Volume 16 • Issue 48 | APRIL 23-29, 2004

Take a tour of artists’ studios with ‘TOAST’

By Janel Bladow

Want an up-close and personal look at how an artist works? Would you like to mingle and talk with painters and sculptors about where they get their ideas? Or are you just looking for a fun way to spend a spring weekend Downtown?

This weekend, you can have it all. The 8th annual Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour or (T.O.A.S.T.) is open to art lovers, collectors and the just plain curious.

More than 100 Downtown artists and galleries will open their studios, showrooms and workspace/homes to the public for a hands-on look see at how and where the artist works. The art walk runs this weekend, Sat through Mon, April 24 – 26, from 1 to 6 p.m.

This insider’s tour takes you into studios of Tribeca painters, photographers, sculptors and mixed media artists. Works range from the large-scale oil paintings of Grand Central Station by Susan Kimber, free-hand drawings by CJ Collins to collage paintings of giraffes by Tommy Tune. The spaces are as intriguing as the art – everything from basements to lofts, individual home studios to communal work spaces.

“It’s a great chance to meet and talk to today’s artists and see what’s happening in the art community downtown,” says T.O.A.S.T. co-founder Regina Silvers, a painter whose studio space, White Street Studios, at 50 White Street where she works with six other artists, is also on the tour.

“We get everyone, a real cross-section, from couples with strollers to tourists. “

Last year about 5,000 people visited the various studios and galleries, said Silvers.

“It’s a fun way for visitors and the community to come together and enjoy what our neighborhood has to offer,” she said.

The tour is free and an informal do-it-yourself event. Download a map from the website, www.TOASTartwalk.com or pick up one at any of the participating neighborhood restaurants and galleries, including New York Law School, 47 Worth Street, where some of the artists’ works are now on display.

The T.O.A.S.T. tour is a walkable route from Spring St. to Murray St., on a north and south route, and Lafayette St. to Washington St. on an east and west one. Plan your own itinerary based on the art you’d like to see – you can check out thumbnail photos of participating artists’ works on the website – or how much you want to walk.

Then take a bite out of T.O.A.S.T. with a pit stop in an area restaurant. Franklin Station Café, 222 West Broadway at Franklin Street, is running an ongoing artists’ slide show nightly.

T.O.A.S.T. began eight years ago as “Franklin Fest,” when it attracted about 200 visitors. The art walk was expanded and renamed in 2000, to include more of the Tribeca artist community.

“The event raises the awareness of our neighborhood and how the artist works,” said Sliver. “It’s a great way for people who aren’t familiar with art to enjoy and see the creative experience.”

For more information: www.TOASTart walk.com or (212) 479-7323.

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