Re-Gallery serves to renew artwork and its artists
In the spirit of sustainability, a new gallery in the Cedros Avenue Design District displays and sells “revisioned, reimagined and repurposed artifacts,” according to co-founder and General Manager Lester Corral.
Exhibits, made from reclaimed materials like wood scraps, old watch parts, discarded fabrics and items often relegated to the landfill, are displayed with the same care and attention to detail that one would find in a high-end gallery.
Sales manager Mimi Dessert helped curate the current exhibition, which includes functional art like stools and side tables, and handbags made from wood and fabric, and aesthetic sculpture and decorative wall pieces.
“Everything here is 90-percent made from reclaimed materials,” Dessert said. “It’s art with a conscience.”
Although the concept of “green art,” as it is generally known, is not unique, another aspect of the gallery is.
“We provide studio space for persons with special needs,” Corral said. “Re-Gallery offers art lessons led by professional artists who embrace sustainability and have a passion for teaching adults with developmental disabilities.”
The gallery also supports crafters and amateur artists who work with reclaimed materials.
Corral has been teaching environmentally conscious art for the last three years, he said. A graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in applied arts and furniture design, Corral has been making art from reclaimed materials for the last eight years.
“I pick up scraps of fabric, discarded by textile companies as waste, and reweave it to make other things,” he said. “Or I take scraps of wood from lumberyards and create sculptures. I want people to see that something beautiful can be made from someone else’s trash.”
Corral is instructing a group of adults with special needs in Solana Beach called the Cedros Culture Club. Those in this successful independent-living program are guided artistically by Corral and other artists through art workshops held in the garages at the living space.
Maxine Gordon, with more than 25 years of teaching experience, is one of the art instructors. “Working with these young adults with special needs is a gift,” Gordon said. “Sometimes I think that I learn more from them than they do from me. They are so creative and imaginative. They’re not limited by the paradigms that we learn in art school.”
Much of the re-purposed art made by the students is exhibited and available for sale at Re-Gallery. The work of artist Nick Baltins, 31, who has Down syndrome, is currently on display. He is also employed at Re-Gallery as an ambassador. His parents, Lynn and Andris Baltins of Del Mar, are co-founders of the gallery.
When the Baltins saw how Nick’s art skills had grown through Corral’s instruction and how the two of them had become close friends, it was a natural next step for them to support the gallery concept, they said.
“It is also a great way for those with developmental disabilities to fulfill a need to have a role in society,” Andris Baltins explained.
Nick Baltins added that his art might also prompt an emotional response for the viewer. “I hope that when people see my artwork, their hearts will be touched and then they will be better able to experience their own feelings.”
In his role as ambassador, Nick Baltins visits other businesses and tells them about Re-Gallery.
“He has a manner that is forthright and endearing,” Corral said. “When he’s not dealing with the public, he’s behind the scene sweeping the floor or arranging materials for future use in making revisioned artifacts.”
“Art is my life,” Nick Baltins said, “and in the gallery is where I come to life. It’s through my art that I want to fulfill my dream of contributing to my community and my world.”
Go see it!
Re-Gallery Grand Opening
- The Re-Gallery, 348H S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, will host a public opening celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. July 23
- Gallery hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. (858) 259-2001, www.regallery.org.
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