Screw Factory Studios Open House

What can you do with an old screw factory? Create the Screw Factory Art Studios! Nestled in historic Birdtown, the former Lake Eric Screw has morphed into very swanky artist studios.

On Thursday, June 21, 2007, the Screw Factory Art Studios opened their doors from 4pm-7pm to an anxious public for their first Open House.

This multimedia exhibition examined the artistic achievements of cohabitants of the Screw Factory Art Studios who by the soaring caliber of this show are surely to gain prominence as the parents of the Lakewood Art District.

The group showing was comprised of eight (a very auspicious number with connotations of new beginnings, luck and prosperity). These lucky eight were Ann Caywood Brown, Kristen Cliffel, Martha Cliffel, Rob Durr, Phyllis Kohring Fannin, Martin O’Connor, Randy Rigutto, and Conrad Relitz. Each artist opened their space offering a mini-retrospective of their works, surveying the varied media and phases of his or her career. These included themes of the human condition, sexuality, spirituality (Christian subjects and Zen philosophy) women’s rights, self actualization and identity.

During my walk through the artists’ labyrinth with its lofty ceilings and freshly painted hallways, I ventured into artist, Phyllis Kohring Fannin’s, space whose paintings, drawings and mixed media works may provide the perfect decor to spruce up your walls. In describing her work, Phyllis said “My life’s journey has taken me through the glamorization of the domestic career, enlightenment to women’s rights, and the ‘Superwoman syndrome’. It has challenged me to present these experiences as a humorous combination of past and present, personal and impersonal, with touches of irony and nostalgia.”

Another artist’s work I studied for a time was that of Kristen Cliffel who’s “All She Ever Dreamed Of “sculpture of an oversized handbag was emblematic of the “white picket fence dream”. Is this dream still alive the artist asks?

This event was a perfect opportunity to peek into the private spaces of Screw Factory dwellers, to see where they create and work. The Screw Factory Art Studios is a working example of how the arts will revitalize our community and serves as a prototype for other groups to do the same.

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Volume 3, Issue 13, Posted 10:08 PM, 06.21.2007