Able ARTS Work celebrated its exhibit at the Long Beach Airport during the organization’s fall fundraising event on Friday.
The event, which included about 50 attendees, raised around $20,000 for the nonprofit’s capital campaign—an ongoing effort to move into its new building that was purchased this past spring.
That purchase was made possible thanks to fundraising efforts that the organization, which offers a variety of inclusive art services to people of all abilities, kicked off nearly two years ago, in November 2020.
The funds raised during Friday’s event directly support the second stage of fundraising, which aims to raise $1 million for renovations to make the building fully accessible to its participants.
Including the $20,000 contributed during the fundraiser, the organization has raised a total of $210,000 so far.
“The support is really critical to getting the work started,” said Able ARTS Work’s director of community advancement, Kristy Glass.
Sponsors of the event included Arts Council for Long Beach, Long Beach Airport, Los Angeles County Department of Arts & Culture, Environ, REMO Inc., Long Beach Councilmember Stacy Mungo, Onisko & Scholz, The Morrison & Foerster Foundation, John Gogian Family Foundation and Paradies Lagardère.
Apart from raising funds for the organization, guests were able to view Able ARTS Work’s CORE 2022 exhibit, featured at the organization’s Bixby Knolls gallery space, along with its CORE 2021 exhibit, currently on display at the airport.
Long Beach Airport first reached out to Able ARTS Work in August 2021 about installing an exhibit for its construction barriers; for almost a year, the organization brainstormed and designed the current exhibition, which has been on display since July.
The exhibit, featuring 14 pieces of a variety of mediums, will likely be on display until December—or longer, if the airport encounters any delays in its ongoing construction work. The airport is in the midst of a major renovation project that includes a new baggage claim area, which officials have said they expect to be completed in December.
While Able ARTS Work has curated annual CORE exhibits since 2005, and the exhibition has evolved over the years, recent displays feature collaborations between community artists and Able ARTS Work day program participants across the nonprofit’s four adult day program locations. Able ARTS Work has one program in Long Beach and two in Hawthorne, and its newest is in San Diego, which opened in 2021.
The collaborations have allowed Able ARTS Work students to engage in conversation with local artists and embrace different mediums, Glass said.
One of the collaborating local artists is Lawrence Yun, an artist and professor at Cal State Fullerton who works primarily with watercolor, who teamed up with Able ARTS Work’s Long Beach day studio, Glass said.
Local artist Jazmin Urrea, who frequently incorporates food into her work, meanwhile, collaborated with the Hawthorne program, creating an end result themed around food.
While Able ARTS Work focuses largely on providing art therapies and art classes for people of all abilities, supporting its participants in their journeys toward becoming working artists is also a goal of the organization, Helen Dolas, Able ARTS Work founder told the Long Beach Post in December.
Through the organization’s gallery space, many participants have become working artists. Particularly since the pandemic, Able ARTS Work students have sold more artwork than ever before in the organization’s history.
Along with showcasing the collaboration and introducing viewers to the services offered at Able ARTS Work, the Long Beach Airport exhibit provides an opportunity for Able ARTS Work artists to gain exposure and even facilitate sales, Glass said.
The exhibit includes a QR code where viewers can learn more about each artist, visit their portfolios, and view any artwork that’s available for sale, Glass said.
“It’s definitely exposure for our artists and their artwork and an opportunity to share their creative visions,” Glass said. “Over 5,000 people a day walk past this installation.”
Learn more about Able ARTS Work’s capital campaign here.
Visit Able ARTS Work at its Bixby Knolls gallery, open Tuesdays through Sundays at 4321 Atlantic Ave. On Nov. 4, join Able ARTS Work during its First Friday event, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. for a night of art, music, food, drinks, shopping and entertainment.