At This Somerville Home, Painters and Programmers Work Together | SCOUTV Episode #11

sarah morrisonPhotos by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

Sarah Morrison is one of the hundreds of artists who open their doors for Somerville Open Studios each year—and in fact, she welcomes in a community of artists and makers year-round, using her home as a shared co-working space for painters and creators of all kinds. That includes coders who drop in with their laptops!

In this installment of SCOUTV, we’re taking a look at Morrison’s home and some of the fantastical works that fill it. (Plus, you’ll get to meet her cats.)

In a corner of Sarah Morrison’s apartment, nestled among things you’d expect to find in any Somerville kitchen—a recycling bin, a case of Mountain Dew—there’s a shimmering emerald gown.

“Oh!” Morrison exclaims, “I should turn it on!” Sure enough, with the click of a remote, the dress starts glowing with an otherworldly green light. “I have too many hobbies, and one of them is making ball gowns,” laughs Morrison, who’s been drawing and creating since she was a kid.

Morrison has always been interested in fantasy. She sees it as a way to unwind after a tough day at work, to manage the drudgery and uncertainty of day-to-day life. “There’s so much stuff going on [in the world] that’s really stressful, and fantasy has always been a form of escapism for me,” she explains. “I think it’s really important because of that.”

Morrison’s apartment is on the smaller side, which means that Open Studios is your one chance each year to check out that light-up ball gown and a lot of the other work she usually keeps stashed in closets. But the smaller space is still a hub for her creative community. She welcomes artists of all skill levels into her kitchen for figure drawing sessions on the first Wednesday evening of each month, where models hold one-minute, two-minute and five-minute poses, and sometimes hold a pose for the full three-hour session. Other times, she takes a day to use her home as a shared co-working space. She says that working around others helps inspire and encourage artists who might feel stuck or need a reason to make something. The collection of creators that drops in on these workdays includes painters and illustrators, but also programmers who show up with their laptops.

“We’ll get together starting at 10 or 11 in the morning and we’ll go until 10 or 11 at night,” Morrison says. “It’s a lot easier to stay focused and stay working when it’s a lot of us working together rather than working alone.”

Video edited by Jason Corey.

SCOUTV is a multimedia collaboration between Scout Somerville and SCATV that brings the stories in each print edition of Scout to life with video and audio. You can find more installments in the series here.

This story originally appeared in the “Artists in Residence” feature in the March/April print edition of Scout, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

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