The Magoski Arts Colony in Fullerton was awarded the Dr. James Young Arts Legacy award at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center on Sept 26.
The Arts Colony began in the fall of 2010 as a unique independent art venue in downtown Fullerton. It began as a collaborative venture between Hibbleton Gallery, PAS Gallery, and Violethour Studio.
The Colony was housed in a renovated a historic warehouse on Santa Fe Avenue owned by Pete Magoski, father of Michael Magoski (owner of Violethour Studio). The goal was to create an immersive multi-gallery art experience under one roof.
The Colony opened its doors in October of 2010 to great success. A common reaction to the newly-created Magoski Arts Colony was, “I can’t believe this exists in Fullerton.” Art in Fullerton has gone in ebbs and flows over the years, with high points in the 1960s (with the birth of A Night in Fullerton) and the 1980s (with Sarah Bain Galley, Edge Gallery, and more). By the mid-2000s, downtown Fullerton had become primarily a bar destination, with little art happening, save the excellent Fullerton Museum Center.
The same year that saw the birth of the Art Colony also saw the birth of the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk—a grassroots coalition of businesses and galleries that hosted art shows throughout downtown Fullerton on the first Friday of every month.
Over time, the Magoski Arts Colony and the Fullerton Museum Center became the north and south hubs of the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk, with many excellent venues in between (some now gone, some remain) such as Out of Vogue, Blanquel Popular Art, Roadkill Ranch, Lolo: a Boutique, and more. At our peak, we had over 30 participating venues.
As the Art Walk grew organically, so did the Magoski Arts Colony. New galleries and studios opened in the large warehouse such as Stephan Baxter’s Egan Gallery, Esther Jacks’ Apero Gallery, and individual studios for such amazing artists as Valerie Lewis, Leanne Sergeant, Paul Tran, Oscar Arroyo, and more.
The art colony provided a welcoming and inclusive creative community. Some of their exhibits even addressed issues of social justice, such as police brutality and marriage equality.
And then suddenly, in October of 2018, everything stopped, when the colony failed a routine fire inspection, and was cited for numerous city code violations.
This was surprising because the Art Colony had, by this point, been open for eight years and had passed numerous fire inspections. Additionally, City council members, city employees, and even state elected officials had enjoyed its many free art exhibits over the years.
It remains to be seen whether the Magoski Arts Colony will re-open. The cost to bring the building up to code has thus far been prohibitive.
In the meantime, the many artists and curators of the Magoski Arts Colony continue to show their work at various other venues of the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk.
On November 1, for the Art Walk, Hibbleton Galley will be hosing a group show featuring many former “colonists” including Melinda Hagman, Esther Jacks, Myra Bryan, Scot Bryan, Leanne Sergeant, and more!