Mapping the Context April 23, 2010
Bill Schinsky is my hero. Not only has the soft-spoken and gentle artist been running the Coachella Valley Arts Alliance since its inception as an arts advocate and supporter, but he truly digs on the ideas of community and co-op that spring from grassroots level creative thought. This is why he convinced the City of Indio to lease him the massive building next to the Yellow Mart and across the street from Johnson Photo in old town Indio, which is currently in the process of being transformed into a thriving arts and culture center of studios, exhibition space, and cultural and non-profit based office space.
The minute I heard about this grand coup, I applied to be one of the artists and was thankfully accepted. There are so many reasons this idea was attractive to me but here are a few.
I love Old Town Indio for the same reasons I like to go hide in Mexico during the summers. It’s basic and simple, it feels down to earth and real, it’s not shiny and fake (nor are the people)-everyone is working. I can buy Levis or Dickies and tee shirts. I can get my work framed. I can eat cheap but great food in the carnicerias. Good beer is right down the street. So is the post office for stamps so I can talk to everyone I want to reach without having to leave my art space, and there are miles of train tracks and desert for meditative walks mid-painting.
The block of Miles Avenue on which the building resides is also a part of a central spoke and wheel of streets that consist of the following things: the revitalized Indio Performing Arts Center, which armed with a new Executive Director is poised as a new, interesting space, the first studio of the Date Farmers who have now moved onto L.A. for their evolution into Ace Gallery (yet the idea that their creative energy still remains is rejuvenating), scattered small businesses just dying for some economic input, and a feeling in the air that something scintillating is about to happen. Bristling with potential, the brand of being unpolished, unknown, untrained, and newly formed is totally exciting.
There are other artists moving into the space whose work sings to me. Cristopher Cichocki simply blows me away with his desert installations and toxic environmental exploitations and Ryan Campbell is ready to bombard the world with his conceptual trickery. I am aching to move into performance based video works and will now have the space and aptitude to do so at length. Not only will I be in my own studio, but I will be able to walk out that studio front door and see my artist friends working in an elevated form of community, will be able to order art supplies from the rumored satelite location of the Art Colony/Blueprinter within the same set of walls; and meet, engage and interact with the other artists moving in whom I don’t know. This kind of come-as-you-are, co-op, collective is new to the desert and Bill Schinsky is allowing it to form from inside, which it has been doing steadily on the down low. I hear Adrien Balogh, who is an autistic and brilliant artist and Nikki Reisman, who is like a goddess queen of the desert, and Jan O’Connell from Los Angeles who who creates passionately colored paintings, are also moving their wares in. S.C.R.A.P. Gallery, the Museum of Recycled Art, will also have a display presence within and Bill Schinsky will show his work and the work of others he works with like the kids of Juvenile Hall.
On April 23rd from 5:30 – 9:00, this new space aptly titled the Arts at Context, will have a debut party to introduce the community at large to this new and patchwork collective. Bill Kobrin, the famous photographer who shot the iconic photo of Marilyn with her white dress floating up over a street grate, will present his show Stars and Celebrities while the rest of studio artists will each have a room to make up as a private gallery that expresses our work for the evening in a collective exhibit titled MAPPING THE CONTEXT. Everyone will be able to see the space in its original raw form before we all get into the nitty gritty in May of turning our studio spaces into our own and cultivating a hub of tempestuous creativity and art!
There will be a DJ playing LIVE in the street and refreshments for all!
I hope everyone can make it!