We won’t stop making art…

In the Stoneworks garden

In the Stoneworks garden

My mantra about Ventura’s arts scene of late is that when it appears barren, that’s when there is the most potential for real art to be born. Lack of funding, resources and venues–while frustrating–demands ingenuity, imagination and cooperation to overcome and possibly transcend. It is exactly this kind of environment that allows for authentic, inspired expression–even collaboration.

I had an interesting conversation with Michele Chapin, owner of Stoneworks Studios during the Harvest ArtWalk last weekend. (Stay tuned for photos and more about artwalk). Michele has an inherent understanding of the concept of hospitality and its relevance to community life. The whole time I chatted with her she was dishing out slices of cheesecake with berry sauce that she made for guests in addition to brownies and a savory buffet. Despite losing her job recently and the omnipresent threat of financial armageddon, she has no plans to stop making art.

Instead, she plans to open her large space to other struggling artists for the sharing of life, food and creativity. One artist she recently invited to join in the fun at Stoneworks is a guy named Verdell (sp?) who paints graphic, sort of urban images on canvas. Look for something about him in VCReporter soon.

Michele has been through a lot this year and nearly lost her space. Administrators of the “New Art City” pretty much told her it’s not their responsibility to keep her afloat. While she navigates the artist’s life sans the dayjob that funds it all, she’s remains strong and optimistic as we all must during challenging times. But, the point is, adversity doesn’t kill art; it births it. And this applies to everything, because our lives are blank canvasses, and we can respond to increasingly dire circumstances by either caving or creating.

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2 Comments to “We won’t stop making art…”

  1. I think that sculpture you found in Michelle Chapin’s garden is metal and made by Eric Richards.

    As to your point, you’re right–if artists can afford to stick around. Otherwise, they will head elsewhere or migrate elsewhere leaving Ventucky even more desolate artwise.

  2. To my mind, the overarching issue is affordable housing.

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