2020’s curveballs have created countless challenges for nonprofit organizations. But the difficult year has also generated unexpected expressions of community support.
On Friday, Sept. 11, Able ARTS Work (AAW) opened an art gallery in a space donated by the 2ND&PCH complex. The 1,200-square-foot waterfront site provides a space for AAW to showcase and sell pieces designed by its artists and musicians. The 2ND&PCH management has given AAW free use of the suite until the end of December.
“The 2ND&PCH team strives to create happiness through our various experiences,” said CenterCal Properties General Manager Samantha Lopez. “Through the power of community and strong relationships amid a pandemic, we’ve been able to get creative all while supporting the Long Beach community with partners such as Able ARTS Work.”
In addition to helping AAW, 2ND&PCH has hosted two American Red Cross blood drives a month since April. To date, the drives have collected 305 pints of blood and saved 915 lives.
“We will continue to host two blood drives a month through the end of the year as we continue to seek additional partnerships and opportunities to serve our community,” Lopez said.
The donated gallery site enables Able ARTS Work to raise awareness of the powerful impact that arts can make. For nearly 40 years, AAW has used creative arts to provide lifelong learning, community service and vocational opportunities for people with disabilities of all levels and ages.
“This space is an amazing opportunity to share Able ARTS Work mission for inclusion, a place where we can connect with the community and our students can share their art,” said Kristy Glass, Director of Community Advancement for AAW. “This is an opportunity to connect in real time and step away from our computer screens as we slowly navigate our way back to connecting in person.”
To support public health, the gallery offers hand sanitizer at its entry and admits only five guests at a time.
Prior to COVID-19, AAW offered arts instruction in a classroom setting. After the stay-at-home order was issued, the organization replaced its on-site classes with online offerings. Donations from supporters allowed AAW artists to receive care packages with art materials and instruments for home use.
Paintings, ceramics, and other handmade items will be available for purchase at the Able ARTS Work Gallery, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Art pieces range from $15 to $350; AAW artists receive a 50% commission from the sale of each item.
Currently, the gallery wall features art by Carlos Arredondo, a resident artist in the Encouraging Personal Independence (EPI) program. Inspired by Cubism and Pop Art, Arredondo favors bold colors and strong linear brushwork. One of Arredondo’s pieces was recently awarded first place in the Cultural Education Center for the Arts (CECA) Community Showcase.
The Able ARTS Work Gallery is in Suite 150 at 2ND&PCH, at 6480 E. Pacific Coast Highway. For more information on AAW, go to www.ableartswork.org.