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OpenCanvas Helps Launch Local Artists In Hastings

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – A group of local artists gathered at The Purple Crayon in Hastings on Tuesday for the first meeting of OpenCanvas, a group that combines artist support, meditation, networking and personal development.

“People were sharing the frustration of trying to build their life as an artist,” said Sarah Silbert Hinawi, director of The Purple Crayon and co-founder of the group.

Hinawi said she had the idea to create the group with Naomi Vladeck and Jill Muchnick Liflander after the topic of artists’ struggles kept coming up at weekly LunchPad sessions, where people meet to launch new ideas. The three brainstormed and decided to form the group as a resource for local artists, Hinawi said.

“We have a few artists who are regulars at LaunchPad and the practical issues that got in the way of their creative work kept coming up,” Hinawi said. “Meanwhile, Naomi mentioned to me that she and Jill had also been talking about the need to bring local artists together.”

Liflander, a puppeteer, said she was inspired to start the group after realizing practicing her craft at home alone was not allowing her to develop as an artist.

“There was a piece missing from my artistic process,” Liflander said.

The inaugural group of 16 people was made up of a unique blend of backgrounds, including teachers, singer/songwriters, social workers, scientists, midwives, fashion designers, holistic healers and composers. In a get-to-know-you exercise, the members were asked to name something that inspires and challenges them. People said they are inspired by nature, people’s energy, their children, materials and sense of place, and challenged by owning their role as an artist and delivering their art to a larger audience.

Hinawi said OpenCanvas will be a space where artists can share ideas to smoothly integrate practical and personal aspects of being an artists. The group will meet monthly at a soon-to-be-determined location and feature activities and discussions to foster progress and growth in the creative and practical areas of a life in the arts, Hinawi said.

“We are looking for individuals who identify themselves as artists, Hinawi said. “Especially those who are looking to move forward in their artistic endeavors.”

For more information, check out the OpenCanvas Facebook group or email The Purple Crayon at

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