That’s a steal
Artists kick down their work for a good cause— and a mere $50—at 1078’s Birthday Bash
Local painter Salvatore Casa has shown his work all over the country since the 1950s. His name is nationally known in the medium of watercolors, and his pieces have hung in notable galleries including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His work is also part of the permanent collections in the Jersey City Museum and his alma mater Instituto Allende in Mexico.
But the longtime Chico artist didn’t hesitate to donate a piece of his artwork for 1078 Gallery’s second annual Birthday Bash and Art Sale.
At the May 3 event, people will have the opportunity to purchase pieces of art for a mere $50 apiece—not a bad deal when you consider that many of these pieces were created by some of the most prominent artists in the area.
Casa knows the difficulty involved in running a nonprofit art gallery, as well as the reality that buying art is not high on people’s lists. The auction serves both needs.
“My prime reason is to support the gallery, to keep it open,” Casa said. “Art galleries have a difficult time staying open, because people have to eat—eating comes first before buying art to put on their walls.”
Casa also donated one of his signature abstracts for last year’s inaugural event—a piece titled “Per Che” that was scooped up by admiring young local artist Caitlin Schwerin, who had also donated pieces.
Last year’s art sale was a big success, netting about $3,200 for the gallery from paintings donated by other local favorites like Dylan Tellesen, Janice Porter and Mabrie Ormes. Well-known local author Susan Wooldridge even donated pages from her journal. Gallery executive director Pat Kemeny Macias hopes this year’s event will bring in at least $5,000.
“My dream is that they’ll be lined up around the block so that the end of the line is meeting the beginning of the line out front,” Macias said.
The 60-year-old retired high school art teacher and recent Bay Area transplant has been at the helm of 1078 since June 2007. She says the gallery is accepting donations from artists of all styles and media for this year’s event.
While this is the second year that the 1078 Gallery is throwing a birthday party fundraiser, the gallery is actually celebrating its 27th year in existence.
The 1078 Gallery began in 1981 as a collection of artist studios fashioned out of a converted bar—the now-defunct Odyssey, located at 1078 Humboldt Ave. (where Has Beans Coffee & Tea Co. now resides in Chapmantown).
The gallery moved to Fifth Street in 1986, but kept the “1078” in its name. The Fifth Street venue’s interior was renovated entirely by the co-directors and volunteers, with funds coming out of their own pockets as well as those of friends and family.
1078 Gallery became a membership-based nonprofit organization later that same year, enabling it to receive grant money from the Butte County Arts Council and the California Arts Council, which bestowed praise upon the gallery for its cultural diversity. In 1990, 1078 Gallery became the smallest gallery in the United States to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
The gallery moved into its new home on Broadway in August 2006, a large open space that also hosts live shows (former 1078 director Carla Resnick was instrumental in bringing live music to the gallery). The Rogue Theatre, which formed about a year ago, also uses the space for its productions, which will help with the final construction of a “backstage” area.
And while 1078 does receive city funding, it still relies heavily on volunteers—Chico State interns and gallery members among them—for its survival. Macias has the gallery’s only paid position.
The second annual Birthday Bash is an opportunity not only to support local artists and galleries; it also makes purchasing art an easy endeavor for those who wouldn’t normally do so.
Casa says matter-of-factly that galleries like 1078 are important as they continue to push the envelope.
“They don’t just show the generic; they try to advance people’s thinking about art,” he explained. “The galleries need to be supported, and this event is a good way to do that.”