The Many Doors of Artists Alley
There is a saying, When one Door Closes, another will Open. One Beautiful Door has closed in Artists Alley. The Muramid Mural Museum is now in storage awaiting their new venue hopefully in Oceanside.
Is there a future for individual artists and Art studios/centers in Oceanside, especially in Artists Alley? When in 1992, My space for the very first studio/gallery in Oceanside, in an alley full of the every nights detritus of the homeless and their cohorts, I paid 300. a month for rent. Within a few years we had nine working artists in residence in the Art Building. Now the same space rental is 1800.00. I can think of no artist capable of affording this kind of rent. The Alley is not retail. It is an alley and as such there is no foot traffic or highway visibility which would give the artist any way to attract clients and customers. "The Alley" as it is affectionately called, has been the life center of our Monthly First Friday Art Walk and the Muramid, it's main attraction.
For Centuries, artists have worked and created in out of the way lofts, backrooms, warehouses, and other non desirable places to make their art works. The drive to do the art thing, is not an option it is a fact of existence. For the true artist, they will create their works in a bedroom if no other spot is available. In our Downtown area, these little out of the way places for Artists have disappeared and our Artists have left.
Large cosmopolitan Cities have always had these small spaces for artists,writers, and performers. They also have the vital element of Arts Patrons. These individuals will open the galleries, playhouses and support the Libraries that are essential for a thriving Arts Community.
Oceanside is in the process of creating a Master Plan for the Cultural Arts which include the fine arts, visual, performance, musical, and the written word. OMA had been a leader in the fine arts as an institution, and the Library our guide for the Arts Commission. In an article in the San Diego Union Tribune this last week, which was about the creation of a Master Plan for the Arts, the mention of Galleries was included twice. As of now, there is one gallery, and one artist studio and their future is uncertain. Is there a way to include individual artists and bring galleries/art centers to our downtown Oceanside? Perhaps a new format could be considered.
A civic Art Center is one way in which many cities have been successful in providing a place for teaching and creating the Arts. City buildings are another way to create gallery spaces where people come on a regular basis looking for building permits and new business possibilities. These folks are prospective consumers of art and potential clients.
As we contemplate the many doors of Artists Alley it might be that these doors become a state of mind. These doors can be in Hotels, Restaurants, Coffee shops, City Hall and in vacant malls in our City. The Artists would be well served to have a partnering with our City in this endeavor, to include this dilemma of unrealistic rents for future artists occupation, and to create new spaces in our Downtown in the Master Plan for the Arts.
Perhaps East Oceanside can be a new Door. South Oceanside has opened the Door for artists and artisans with the participation of many of the new young business owners with the South O Walkabout” There are many doors within the Educational structures of the Oceanside Unified School District along with Mira Costa. So my journey down the pathway of Artists Alley will continue to have my presence for what ever can be arranged, but we now seek to find new Doorways that will become the New Artists Alleys of our hearts desire. We await our beloved Muramid Mural Museum's search for a new Home and we hope that it is in Oceanside.