Visual arts

The Emerging Artists Alliance of Monterey’s new exhibit is all about sustainability. | Monterey County NOW Intro

Aga Popda here, wondering who’s free tomorrow night. The Emerging Artists Alliance of Monterey has a new exhibit opening Friday, Feb. 18. The title of the exhibit is: “Sustaining: Our World, Our Community, Ourselves,” and it will take place at The Pearl Works, downtown Monterey’s new coworking space (more on that here).

EAAM came into being in 2018 as a reaction to the Soberanes Fire and has four founding mothers: visual artist and poet Valerie Guardiola, geometric artist Monica Helmick, printmaker Corinn Hillstrom and mixed media artist Tatiana Hart.

“All local gals,” says Guardiola, who was born and raised in Monterey. For all of them, art is a side gig to their full time jobs. “We wanted to have a platform for young artists that come straight out of college or are new to the area,” she says. “Part of what we do is we want to listen to what they say they need and want.”

It started with what would become an annual fundraiser, Arts for the Cause. The first cause was the Soberanes Fire; in years since the fundraiser has focused on topics like racism and homelessness. Because of Covid-19, the group held their 4th Annual Arts for the Cause online with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter and Black Visions Collective. With the help of their artist community, donors and an anonymous matching donor, they were able to raise $3,337.

EAAM moves its exhibits from venue to venue, “working with businesses we love,” Guardiola says. This time they are working with The Pearl Works. They connected over the subject of sustainability—the very title of the exhibit and an issue that is dear to the heart of The Pearl Works’ cofounder Alora Daunt. “She said that they have those huge empty walls,” Guardiola says, of Daunt. “Alora is also very interested in the subject of taking care of ourselves, our community and our planet.”

The exhibit will feature close to 20 artists. Among them: Felicia Actosa, Connie Speer, Andrea Rose, Jean Vengua, Adam Gota, Orielle Anais, Natalia Corazza, and others. “We’re kicking off 2022 with a show we are *extremely* proud of (because so far, this year? not the best…),” the organizers wrote on Facebook. Titles of pieces are promising too, featuring words and phrases like “Eden” and “A Peaceful Coexistence.”

The exhibit is free, but an RSVP (and vaccination verification) is required to attend If you can’t make it tomorrow night, The Pearl Works’ regular hours are Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm. Or, visit the EAAM website to find a directory of local artists selling a variety of different hand-made pieces. (This guide is by no means exhaustive, but a selection of EAAM artists, community members and new friends who have reached out.)

Hope to see you there

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