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The Art of a Matress Factory

The Heart of the Artist
Breeze and Bell Arts Factory: Two Treasures

By Emily Thiroux
Ventura Breeze Vol. 3, No. 22 August 11-24, 2010

When I had decided to move to a new community, I knew I was looking for a place that supported the arts and had an active community of talented artists. On an early visit to Ventura, two things made me think that I had found home. First, I picked up a copy of Ventura Breeze and was delighted at the arts coverage. In so many communities, art is generally ignored in the newspapers so people in the community can’t really see what is out there. The Breeze shows you all kinds of options from openings to classes and performances.

The second thing I discovered was Bell Arts Factory at 432 North Ventura Avenue. The building is covered with striking olive green and orange murals in a flowing slightly psychedelic style that make it one of the most interesting looking buildings in town. Created in October 2004, this former mattress factory is the home to 27 artists’ studios, a gallery, VITA Art Center, Tea by the Sea tea room, and a wonderful arts education program. Amazing.

I go to Bell Arts most first Fridays and wander through to see what new is being created in the studios. I love to watch Regina Vorgang weave on her giant looms. Her studio is full of beautiful rugs and wall hangings. You can go into studios and see painters creating water colors, acrylic, and oil paintings. You will also see ceramists, fused and stained glass artists, and mixed media artists. They even have Anca Colbert who offers Art Advisory Services.

And a trip to Bell Arts is not complete without a visit to Tea by the Sea. Cindy Yoshitomi will pour you a cup of tea while she visits with you about the wonders of all sorts of teas from around the world—the art of drinking tea.

On Saturday August 21 from 3 to 10 PM, Bell Arts will be hosting Fandango, their big fifth anniversary bash. They are featuring food, drink, birthday cake and lots of music. You will be entertained by Fish Fry, The Sus Corez Trez, Rooster Ra, Francisco de Leon, Donna Lynn Caskey, Zacamandu, and Emy Reynolds. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at http://bellartsfandango2010.eventbrite.com Proceeds go to support BAF (Bell Arts Factory) youth programs. BAF believes that “all children need safe, creative environments in which to build their spirit, skills, and potential. With the support of generous sponsors, Bell Art’s Factory is providing just such an environment in its multicultural sfterschool and Saturday programs for children, youth, and families. Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.”

So stop by Bell Arts on a First Friday after 6 PM or come to their big birthday bash. I know you’ll love this place as much as I do. And you can follow them on Facebook.

I hope you’ll introduce me to artists you want to learn more about. Contact me through Facebook at The Heart of the Artist. Or email me at emily@theheartoftheartist. And I hope that you’ll read my blog and support the artists I feature. http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/category/Blog/

12 Responses to “The Art of a Matress Factory”

  • What a thoughtful piece, your words are so generous with praise and thoughtful in your descriptions Emily. Your gentle descriptions kind of feel like taking a nice stroll thru a comfortable, familiar neighborhood-oh, that would be Ventura! May you all enjoy your Saturday- Wish I were closer.

  • admin:

    Thanks, Lydia. You are welcome to come any time!

  • admin:

    I weave myself and love it. It is relaxing, kind of a Zen, as well as creative. If you’d like to stop by my studio sometime, I can give you a demonstration.

  • Michiko Shimizu:

    The description of the building makes me want to visit there. You provided the information that we can follow this fantastic place on facebook. I must find and follow it. The summer is over, and my children and I are going through hectic schedule but maybe when the fall madness is over with, I probably take my children and see about this place.

  • Michele L'Heureux:

    Thanks for letting us know about this. I don’t get to Ventura much anymore, but I will definitely be sure to stop by here next time I’m there.

  • Brandon Taylor:

    I like your vivid descriptions of the old mattress building and the contents of the studios. I can picture it in my head.

  • Jeremy Rodriguez:

    I live in Thousand Oaks when I’m not in Bakersfield, so it’s not to far from me and I would love to check this out when I’m in Ventura it sounds really cool.

  • Stevi Brott:

    This place sounds amazing. I definetly want to visit this place the next time im in Ventura. Unfortunetly I dont get a chance to go that way very often, but it will deffinetly get added to my list of places to check out. Thanks for telling us about it.

  • Jonathan Marquez:

    I am actually not an art person but even though I am not my wife actually is and I am sure she would love to check it out as soon as she can get a chance.

  • Raynell Kagler:

    This sounds very interested and fun! My mother and I are always looking for new experiences and this just might our next one.

  • Donna:

    I definitely have to check out Bell Arts!

  • Steve:

    I was recently in Ventura at harbor. Now that I know about the Bell Arts center I will definitely check it out. It sounds like a great way to spend some casual time and meet new people.

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