Twice a year in Boston’s recently hip South End district—called “SoWa” for South of Washington Street—artists open their private studios to the public for the SoWa Art Walk. The next one takes place Sept. 15-16 and visitors can get an up close look at landscape paintings by eminent local architect Jeremiah Eck, FAIA.
Founder and principal of Eck McNeeley Architects, Eck has been coming to work in this neighborhood for more than a decade. Nearly every Friday, he walks a few blocks from his architecture offices to his painting studio, which is one of many that will be open for art collectors, aficionados, and passers-by in a few weeks. Eck has been painting on Fridays long before SoWa was born, but he leased this studio when the neighborhood became a thriving artists’ enclave thanks to empty warehouses with low rent.
“SoWa is the new hip place to be,” Eck says. “It was generated by artists living here, but the major landlord—GTI Properties—encouraged artists to stay by keeping rent cheap as long as they have public shows twice a year. It’s good for the artists and brings people into the neighborhood.”
Eck paints for fun, not work, and his studio is only about 600 square feet, but the dozens of studios and galleries that flocked to the area all participate. “Like with many interesting neighborhoods, the artists came first, then the people came and usually it gets too expensive for the artists, but this landlord keeps it available to them,” Eck explains. “Art Walk is an interesting event that brings in all types of people who get to see a remarkable variety of artwork.”