Before longtime art gallery owner Barry Smith opened the new Sacramento Art Complex between K and 21st streets in Sacramento, he looked up the noun “complex” in a dictionary.
“It’s an interrelated but separate [group] of intellectually creative entities,” said Smith, who has been an art dealer for 25 years. “I loved it, so I thought, ‘Hey, what if I had a gaggle of artists around me as this synergetic entity?'”
His vision became a reality in the heart of the capital with the SAC, a building featuring 25 different artists‘ studios, which celebrated its grand opening July 12.
“It’s very exciting because there’s strength,” said Carmichael painter Michelle MacKenzie, whose studio is one of the first to greet visitors of the complex. “There’s [over] 20 of us and with all that strength, it really just mushrooms upon itself. It’s truly a little artist community.“
The purpose of complex is simple, Smith explained. To people seeking quality art, a broad collection from many artists is always more appealing than a single studio with only one or two artists‘ work available.
For instance, when one of MacKenzie’s regular customers came to the complex, she also discovered Brenda Boles down the hallway and, as a result, also became a collector of Boles‘ work.
“My customers and collectors are excited to come down here not just to see my work, but my friends‘ work too,” MacKenzie said.
Boles, a longtime Sacramento artist, described the SAC as a community of artists who help each other.
“What’s really good about it is that there’s this kind of composite energy,” Boles said. “It’s an enthusiasm where you lift each other up.“
“We love working with each other because we’re used to being in our little bubbles,” said photographic artist Judith Monroe of Antelope.
“Having a chance to interact with people who are like us is exciting. In a way, it’s a little crazy trying to make a living making art. But here, I’m with a whole bunch of people who totally get it.“
The styles and mediums on display at the SAC are so diverse that Monroe considers stepping into it like “stepping into a microcosm of the world.“
One of the first studios upon entering the complex is that of Kristen Hoard, who creates organic sculptures using recycled metals. On the other end of the building upstairs, Andrew Hindman creates art with an innovative combination of oil, acrylic, photography, print and computers.
“It’s a feast of creativity,” Smith said.
One of the weekly events held by the SAC is Open Studio Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., during which visitors can tour the studios, purchase pieces and witness the artistic process.
“We want people to realize that this is somewhere they can come when they have their weekends off because they work all day long [during the week],” Boles said. “People think the economy is bad and don‘t want to spend money now. But I think that’s when you really need all the more to surround yourself with beautiful things and something positive to lift your spirit.“
The Sacramento Art Complex is located at 2110 K St. in Midtown Sacramento. For more information, go to sacramentoartcomplex.com.
RAY LIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.