DEL MAR — On Jan. 8, the Del Mar Art Center (DMAC) sent out its final press release announcing its closure at the end of the month.
DMAC has been a part of the Del Mar art community for 20 years, since opening its doors in July 2000 as a nonprofit organization.
Gallery President Kelly Vellasenor said in the final press release, “As a thank you to the Del Mar community, we will offer our art at amazing values during our final days … Sale begins now and continues through January 26.”
The gallery is closing because it can’t continue to pay rent.
Up until now, members paid fees each month in order to support the gallery’s rent. The participating artists hoped they would see additional cash flow through the commissions of their art selling, but sadly, the needed funding was not being received.
“With sales being so low, many of our members could not long justify paying fees that did not result in sales,” said Julianne Ricksecker, former marketing director, participating member and artist for almost five years. “Our gallery is not alone in experiencing low sales in the current art market, but as a cooperative of working artists, we don’t have a financial cushion to carry us long through a slow time.”
Over the past 20 years DMAC has held many exhibits and fundraising events. Beneficiaries of the fundraisers were always places that were in support of the arts or providing art supplies to schools.
This year, the beneficiary will be the Helen Woodward Center in Rancho Santa Fe. The center is a place where, “people help animals and animals help people.” They offer various animal therapy programs, volunteer opportunities and adopt homeless animals into loving homes.
Other events the DMAC has hosted included local high school art shows run by students. They also had poetry readings, jazz concerts, book signings and art classes.
The final funds will be released to the organizations after the all of the gallery’s closing expenses have been determined.
“I really hope that the most memorable thing for most people was enjoying the quality art on view for free in the community and talking to the artists as real people doing work they are passionate about,” Ricksecker said. “One of the unique qualities of a cooperative gallery is that the artists are the staff that meet the public and talk about the art. Many artists worked on a piece while staffing, so that visitors could see how different artists approach their craft.”
DMAC will be holding its farewell reception from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 25. The reception is open to the public and free of admission. According to the website it is, “A Final Reception to say ‘Farewell’ to all the artists and ‘Thank You’ to the community.”
For those wanting to visit the gallery prior to Jan. 26, the DMAC hours are 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information consult https://dmacgallery.com.
“We’d like to thank a number of organizations in the community that were very supportive of the gallery,” Ricksecker said. “Rotary Club of Del Mar for a grant to help us get started in this location, and other sponsors and donors L’Auberge Del Mar, Del Mar Blueprint, BodyBeinginMotion, a number of individual donors and of course all of our collectors. Thanks are also in order to all of the local businesses who donated items for our silent auctions each year, allowing us to raise funds to give back to the community.”