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The old Mendenhall property at the corner of Second and C in Eureka is transforming into an eclectic compound made up of local artists.
Renovations are still underway and there’s no official name just yet, but eight studios have filled since the fall and ideas are flowing. Plus the artists will open their doors to the public for the very first time this June.
The site has a long rich history. It was once Mendenhall Transportation — a county bus service — but over the years became more commonly known for its noisy watch geese that roamed the property, and its former owner Mrs. Mendenhall’s Fourth of July tradition of covering an entire wall of the building with newspaper articles.
It’s now owned by Russ and Kathleen Krauss, who also own the Hall Gallery and C Street Studios.
In this LoCO Video Report we talk to several of the artists and get to explore their newly decorated studios; which look calm and quiet on the outside, but on the inside, are bursting with color, and a hodgepodge of art.
Lifelong oil painter Linda Mitchell was the first to move in.
“It’s an amazing studio. The best studio space I’ve ever had — north light, high ceilings, a sky light and outside patio area,” she says. “And it’s fun to be part of a whole new community that’s developing.”
She’s next to Scott Hemphill, known for his fascinating copper works. Hemphill was inspired by Hobart Brown and started his craft back in 1989. Now he specializes in hanging sharks and fish made out of pieces of copper braised together with brass. He also does realist sketches from Humboldt and overseas.
“This location is perfect for Arts Alive. It’s set up to be nothing but working artists in this artists compound,” he says. “It’s my move to the business. I need to make my business legit and doing it this way, is the right way, and now I’m accessible to people. Where I wasn’t at my house. Which is good.”
Artists love the spot because they not only get a work area but also have enough space for a gallery or store, they’re surrounded by other artists of all ages. It has a community feel, and it’s affordable.
Ellie Gainey moved in two months ago and is a visual realist that works in 2D. She’s a is full-time student and only 20 years old. Charles Wester is another young artist with his company, Mr. Bling. He does custom rhinestone art and functional art that people can wear. Plus he makes cloud lamps that are fully controllable with a phone app.
And the most recent to move-in just a few days ago — Ronin Guitars. They build handmade custom guitars out of reclaimed old growth redwood and ship them all over the world.
“It’s great in this artists community,” said business owner and builder John Reed. “You couldn’t ask for a better location than to be surrounded by your peers.”
All of the artists plan on having their doors open at Arts Alive, the first Saturday in June, and most for both weekends of North Coast Open Studios, June 3-4 and 10-11.
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