Mastodon East Canyon 22X Neighborhood Council: A Vision for Community Arts in the Dimond

A Vision for Community Arts in the Dimond

From our East Canyon Artist in Residence

I want to share a vision that keeps swirling around in my head -  to use resources we already have as great potential benefit for  our community - creating a Community Arts Studio in The  Dimond, with space to gather, create and exhibit.  

During my time teaching Creative Reuse Handcrafts at the  Dimond library (through a grant from Dimond Improvement  Association), broken dish mosaic workshops at Mischief in  The Laurel, and facilitating the East Canyon 22x Art Swap in  Dimond Park, I can see there is great interest in the  community for creative activities that involve recycling and  sustainable art practice in a variety of media.  

The benefits are endless: the possibility to meet a wider  range of fellow community members, to enjoy the pleasure of  working creatively in a friendly, relaxed, cooperative  atmosphere, to reinterpret time-honored crafts using today’s  materials, to develop more sustainability and to learn to  create functional art pieces for personal use, gift-giving or  sale from materials that would otherwise be thrown away.  

There are several such places throughout the area, but we  don’t have anything like that here….places like:    

  • Recology and SCRAP in SF  
  • The Ecology Center in Berkeley  
  • East Bay Center for Creative Reuse in Temescal
  • Richmond Art Center 

We do have some wonderful examples of public art in our  neighborhood, so the talented hands are here. It would  be great if creative collaboration could have a place to  happen all the time, not just for visual art, but also a space  that could also host talks, music, community  meetings…not just for the Dimond, but for all of our  nearby neighbors.  

I do not know much about securing or funding a place, but  hope others will have that kind of experience. I have heard  of other cities where artists have founded studios/ galleries in vacant properties that have rejuvenated  whole neighborhoods.  

It’s also important for participation to be available to  folks of all financial levels…possibly by exchanging  studio and/or class time for time helping to keep  things functioning. I have seen this arrangement work  as well.  

I have personally collected more materials over the years  than I could ever be able to use in several lifetimes,  especially textiles and plastics, that I would be happy to  donate to the studio… enough to supply a whole program  of activity without delay.  

We can do this with relatively low expense, we can help  our environment, we can build our community - we can  do this!!!!  

Judith Schonebaum