A prominent Santa Cruz County artist is opening a gallery in Scotts Valley and has promised to donate the first $10,000 in gross sales to the local arts community.
Gary Yakima Geyer, a painter and sculptor from Boulder Creek, has planned a grand-opening reception at his new gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 27.
The Gary Yakima Geyer Fine Art Gallery is housed in a remodeled portion of Scotts Valley Artisans, a fast-growing retail art center at 230 Mount Hermon Road that displays the work of more than 150 Santa Cruz County artists.
Geyer, whose work has been shown for the past two years at Scotts Valley Artisans in Kings Village, decided to become the first artist to launch his own gallery at the center and donate the first $10,000 in proceeds to the Regional Artisans Association, the nonprofit group that runs the center.
“They are planting the seed that will make the artists successful in this community,” he said.
Geyer’s gallery is in a side room inside the artisan center, with special lighting and décor. Many of his pieces are priced in the thousands.
A full-time artist in Santa Cruz for 40 years, Geyer said he believes in the business model of an art-focused community.
He has helped develop such communities in several areas, including Capitola Village in the 1970s and later Cannery Row in Monterey.
“When I saw what was going on with Scotts Valley Artisans, their dream was pretty much the same as my dream,” Geyer said.
He praised the work of Pam Nielson and Dawn Teall, the mother-and-daughter team that runs Scotts Valley Artisans.
“Dawn and her mother are smart and they have their act together,” Geyer said. “They have been working for years for nothing but the betterment of the artists.”
Teall, the founder of the center, is thrilled with its growth since it opened two years ago and appreciates the backing of Geyer and other artists.
“We were just stunned,” Teall said about Geyer’s promise. “We’ve been hearing from Gary that he supports our model for the whole county. He just happened to do this right now.”
The center is funded through low-cost rent from the artists, fundraisers and grants.
Teall is planning several May events in pursuit of her goal of making Scotts Valley into a hub for art in Northern California.
Scotts Valley Artisans will have a booth at the Mountain Charley Challenge at Skypark on May 4 and will host a Mother’s Day Eve arts fair outside the center on May 11.
A Mural-in-a-Day painting event — the second of its kind — is planned on May 18 and 19 between The Village Bottle Shop and Cali Style in Kings Village Shopping Center.
The mural — designed by Aidan McCarthy, a student at University of California, Santa Cruz — will depict the history of the Ow family and Kings Market in the shopping center.
And a new website, www.santacruzartists.com, will be launched in May as an online retail outlet for Santa Cruz County-based artists to sell their work.
“People all over the world will be able to buy art made in Santa Cruz online,” Teall said. “It gives promotion to the huge number of Santa Cruz County artists and the caliber of art we have in this county.”
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