Santa Monica ArtWalk Brings Community Together

Santa Monica College (SMC) Airport Campus buzzed with people, live music, food trucks, students spinning clay, and art at the 12th Annual Santa Monica ArtWalk, put on by The City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs this Saturday, March 24.

The airport campus serves as a studio to over 60 artists and several creative venues, and this ArtWalk showcased various art studios, including the Ruskin Group Theatre, SMC Art Mentor Program, SMC Ceramic Arts department, live music, DJs, food trucks, workshops, and hands on activities, all at no cost to the public. The studios featured sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography, cloth art, ceramics and creative installations, making for a diverse collection.

The event is going 12 years strong, and continues to grow and adapt to better suit the community. Allison Ostrovsky, City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Supervisor, said, “With all of my events, I think it is important to allow them to grow and to tweak them a little bit… this year is the first year we have a workshop that is not led by an artist based here at the airport.”

Ostrovsky eagerly praised the event’s ability to encourage the community’s love of art. “Even if you’re not an artist or an art aficionado you can come here and find something that you love or that moves you and there are so many different styles and mediums that it is fun to explore,” she said.

Something brought up over and over again by coordinators, artists, students, and attendees is the sense of community that this event is able to create.

Studio resident and artist, Susie McKay Krieser, had this to say about the community the ArtWalk and Airport Artist Studios created: “I love being apart of this group of people - a community. The artists are very supportive of each other. When you do art it can be a very lonely thing, so it is nice to have friends here.”

Santa Monica Art Studio Director and sculptor Yossi Govrin, who has been a participant in the ArtWalk for every year it has been running, seems to harbor this sense of community as he mentions what inspires his work is “human beings, people”. His favorite part of the ArtWalk is “the enthusiasm of people who come to see the art… the meeting of people, the human part of it.”

Santa Monica College students had opportunities to showcase work through the SMC Art Mentor Program exhibit and Ceramic Arts exhibit featured. Students were grateful for the opportunity to not only be featured alongside many established artists, but also get exposure, credit, and feedback on their own work. 

Emily Eisen, artist, model, creative director, and student in the SMC Art Mentor Program, shared her experience: “It is important for us to get exposure to the artist who are up and coming and be in the same environment of artists who have been around a while… Half of the meaning of the work to me is the feedback I get and the conversations that I have with the people who see my work.”

Nerea Nicholson, a ceramic student at SMC who was featured in the ArtWalk was incredibly excited and humbled that her work “pretty much sold out”, in her own words. She felt “really lucky” that she did a lot this semester to sell and present.

Yet again, Nicholson summed up the event by celebrating the people and the sense of community it brings each year. “The people - all the people coming to support us is amazing.”