Thursday, June 6, 2013


With the days getting longer (and the mornings foggier) it's starting to feel a lot like summer around here. And what better way to spend a long, sun-kissed summery evening than stepping out on the First Friday Art Tour to see what's going on in the Santa Cruz art scene?

The answer this month is: plenty!

For one thing, the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County (ensconced in temporary digs downtown for the last two years) has just moved into its new forever home at The Tannery, in the historic Kron House.

The orgnization that stages the Open Studios Art Tour every October, puts real-live artists in the schools via the SPECTRA program, and funds innumerable arts projects countywide throughout the year is celebrating the next chapter in its collective life not only with a new location, but a new name: henceforth they are —ta-da!—Arts Council, Santa Cruz County.

Get over to The Tannery by 5 pm, Friday, in time for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the new space. Inside, you'll see an exhibition of work celebrating local artists who have at one time or other served on the Open Studios Committee—including James Aschbacher (that's his "Ocean View Apartment," above), Faye Augustine,  Fanne Fernow, Jane Gregorious,  Roy Holmberg, Tobin Keller, Steven and Bonnie Barisof, Peggy Snider, Doug Ross, Christianna Hunnicutt, Sally Jorgensen, Lynda Watson, Peggy Waller...oh, and at least a dozen more!

The Kron House, built in the 1860s, and most recently the site of Kirby Scudder's Dead Cow Gallery, has been painstakingly rennovated and restored to preserve the integrity of the original building. (When you go, take note of the massive, original brick wall in the kitchenette area—a piece of art in its own right. They don't make 'em like that any more!)

Then wend your way downtown to the Santa Cruz Public Library to meet one of the newest artists of FFAT. Nina Lutz won't even graduate from Santa Cruz High School until next week, but she's showing a body of paintings and drawings at the library to celebrate the publication of her new children's book, Fashion Animal ABCs. It's a whimsical alphabet book whose charming watercolor illustrations combine her love of animals and extreme fashion.

Diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer about one year ago, Nina turned to painting and drawing to get her through the long process of treatment and recovery. Her original illustrations and other paintings will be exhibited at the library, and copies of her book will also be for sale. Proceeds from the book go to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, for childhood cancer research. Reception on Friday is from 4-6pm.

Just down the road, the Felix Kulpa Gallery will be hosting one of Santa Cruz's most venerable and well-known artists, Gloria K. Alford.

A long-running Open Studios veteran, and 40-year resident of Santa Cruz, Gloria is known these days for her bold abstract paintings and beautifully textured paper collages.

At her one-woman show at Felix Kulpa, called 16" x 16", Gloria will be showing recent and vintage work. Artist's reception will be from 6-9pm. (To get in the mood, click here to watch Gloria discuss her work and her upcoming show with KZSC's Artists on Art hostess Nada Milijkovic.)

Meanwhile, over at True Olive Connection, catch up with another longtime local artist, Evelyn Jenkins Drew. Justly famed for her popular, sun-splashed watercolors of woodies and othr seaside and surf culture scenes, her artwork has graced numerous local event posters, from Capitola Art and Wine and the Capitola Begonia Festival to Woodies on the Wharf.

Evelyn's original watercolors will be in display at True Olive, not only of local scenes, but also work inspired by the tropical landscapes of Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean, where she and her husband travel on their sailboat for four months out of every year. Artist's reception from 6-8:30 pm. (But after soaking up Evelyn's paintings, don't be surprised if you get the urge to head across the parking lot to Hula's to keep the tropical buzz going!)

These are just a few of the 41 venues hosting art exhibits on this month's FFAT. Feel free to design your own personal tour!

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