DEL MAR — A local nonprofit and one of Del Mar’s only galleries has faced its fair share of challenges since moving to a new space in May.
The Del Mar Art Center, DMAC, is a nonprofit organization that first opened at the Del Mar Plaza nearly 20 years ago. Bringing together the work of artists from across the region, the gallery aims to not only display local art, but promote art appreciation in the community.
Unable to keep up with rising rent at the Plaza, DMAC departed its longstanding space in October 2018. The gallery was out of rotation for over half a year before its members found a new home on Camino Del Mar in May.
DMAC Vice President Julianne Ricksecker said the move has “affected business in a big way,” causing the gallery to lose many of its drop-in clients who used to visit the space by virtue of its location in the Plaza.
But finding a new location and getting the word out hasn’t been the gallery’s only hurdle. DMAC President Maidy Morhous said recent downtown construction efforts haven’t helped.
“The construction going on has been terrible for the gallery,” she said. “You just can’t see the gallery, there’s trucks and moving equipment in the street, it’s been chaotic.”
Del Mar’s Streetscape project — which aims to update the city’s ailing downtown area — has taken longer than the city anticipated. At the most recent City Council meeting in early August, staff reported the final touches would be complete by mid-September.
With a decrease in foot traffic yielding low sales, Ricksecker said DMAC is reaching out to the community for donations to help keep the organization up and running. DMAC has long helped raise funds for community causes, holding annual charity events most years to help fundraise on behalf of organizations like the Women’s Resource Center, the Monarch School, and Helen Woodward Center.
“Ultimately we’re a nonprofit and would like to give back to the community as we’ve done in the past,” said Ricksecker. “But if we can’t serve artists in the gallery first, I think we’ll lose a lot of our people.”
The organization’s members have been working to extend their reach locally — even if that means simply crossing the street. Every week, DMAC artists display their work in an event called “Art with a View,” showcasing a variety of different artistic mediums on the Civic Center terrace during the city’s weekly Saturday farmer’s market.
DMAC has also made its way to Chase Bank in Del Mar and the Del Mar Cinepolis — revamping the commercial spaces with the art of DMAC members every few months.
In addition to promoting the art of organization members, DMAC has worked with the city to help boost the local art scene. Morhous recently joined Del Mar’s Arts Advisory Committee, and helped the city develop its public arts program. A bronze sculptor, painter and printmaker, she participated in Del Mar’s first city-run art show.
The gallery itself is ever-changing, both in the diversity of its art, and its artist members. The gallery hosts more than 30 artists, who work to set up a new show every three months. But artists are encouraged to swap out their pieces monthly in order to keep the exhibits fresh.
The gallery relies on the efforts and dedication of its members. DMAC artists staff the gallery, and also partake in committees to tackle different aspects of running the nonprofit, such as donations, or marketing and publicity.
“It’s always been a cooperative group, people have to pitch in to get things done,” said Ricksecker.
Although the gallery’s exhibits focus on the visual arts, they have hosted art classes, poetry readings, book signings and musical performances.
DMAC will be hosting a sale on Sept. 7 called “Sunset Sizzle, offering a 20% discount on gallery pieces for that night only. Artists will be present to discuss their work, and there will be a silent auction.
The gallery, located at 1101 Camino Del Mar, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Photo Caption: The Del Mar Art Center has faced its fair share of challenges since opening its new location on Camino Del Mar in May. Photo courtesy of Julianne Ricksecker.