open Studio Tour has occurred.


Paul Moscatt Studio will be open from 10am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday (October 8 & 9) of this year’s Studio Tour! Moscatt’s studio is located on the 3rd floor of The Cork Factory: 1601 N Guilford Ave., be sure to check it out this year!