EDMONDS — Jennifer Grimm de Mello e Souza looks forward to the annual Edmonds Art Studio Tour as a way to connect with art lovers.
The Edmonds artist stays busy as a painter, teacher, student and the mother of a middle schooler and a college freshman.
“My favorite thing in the world is to paint, so I am in my studio whenever I have free time,” said Jennie, as she is known best. “Because I work in isolation so often, there’s nothing better than having people over so I can share what I’ve been working on.”
During the tour — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16 and 17 — Jennie also will host potter Julie Perrine and Meadowdale High School artist Hana Berisha, a junior, who plan to display their work as well.
“I have a separate entrance to my studio. It’s a great little space that I wish could open to the public more than once a year,” Jennie said. “The tour is a homegrown, volunteer event that I just love being a part of. Last year the number of visitors I had doubled to 300 from 150 the year before. It’s becoming quite popular.”
This 12th annual free, self-guided tour offers a chance to visit 18 private studios displaying the work of 31 artists.
Art patrons can watch artists at work, see new and in-progress pieces and buy art directly from the artists.
The art to be displayed this year includes paintings, sculptures, jewelry, wood pieces, glasswork and pottery.
Jennie always has a couple of paintings to work on during the tour, but she frequently spends most of her time talking with her visitors.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in art history and studio art in 1992 from a small college in Pennsylvania, she went on to study scientific illustration in Brazil and France. At some point, while raising her family, Jennie decided she was an artist (period!) and that painting was not just a hobby.
“Women and young people often have trouble claiming that for themselves,” she said. “Art is my vocation. And, yes, it is my passion. It feeds my soul. Painting gives me peace and joy, even in difficult times.”
Currently in the process of earning her master’s degree in art education through Western Washington University, Jennie enjoys talking about art and about art education in public schools. Instead of just STEM, Jennie would like to schools offer STEAM programs — science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
With the help of an Edmonds Arts Festival grant, she developed a studio art curriculum based on art history and science for young students, and has been a volunteer art teacher in public and private schools in Edmonds, Anacortes and Bellingham.
Her studio is located at 1030 B Ave. S., Edmonds. Not a bad place to start.
After the tour, Jennie’s work can be found in the gift shop at Cascadia Art Museum or by visiting her website www.jenniedemelloesouza.com.
Edmonds Art Studio Tour
The tour is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16 and 17. The tour’s mobile-friendly website — www.edmondsartstudiotour.com — lists the participating artists, gives a preview of their work and offers a map of the studios.