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Teachers join forces for new Bristol studio

BRISTOL — A group of movement and art teachers in Bristol are collaborating on a new, multi-purpose studio center on Main Street. Their goal: to provide space for everything from watercolor painting to yoga and dance classes under one roof.
The fruit of their labor — Open Sky Studio — opened earlier this month on Main Street in a brightly lit, 1,000-square-foot space above Cubber’s Restaurant.
Yoga teacher Sansea Sparling is one of nine teachers who’ve come together to lease the studio, which the teachers envision as a “gathering space.” After learning that the longtime leaseholder was giving up the space, Sparling and her compatriots decided to go in on the studio together.
“We thought, ‘Couldn’t we put together a like-minded group of folks who needed a space, but didn’t want to maintain and rent individually?’” Sparling said.
Sparling is joined in the venture by fellow yoga teachers Carolyn Conner, Deborah Felmeth and James Guertin. Sally Burrell will offer core strengthening and dance classes, and Madeleine Piat-Landholt will lead expressive movement dance classes.
Chris Kiely of the Green Mountain Tai Chi School will lead practice classes for Tai Chi practitioners. The space will also be home to private bodywork and massage sessions, organized by Sparling and Connor. Nancy Gardener will lead meditation sessions and workshops in the studio.
Finally, artists Brenda Myrick and Brenda Staples will lead watercolor classes. The studio will also be available to other teachers to rent for weekend workshops at various points throughout the year.
Though each teacher’s classes and specialties might seem different, Sparling thinks there’s a common thread that runs through Open Sky Studio’s roster.
“Everything that’s being offered there has to do basically with movement and health and self expression,” she said.
Many of the teachers in the Open Sky project have ties to Bristol and the Five Town area, and Sparling thinks those familiar faces will strengthen the community Open Sky Studio hopes to build.
The name, she said, came out of the beautiful light and view visible from the studio’s large windows. But it’s come to mean something more as plans for the studio have fallen into place.
“It’s just like the space, and it’s just like the idea,” Sparling said. “Rather than being a space that belongs to one person or one kind of movement art, it’s open.”
Information about class schedules is available on a bulletin board just inside the door at 6 Main St. in Bristol. More information is available by calling Sparling or Kiely at 453-3894 or 349-2725 or e-mailing either teacher at [email protected] or [email protected].
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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