Cupcakes are Coming: Arlington Native Makes a Sweet Return at Open Studios


“My favorite moments are watching people take their first bite of our cupcakes, and talking with them about our mission to generate funds for Arts education. The stories we hear from clients and event guests about the role the Arts have played in their lives, or their children’s lives, remind us daily of the importance and significance of our mission. ”

As ACA begins ramping up for Open Studios – one of our biggest events of the year – we have been lucky enough to have a new addition among our usual 80+ artists and fine crafters that will temporarily set up shop in our building.

Amy Chasan, Arlington native, turned herself into a woman of many trades; an artist, activist, and a businesswoman. With the start of her bakery, Sweet Generation, Amy has created a truly inspiring business model that we at ACA feel empowered to share with our community.

Sweet Generation is an online bakery that creates beautifully crafted treats for purchase in the New York City area, while also providing a customizing option for businesses and organizations. While it is easy to go through the gallery of the many delectable desserts that can be ordered, it is important to not overlook what makes Sweet Generation such an important company – a portion of every sale goes towards Arts Education.

Sweet Generation has had an incredible start thus far. Amy has catered events for celebrities like Wyclef Jean and Sheryl Sandberg, as well as galas for nonprofits like Citizen Schools at NYC’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, Sweet Generation has won the 2013 New Challenge for Social Innovation for their work.

Amy discussed her childhood growing up in Arlington and how it shaped her interest in Arts Education. She looked back on memories of attending Bright Start after school and the Arlington Boys & Girls Club for summer camp, going on to eventually get her first job there as a camp counselor and end up getting her Arts Teaching License. She goes on to explain, “Weekends doing art projects and baking with my mom truly cultivated my creativity and made me realize my love of the arts.”

This won’t be the first time Amy has utilized her talents to give back to ACA – this past year Amy generously created custom cupcakes for our Silver! ACA’s 25th Anniversary Gala Celebration.

We are thrilled to have Amy’s delicious assortment of cupcakes make another appearance at this year’s Open Studios, which are available for pre-order to help support ACA and can be picked up at the event. 15% of the proceeds will go towards Arts Education for kids and teens at ACA.

We hope to see you at the event and helping to support ACA through Sweet Generation. As it was well articulated by Amy herself, “… who doesn’t love a cupcake with a cause?!”

More information about Arlington Open Studios can be found HERE as well as a sneak peek of what will be seen at the event.

Arlington Open Studios 2012 – the best yet!

Thanks to everyone who made Arlington Open Studios 2012 the best yet – Artists, Visitors, Volunteers, everybody – we can’t do it without you!

We heard so many great comments this year about the quality & variety of our artists and awesome musicians, the delicious food from our friends at Arlington’s flora restaurant , and the happy, fun, community vibe and spirit of the whole weekend.

Here’s a few of our favorite photos from the weekend:

Howard Lizotte’s encaustic paintings and Gloria Jewel Leitner’s photographs made the Atrium pop with vibrant color.

The Wicked Pickers performing their unique blend of jazz/swing/bluegrass & country music… a great sound and a fun soundtrack for Open Studios on Saturday!

Grace Schust (far left) came all the way from New Hampshire to participate in AOS. The paint on her brand new piece, “Surfacing,” was still drying the night before Open Studios!

Viewing all that artwork makes you hungry! Luckily, Arlington’s flora restaurant was on the scene, with Bob Sargent’s legendary flora faire!

The lovely Eileen deRosas with her beautiful ceramics. The next day, Eileen was off to Viet Nam for an artist residency – congratulations Eileen!

Batik artist Leora Mallach explaining the batik process to some Arlington Open Studios visitors.

A vibrant, seasonal display of pumpkin artwork by Lisa O’Connell.

Everyone got into the art-making act in our “Big Draw” room, joining up with “The Big Draw” Festival, celebrating drawing around the world with events all through October.

Arlington’s favorite Greek potter, Mike Stratatkis gave entertaining pottery wheel demos in the Gibbs Gallery. Does Mike look familiar? Maybe you know him from his “day job,” running My Brother’s Place Pizza on Broadway in Arlington!

The next big ceramics artist…! This little gal had a blast at Arlington Open Studios!

There’s more!
See the whole Arlington Open Studios Slideshow online.

We hope to see you for next year’s event, always the third weekend in October!

Open Studios Inspiration, part 2: Happy Reunions

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the story of a child’s sidewalk chalk drawing that Henry Olds transformed into a work of “Pattern Play” art, and we then selected to be the iconic image for Arlington Open Studios 2011.

We had the chance to catch up with chalk artist Leah Lombardi and photographer Henry Olds during Open Studios weekend, when they reunited at Open Studios to celebrate their unique creative collaboration.

Leah and Henry at Arlington Open Studios

We first caught up with Leah and her family in the Gibbs Gallery, where Henry’s photograph was on display as part of the Open Studios group exhibition.  Leah was thrilled to be known as the creative inspiration behind Henry’s work, and to see the piece on display in a real gallery!

As we talked, we discovered that Leah and her friend Sara had both taken classes at ACA, and especially loved their “Art Explorers” class with Pam Shanley, ACA’s Open Studios Director, Facilities Manager, and popular art teacher.  It was another happy reunion at Arlington Open Studios!

Sara, Pam and Leah - students and teacher reunited at Arlington Open Studios

Arlington Open Studios: A Success!

           The Arlington Center for the Arts was bustling with artists and art-lovers this weekend for their annual Open Studio. 80 artists came together to display their art to be sold to festival goers. A collection of new and old artists, the weekend encompassed all that ACA is about – the presence of art in the community.

            Connie Mooney, a new artist to Open Studio, discussed her stress leading up to the weekend. With her table and adjacent wall covered in her homemade jewelry around her, she stated, “I couldn’t stop making things, just in case.” It was clear that this new artist was someone to keep an eye on, as she explained that after registering for Open Studio, she was offered to teach a Mala Bead workshop at ACA.

            The Mala Bead workshop will entail the class to create mala necklaces and bracelets for themselves, or even to be given as gifts. Woven into the mala necklace and bracelet making will be the history of the Mala beads, as well as a short meditation practice. The workshop will show students how they can use Mala beads as a means to bring peace and serenity into one’s own life. The workshop will be $40 and will take place on Saturday, November 12th from 3 to 5pm for Teens ages 13 to 16 and Friday, November 18th from 7 to 9pm for adults. To register for this workshop, please call (781) 648-6220.

            Henry Olds was also in attendance for his third year at Open Studio, as well. His work, based heavily on the patterns one can see in everyday life, was the “face” for this year’s Open Studio. A piece that depicted a pattern of colorful blocks was used on each Open Studio flyer and generated positive feedback. Inspired by his young neighbor who had been working on a chalk pattern in her driveway, Olds took a photograph of her uncompleted work and manipulated it into the picture that would eventually be on display in the Gallery. “I see things and I want to emphasize the pattern,” he states.

            In the Gallery, festival goers were lucky enough to get a live demonstration thanks to Mike Stratakis, local potter and pizza shop owner. Onlookers discussed how mesmerizing it was to watch Stratakis form perfect clay pots, mugs, bowls and cups in such a short amount of time right before their eyes.

            The children onlookers were the most amazed. There was consistently a group of children huddled around the pottery wheel, watching in astonishment as they called out suggestions and Stratakis would create it all for them. “It’s like magic!” one girl exclaimed. “It is magic,” Stratakis responded, never taking his eyes off of his work.

            The Open Studio weekend was a great success, allowing the local artists and the community to continue to show their appreciation for the arts. If you would like to get involved with ACA, please go to to see how!

Behind the design… introducing Henry Olds, Jr. and an unexpected artistic inspiration

We’ve been getting a lot of compliments on this year’s Arlington Open Studios postcard design, and wanted to share a great “story behind the story” about the colorful image we’ve been using in the graphics for AOS 2011 (and in our blog header, above!).

The colorful image in the card is a digitally manipulated photograph created by Arlington artist Henry Olds, Jr.  Henry has exhibited in Arlington Open Studios for the past several years, and last year won an award for “Best Use of Technology” for a piece in ACA’s Annual “Images of Arlington” Exhibit.

Henry Olds, Jr. at Arlington Open Studios, October 2010

Henry uses a process he calls “Patternplay,” digitally manipulating a single-image photograph (or piece of a photograph) to create colorful, rhythmic prints, often creating compositions that bear little resemblance to the original image.

Part of the fun in looking at Henry’s work is trying to figure out what the original image was that he used to create the piece.  So when we selected Henry’s image for the Open Studios postcard, we just had to ask…

“Where did this image come from…?”

Can you guess the source of this pattern play image by Henry Olds, Jr.?

Here’s what Henry told us: “The pattern I used for the print was actually created by a young girl who lives across the street from me. She was using chalks to color the pavers on her front walk. First, I took several pictures of her at work. Then I realized that I should take a picture of the pattern itself for my own pattern play purposes. It did work out very nicely!”

The "before" shot -- Henry's neighbor at work on her chalk drawing.

Want to see more?

View Henry’s artwork on his website.

Visit Henry (and 80+ other local artists!) at Arlington Open Studios 2011, October 15 & 16, 12 noon – 5:00 pm.