The sound of light sanding whispers in the main gallery. Brooms and mops feel their way through the halls of the warehouse. New stairs rise up to the live/work spaces. Shouts ring out for Bob Leathers, Space 4 Art director, who is running this frenetic work party. Fifteen artists are polishing Space 4 Art's 18,000 sq ft for the big grand opening just a week away.
Ruby Cougler, Space 4 Art assistant director, walks in with her arms overloaded with shrimp, sausage, and vegetables for a taste-off planned later in the evening.
“I’m not nervous. Or maybe, yeah, I’m nervous,” Ruby said. “It feels like we’ve taken care of everything. The grand opening committee has met five times so I think everything is all done, but then, I worry because it feels too ready.”
On Saturday, June 26, the artist studio and gallery space will open its doors to the public after years of planning and months of construction. Nearly 40 artists have studios in the facility, and most have pieces in the grand opening show. They have worked together hanging paintings on the gallery walls and placing sculptures on pedestals. During the grand opening, visitors will be able to wander through the maze of artists studios from 6 to 8 pm and attend a lively party with music, food and live performances after that.
Before the opening can happen, though, there’s a lot of sprucing up to do. Branan Freeman, an artist who usually works in printmaking and sculpture is sanding the custom-made wine bar. Gail Moser, who usually creates mixed media paintings and sculpture, is off to buy for caulk at the hardware store, which she will then will use to repair holes in the gallery walls. Although the inaugural opening will feature artists who rent studios or live at Space 4 Art, the goal of the gallery is to display mainly Southern Californian and Mexican artists in different stages of their careers in future shows.
The Work Party is a four-hour affair followed by a “taste-off” to determine the menu for the opening. “We will be doing a trial run of all the food,” Bob explains. “We will try 10 different types of sausage to decide the two or three that will go for the party. We are trying five recipes for carne asada and determining the best one. The giant shrimp we are marinating with three different marinades.”
The main challenge Space 4 Art is facing as it approaches the grand opening is arranging for staffing, Bob said. Because artists will be staying in their spaces for the open studios portion of the grand opening, their friends are staffing party, but I’m worried that may not be enough,” Bob said. “If there’s anyone else that wants to help. Please let us know.