Artists Reveal How They Create At Watch It Wednesdays

With a heat gun in one hand and a brush in the other, Dawn Tekler demonstrates how she paints with hot wax to visitors passing through her studio. With each crop of onlookers, the response is often the same.

“’Wow that’s wax! Oh, I didn’t know you could paint with hot wax,’” Tekler said.  “That one I get or, ‘how long does it take to dry?’ And I liken it to like when you knock a candle over it cools.”

She has cups of different colors of melted wax keeping warm on electric pancake griddles while she works.

Tekler is one of about a dozen Northeast Ohio artists working on a recent Wednesday evening inside 78th Street Studios, a former industrial complex now home to artists of many genres.  

While artists work on their latest projects, members of the public meander by and, if they want, ask questions. It is a new entertainment concept dubbed Watch It Wednesday. 

“Frankly, artists are used to paying an entry fee… to be a part of something,” said Suzie Fraiser, an artist and producer of this event. “We’re turning that model on end, and saying, ‘no we should be paying the artist.”

Watch It Wednesdays grew out of the monthly art walks, Third Fridays, offered to the public at 78th Street Studios. Those nights, which occur on the third Friday of the month, are free and often crowded.

Visitors pay a cover change to watch artists work at the new Watch It Wednesdays, which fall on the first Wednesday of the month. They began in February, and the next one is June 6. 

Steven Williams, Jr. of Orange attended the most recent gathering to check out the scene. He too is an artist and makes his own jewelry.

“[I’m] just kind of admiring what people can take from a vision and then make it a reality,” he said.

Another visitor, Jeff Woodard, was shocked to learn an artist’s oil painting of an ocean landscape came together in only a couple of hours.

“I was impressed with the diversity of the art and creativity here that’s hopefully going to rub off on me,” he said.

While working on the waves of her ocean painting, artist Eva Volf said it’s helpful to have someone watching over your shoulder while you paint.  

“This way I understand that, it’s not only a pleasure for me to paint this, but people... feel this common effect,” she said.

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