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Live, Work, Create

ae tan2Tannery Arts Center announces Grand Opening of new art studios complex

In phase two of the Tannery Arts Center’s three-part project, the City of Santa Cruz is close to becoming a model living-working-performing artistic community.

“I call this phase the ‘open the Tannery to the public phase,’” says Rachel Anne Goodman, Tannery Arts Center executive director, about the unveiling of the Tannery’s new Digital Media and Creative Arts Center. More than 70 working artists currently rent space in this 25,000-square-foot art studios complex, where the public can take classes, purchase art, and watch masters at work.

“The vision has always been to provide a place where artists can work and form an artists’ community that is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Goodman. “Now the public can view art (and working artists) on a regular basis.”

The Tannery will hold a Digital Media and Creative Arts Center Grand Opening celebration on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2. The celebration will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 4:30-5 p.m. on Friday, featuring local artists and dignitaries, including Mayor Don Lane.

Friday’s event will feature open art studios, food, and performances by local musicians and dancers. On Saturday, there will be art activities, demonstrations, dance classes, music and food.

For three years, artists have been living in the Tannery Lofts: 100 riverfront residential units connected by art-lined hallways. Developed by ArtSpace, the units were the first phase in the project supported by the former Redevelopment Agency. In this second phase, the renovation of two historic buildings completes the vision of providing studios for working artists.

Lisa Silas and Jonathan Chorn are classical sculptors residing in the Lofts, where they use the apartment they share with their 7-year-old son as living space and work space. Wax models, figures and busts sprout from every surface of the home.

“We’re thrilled—finally it’s opening!” Silas says of the new complex where she has rented an art studio. She and Chorn plan to sculpt in their studio, collaborate with artists and teach classes. “What ArtSpace is doing is placing a value on art.”

Many artists renting workspace in the new complex live offsite, such as Crystal Liebold, a jeweler from Boulder Creek. Before the opening of the new studios, Liebold created her rustic wire-wrapping and metal work at home, where she also home-schools her children and maintains a ranch.

“Up until now, it’s been me in a little corner of the kitchen trying desperately to get something done,” she says. “Now I come here and there are no children climbing on me and I can collect my thoughts. If I’m lacking in inspiration, all I have to do is walk down the hallway.”

Others renting space in the new complex include print makers, dancers, painters, digital media artists and more. Some will use their space as a gallery, while others will use it to create. The new literary magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, is stationed in the courtyard.

“[Artists] choose to be here because they want to be part of an arts community,” says Goodman. “The overall vision is a vibrant arts campus. You have people living on site, working here, and in phase three—with the construction of the theater—people can come here to see a show.”

The next phase, an onsite performing arts center, will create an arts Mecca that is unique among ArtSpace communities. Goodman explains, “The final outcome will be an integrated performing-creating-living space in Santa Cruz that is unparalleled any place else in the country.”


The Grand Opening celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 1. Festivities continue Saturday, June 2 from 12-5 p.m., at the Tannery, 1050-1070 River St., Santa Cruz. Visit tanneryartscenter.org.

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