Art is essential: New collaborative funds working artists, virtual gallery

Ten Long Beach artists were given $1,500 each to create original works of art to be featured in a virtual gallery space as part of a new collaboration called the Port City Creative Guild, it was announced Tuesday.

The PCCG, which aims to support artists in sharing, developing and displaying their work while helping to foster the Long Beach arts community as a whole, said in a statement that its mission is “to provide local artists with a platform to showcase their art and their artistry, allowing them to become creative entrepreneurs and give the greater community the benefits of the healing power of creativity.”

To that end, it will provide opportunities, funding and infrastructure for artists “seeking to support the growth of the Long Beach art community.”

If it sounds like a lot, it is, which is probably why this will be launched in phases starting later this month and in partnership with Long Beach-based creative agency Intertrend, as well as with support from the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Arts Council for Long Beach.

The virtual gallery space, viewable on smartphones, tablets and PCs, will be up by the end of May. The online exhibit will also include podcasts, interviews and the artists’ portfolios, with music by local musicians curated by Long Beach-based radio station KLBP.

There is also an evolving plan to place some of the works with local healthcare organizations to display the art on a rotating basis, as well as a commitment from Community Hospital of Long Beach and ongoing discussions with other locations, the organization said more details will be released later this month.

The first round of artists, selected through a collaborative process led by Intertrend, were given no stipulations on how to use the $1,500, “as long as it goes to creating thought-provoking and uplifting art,” according to PCCG spokesperson Brandon Dowling.

The artists awarded are Cynthia Lujan, Tidawhitney Lek, Steve Martinez, Jason Keam, Nat Iosbaker, Nuria Ortiz, Jorge Mujica, Mer Young, Marianna Jamadi and Olga Lah.

When asked when other artists could apply for opportunities, Dowling encouraged those interested to keep an eye on PCCG’s website for more information and the next round of funding, at portcitycreativeguild.org.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the rich fabric that makes up the Long Beach art community,” said Antonia Molina, volunteer Executive Director in a statement. “During this time of crisis, we wanted to make sure that artists realize they too are ‘essential workers’ and their creativity is vital to getting us through these tough times.”

Antonia Molina is the daughter of John Molina, a founding partner in Pacific6, the parent company of the Long Beach Post.

Founded in April, PCCG is funded by nonprofit organization, Creative Class Collective, with initial funding donated by the JAG Molina Foundation Fund, a donor-advised fund held at the Long Beach Community Foundation.

“The Port City Creative Guild is one of the many ways that Long Beach demonstrates how it values the importance of art and culture, especially during this difficult time,” said Julia Huang, President and CEO of Intertrend and Creative Class Collective. “It has been absolutely inspiring to witness how people came together for this initiative and we are honored to be a part of it.”

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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