Blue Roof Studios Arts Festival: Celebrating Arts and Community through Summer Solstice
June 23rd 12-5pm
Written by Genie Davis
Photo Credit Kristine Schomaker
With a VIP opening Thursday June 21st and an all-day public event on Saturday June 23rd, the Blue Roof Studios Arts Festival will blow that blue roof off in terms of highlighting the rich, diverse South Los Angeles arts community.
From street performance to art installations and open studios, festival founder and artist Galia Linn is offering a true celebration in the multidisciplinary art hub she founded in 2016.
Linn says she was inspired to run the festival because of “The sense that we are living in such a climate of tension and isolation, and the feeling of duty to contribute to the melting of these barriers. Art is a way of melting such barriers, it can bring people together, celebrating our diverse stories, our lives.”
According to Linn, “While making and selling art has been important to my practice, it became clear to me that it is not enough. For me, it has to include a social practice with authentic engagement. This is when Blue Roof Studios was born.”
Blue Roof Studios provides a place for artists to work in an environment that Linn describes as fostering creativity and community. The space hosts events that promote dialogue with artists and the public, which led to the creation of the festival just in time for the summer solstice.
“Six months ago, we began hosting a free monthly art-making workshop in collaboration with Barnsdall Arts. These workshops keep growing, with more and more participants who are drawn to this intimate art making setting. These sessions opened up conversations with returning participants and neighbors, who expressed a wish for more projects and interaction with artists. The idea for the festival was born,” she reports.
Over the past 6 months, the facility has developed relationships with and gained the support of many organizations and business both local and throughout Los Angeles. The festival is in part funded by the LA Department of Cultural Affairs, CANNDU/Empower LA, LACI CleanTech incubator, Maker City LA, Zefr, and the friends of Blue Roof Studios. Additional support is being provided by Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr., the California African American Museum, BardoLA, On Broadway Tattoos, social.experiment and more.
Linn adds “The arts festival has taken on a life of its own. It is unfolding into a multisensory immersive experience, spreading over the Broadway Ave. sidewalk, our large parking lot, and the entire building. We have more than 60 diverse artists participating, over 20 artisans making jewelry, clothes and henna tattoos. With local food vendors offering tacos, seafood ceviche, pizza, other local yummies, live music, performance and more, it has truly become a community-based arts festival.”
The festival is to some extent an outgrowth of Linn’s own work as an artist. “As a sculptor and site-specific installation artist living and working in Los Angeles, I construct relationships between subject, object and their environments by creating elemental tensions; a delicate balance between the mediums’ limits and my exploration with life’s imperfections.” She says she’s most interested in creating encounters with space and objects and people that impact both one’s physical and emotional state of being.”
Her installations are site specific, responding to the uniqueness of the environment, and Linn feels that the Blue Roof Studios Arts Festival and its mission are an extension of what she is already doing in her work. She describes her work as “fostering places that are warm and reflective, providing invitations to step inside oneself, creating places of nourishment, and extending a safe offer of sanctuary.”
Among the artists and curators participating in the event is Bettina Hubby, who reflects that “What Galia has built is so much more than just a space for creativity. It is a gift to the community and does so much to support and uplift everyone in its reach. I’m thrilled to bring the artists of Curatorial Hub into its midst and be a part of its good energy.” Hubby is presenting a selection of works by the artists she represents on her online art gallery.
“All works are under $1000 on the site itself and most works in this presentation are under $500. My mission is to give artists a platform to show works consistently at a lower price point online and in a variety of pop-ups around the city, so as to expose them to new audiences. This does tie in with my individual art practice which is often collaborative and community-based in nature.”
RADIANT is a group exhibition curated by Leonardo Bravo / Big City Forum celebrating and honoring light, our connection to the earth, the sun, and to each other. It features work by Michelle Blade, Sam Comen, Megan Cotts, Rhiannon Griego, Rema Ghuloum and Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia.
Bravo says what inspired him to participate in the festival is the fact that “I’m interested in the relationship of artists to society and the larger issue of individuals working to revitalize communities. I believe that the arts have a unique ability to bring people together regardless of their economic, cultural, and racial differences.”
Bravo also feels that “More than ever we need transformative experiences that can bind communities together rather than separating them. The arts help us to define who we want to be, to our larger aspirations, connecting us to the past and presenting a future of hope.”
He says that “Artists are our conscience, our innovators, our healers, chance takers and activists, and they are a microcosm of society.”
The presentation at Blue Roof Studios ties into his ongoing work with his cultural platform, Big City Forum, which he founded. “It is an interdisciplinary, curatorial research project that brings attention to emergent practices across design, architecture, and the arts.” The forum provides an ongoing exploration of the intersections between these creative disciplines and new ways of knowledge- making.
Along with these exhibitions, Kristine Schomaker of Shoebox PR is also curating a show featuring her community of artists, which includes Cathy Immordino,
Chelsea Boxwell, Chung-Ping Cheng, Dani Dodge, Debbie Korbel, Erika Lizée,
Frederika Roeder, John Waiblinger, Karen Hochman Brown, Kristine Schomaker, Larry Caveney, Lauren Mendelsohn-Bass, Linda Sue Price, Pam Douglas, Randi Matushevitz, Scott Froschauer, Sheli Silverio, Steve Seleska, and Susan Amorde.
Blue Roof Studio artists Galia Linn, Diana Sanchez, Terri Klass, Jacqueline Palafox, Zemer Peled and Beverly Morrison, are opening their studios; and the event will include live music by Joaquin Romero /DJ Wordamouph, and a participatory drum circle led by Aboubacar Kouyate. An interdisciplinary dance performance by Nehara Kalev, and an Art Makers Bazaar curated by Kaleidoscope Kollective round out the offerings. Art workshops, and a free cooking demo by RootDown LA, a youth-run non-profit, will also take place.
In short, Blue Roof Studios is the place be for a summer solstice that should prove inclusive, healing, and artistically and emotionally energizing.