Over 500 local artists with ample space and unlimited creativity could wind up producing anything, from twisted metal chairs to art-themed trading cards.

City Wide Open Studios, a 20-day celebration of contemporary art showcasing the works of over 500 local artists, opened Tuesday. Hosted by Artspace, a nonprofit New Haven gallery, the exhibition provides an opportunity both for artists to share their work with the public and for art dealers and curators to purchase art and plan for upcoming shows.

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In addition to the main showcase, art will also be displayed at three separate New Haven sites during upcoming weekends. The sites will include Erector Square Oct. 13-15, individual artists’ studios Oct. 20-21, and a yet-to-be-announced alternative location Oct. 27-28. The public will also have the opportunity to take bus and bicycle tours of the area, beginning at the Artspace site.

Since this year marks the program’s 10th anniversary, Artspace will also feature the LASSO project, a commissioned installation of site-specific artwork by nine City Wide Open Studios alumni. According to program guidebooks, the additional artwork will be shown in storefronts throughout Ninth Square and at the Lot, another local gallery.

Artspace Communications Director Jemma Williams said she hopes the new exhibit will continue to attract locals and visitors — as well as new artists — to CWOS.

Williams said CWOS is unique because all artists who can pay the fee are permitted to display their work, which makes the event particularly inclusive.

“We are non-juried and therefore welcome anyone to enter,” she said.

CWOS also offers studio spaces to artists who otherwise would not have access to them by revitalizing vacant historic properties and using them as exhibition spaces, which provides opportunities for all parties involved, Williams said.

“This is a very unique and exciting event for New Haven,” she said.

Rebecca Strom — an art teacher by day and an independent artist by night — has been displaying her work through CWOS since 2001, an experience that she said has been enhanced by her interactions with other artists and art enthusiasts.

Although there were few visitors at Artspace on opening day, Williams said she does not think the turnout will reflect the success of the event as a whole. She said the grand opening reception, which will take place Friday at Artspace, tends to attract many more people.

“We encourage all of our artists to come out, and we usually have over 1,000 visitors on just that night,” she said.

Over the course of the festival, Artspace expects to have over 10,000 visitors, some of whom are not from New Haven. Williams said the location of the gallery — which is close to the train station — attracts artists and visitors from other parts of Connecticut, as well as New York and Massachusetts.

Although Williams said she expects a lot of visitors, many Yale students interviewed were not aware of the event. But some students expressed interest when they learned about the exhibit.

“It sounds like a great venue for artists to share their art with the community,” said Jon Wu ’11, who had not previously heard of the show. “I will definitely look into attending.”

Artspace is located on Orange St.