Open Studio dc offers classes and facilities for Washington area screen printers 

Continuing to Learn with Carolyn Hartmann and Open Studio dc

The Washington metro area has no shortage of arts education opportunities for those interested in furthering their skills or knowledge. Many of these are in the form of classes and workshops through various area arts institution, colleges, and universities. For those looking for more affordable and flexible experiences, however, options can be more limited.

Carolyn Hartmann is the founder of Open Studio dc, a printmaking studio initiative that focuses on providing flexible, affordable educational opportunities and facilities for budding printmakers. “About a year ago, I started Open Studio dc, a screen printing studio for artists. I felt like there was a need for a studio in DC where experienced screen printers could either work on their own or take a short class for a few hours on a weekend.  Many of our students are complete beginners, while others are artists who took a few screen printing classes in art school and just need a brief refresher course,” says Hartmann.

Hartmann’s desire to open the studio stemmed from her experiences looking for new opportunities in learning and practicing printmaking. Hartmann continues, “About 12 years ago, when I was a burnt-out lawyer in DC looking for art classes, I found that there were a surprising number of options available in DC - the Corcoran, the Art League, Pyramid Atlantic. The hard part was figuring out which institution was offering what I was looking for - what was the best fit for me?” Hartmann found it in the Corcoran College of Art’s Continuing Education program. After her education with the Corcoran, she sought to address the dearth of approachable printmaking education and studio resources in the city. “Some people aren't interested in or able to commit to 14, or more, weeks of classes. They might prefer a less intensive program or just a fun weekend activity, and that's what I offer at Open Studio dc,” she said.

Open Studio dc seeks to address not only a need for new education options in printmaking, but also studio space for the medium. Hartmann underscored the importance of its availability, “Affordable, safe, clean studio space where artists who have completed their classes can go do their work is really important. Many artists, especially young artists, can't afford to sign a multi-year lease for a studio. Many art institutions require artists to be enrolled in a class to use their studio space, which is understandable, but what happens when you have completed the classes and just want to go make art? Some art mediums like painting or drawing can easily be done in the home, but mediums like printmaking, ceramics or photography require more space and expensive equipment. Open Studio dc allows screen printers to come work on their own at a reasonable price.”

Hartmann suggested that individuals looking for educational opportunities in the district turn to the community. “My best advice for anyone looking for art classes in DC is yes, do the on-line research, but also reach out to artists and neighbors who have taken classes around town and see what they like. Word of mouth information was the most helpful to me when I was looking. I didn't know that many artists, but the artists I did know, were pretty well informed about what was available and very happy to help.”

Open Studio dc has a new series of fall classes that begin September 9. For more information and a full listing of courses, visit their website here.

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August 23, 2012