Marin Open Studios: Matching $10k Grant for Canal Alliance Scholarships

It began in 1994 when two Marin County artists had an ambitious idea. Painter Kay Carlson and sculptor Tim Rose launched the first county-wide, self-guided tour of 150 artists’ studios over two spring weekends… and Marin Open Studios (MOS) was born. Twenty-seven years later, MOS is supporting more than 260 artists. Along with annual studio tours, which still happen every May, MOS hosts two signature events, a month-long gallery show and an opening night gala.

Quin Brewer, Ryan Brewer, Kris Brewer, and Eric B. Brewer at the Marin Open Studios Gala.

Marin Open Studios continues to create new ways to support its mission: connecting artists to art lovers and the community. One new venture is reaching out to communities of color and to younger artists who are beginning their careers, Kay explains, “in 2019 we forged a new relationship with the Canal Alliance in San Rafael by offering MOS scholarships donated by Kris and Eric Brewer and John and Paula Gambs to eight talented young artists, all of whom participated in the creation of a magnificent, 60-foot mural that runs the length the Canal Alliance lobby.” This year, we are partnering with Storek Architecture to conduct video workshops with the Canal artists to promote the arts in their community as well as their individual work.

Muralists, Guillermo Kelley, Isadoro Angeles, Oscar Morales, Sol Navarette, Carlos Ortega, with Kay Carlson
Muralists Guillermo Kelley, Isadoro Angeles, Oscar Morales, Sol Navarette and Carlos Ortega, with Kay Carlson.

In 2020, MOS — with help from grants and gifts — had planned to support an exhibition space in Marin City focused on black artists. The alliance between Marin City Arts and Culture Community and MOS was underway when the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation. Regardless, four new scholarships were awarded, and those artists are featured on the  MOS website. This is the new MOS of the future, showcasing the rich diversity of art right here in Marin.

Ernesto Hernandez with Canal Alliance mural panel
Ernesto Hernandez with his Canal Alliance mural panel.

In fact, it is a vision for a new type of events website that attracts a challenge grant from Kris Brewer, an artist who had joined Marin Open Studios. Kris and her husband, Eric Brewer, were inspired to give $10,000 to MOS, which will be used to raise an equal amount of funding. Kris said, “we see MOS as the Art of Community,” — and she didn’t stop there. Next, Kris introduced MOS to Wendy Nog, founder of FutureBright. Incredibly, in less than three weeks, Wendy built a new events website for MOS that includes short videos, tours, interviews, artist-hosted events and other content, all designed to fuel the fundamental goal of Marin Open Studios: connecting the Marin community to its artists.

Marin Community Foundation

Harbor Point Foundation

Marin Community Services

Bank of Marin

Marin Cultural Association

Marin City Arts and Culture

Canal Alliance

Giving Marin

Next up for MOS — we want to match the Brewer’s $10k to rocket MOS into the future. Please help us match the Brewer’s generous donation from July through December 31, 2020, visit to view thousands of pieces of art and to donate.


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