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Four Pioneer Valley artists to hold open studio

  • Ricky Baruc of Orange uses birch and cedar for his rustic illuminators, meditation benches, serving trays and cutting boards. Baruc is one of four artists with work featured at an open studio in Conway on Dec. 8 and 9. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Reed Arahood of Florence works with cardboard and repurposed materials to make art and puppets, like the one shown here. Arahood is one of four artists with work featured at an open studio in Conway on Dec. 8 and 9. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


Staff Report
Sunday, November 25, 2018

Four local artists will sell affordable art for the holidays at Altar Artist Home Studio, 53 Main St. in Conway, on Dec. 8 and 9 from noon to 5 p.m.

Phyllis Labanowski of Conway, Reed Arahood of Florence and Ricky and Levi Baruc of Orange will attend the snow-or-shine open studio event to talk about their work.

Labanowski, who is hosting the event, will be selling altars, little shrines, feed and seed bags that she turns into books, beach and shopping bags and her “little books with mighty messages,” while Arahood works with cardboard and repurposed materials, giving old objects new life. Sustainability is a constant thread in their work, where art and puppets are powerful instruments of social change.

Ricky Baruc of Seeds of Solidarity Farm in Orange uses birch and cedar for his rustic illuminators, meditation benches, serving trays and cutting boards created in his solar-powered studio, and adds inlaid symbols using ancient heirloom corns ground with tobacco and other sacred plants that he grows on the farm.

His son, Levi, an emerging artist, creates T-shirts with messages that “make you happy and promote joy toward others.” Portions of his profits go to support work related to his T-shirts’ themes, including Sweet Beginnings, a company that offers bee products made by formerly incarcerated people.