CalArts prepares for this weekend’s Open Studios Day

Student Casey Baden describes the naturally dyed textiles in her studio at CalArts which will be part of the CalArts Open Studios event in April. Dan Watson/The Signal

Residents of the Santa Clarita Valley and its surrounding communities are invited to Sunday’s Open Studios Day at California Institute of the Arts, where the public will have the opportunity to enjoy performances, video art screenings and other exhibited works crafted by the graduating students of CalArts.

The annual event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the school located in Valencia. It is free and open to the public, according to school officials, who added there will be food, drinks and other fun activities available for those in attendance.

Participants in this year’s event said the critique of power structures is central to the work that will be featured this year, and student Claire Chambless, a working artist who will open her studio to the public Sunday, said the event is an opportunity for people to ask artists questions about the pieces they’ve created.

Student Claire Chambless describes her works in progress in her studio at CalArts in preparation for the CalArts Open Studios event in April. Dan Watson/The Signal

The first-year Master of Fine Arts student mentioned she’ll display some artwork from a mid-residency show in January and she’s excited because, often times when pieces are in an exhibition, the artist isn’t around to help the public digest what they’re seeing or discuss the messages behind the art.

Chambless said during a preview of the event that she uses found objects to talk about the intertwined relationship of sexual politics and economics, and other topics pertinent to the interactions between women and their male counterparts.

“Beauty is a form of capital in our society and assumptions are made about people based on that because there are these overarching concepts about the definitions of beauty and cultural standards of aesthetics,” Chambless said. “I’m questioning why is this a good piece of art and this isn’t. Who determined that and why? So, it’s about trying to subvert those ideas and draw attention to the bias that goes into to determining what is aesthetic.”

Student Casey Baden describes the vintage fabrics in her studio at CalArts which will be part of her art exhibit at the CalArts Open Studios event in April. Dan Watson/The Signal

Fellow Master of Fine Arts Student Casey Baden said she’s “very excited” for Open Studios Day because it’s an opportunity for people across Southern California to come and meet artists who are in the early stages of their career, and potentially provide feedback on the various pieces that are on display during the student-run event.

“The more viewers the better,” said Baden, who works with textiles and natural dyes to create photographic images and other artistic pieces.

Both Baden and Chambless said they hope people involved in the Los Angeles art scene will make their way to campus and provide feedback about what pieces are most interesting.

Chambless added the day is also a unique opportunity for the public, especially once one considers how many influential artists have graduated from CalArts and have worked in the same buildings the public will tour Sunday.

“I find it really interesting as one of the participating artists to see the work of my peers because these people will go on to do great things and it’s interesting to see how it starts,” Chambless said. “Most of us are actively exhibiting in L.A. and elsewhere and have been doing it professionally, so it’s sort of an interesting opportunity to see a lot of artist who are dedicated to their practices and at the same stage.”

“It can definitely be inspirational for those in the community to see you can definitely do with this your life,” Baden added, “and not just as a hobby.”

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