Friday, February 1, 2013


Remember Hearts for the Arts? (Here's a brief recap for those of you who came in late.)

An annual fundraiser for the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, it was a combined silent and live art auction formerly held at the SC Civic on Valentine's Day weekend. With hundreds of local artists participating, along with hundreds more of their collectors madly bidding away, it was also the single biggest social event of the year for artists.

Sadly, the event finally became too massive to stage. But its spirit lives on at the Artisan's Gallery downtown, which hosts an annual mini Hearts for the Arts exhibit and art auction every year around this time.

 The show opens to the public today, with an artist's reception tonight, 6 to 8 pm, as part of the First Friday Art Tour for February.

To accommodate the smaller space, Artisan's owner Linnea Holgers James invited  artists to contribute a 10" x 10" square piece of original "love-inspired" art, which she displays like a giant quilt on the back wall of the shop.

From now through February 14, a silent auction will be in progress; if you can't make the reception tonight, drop in any time to bid on your favorites!

Among the 30+ local artists participating this year are printmaker Liz Lyons Friedman (that's her "Crazy Hearts," up top), painter Isobel George ("Heart & Soul,"  above right), and mixed media artist James Aschbacher, aka Art Boy ("Love Song," left).

On Valentine's Day, the auction closes and the artworks go home with some lucky bidders. All proceeds go the the CCSCC's Art Education programs for children and youth, including the  SPECTRA and Mariposa's Art programs.

And while you're out on the First Friday tour tonight, plan a stop at The Tannery. The new show at the new Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art (SCICA) gallery is called "Alter Eco: Exploring the Landscape of Change," in which participating artists are invited to reconsider the idea of landscape in a changing natural world.

The slate of local and regional artists includes  multi-media artist Stan Welsh, book artist Jody Alexander, photographer Steve Laufer, and installation artist Ryan Jones, among others.

 Fanne Fernow is showing a selection of her way cool 3D encaustic sculpture series, "Enchanted Broccoli Forest." There's nothing like seeing these playful yet mysterious pieces in person!
And before you leave The Tannery, stop by Stephanie Schriver's clay sculpture studio (#122).

In addition to Schriver's own whimsical clay pieces, take a fortifying look at the nutrageous watercolor animal paintings of John McKinley.

Check out  his "7 Shades of  Grey," and tell me you're not smiling already!

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