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February 28, 2024

Cabrillo’s annual fundraising exhibit returns

'12x12: An Open Invitational' allows artists to work between the lines

APTOS—A collection of 207 art pieces will be on display at the Cabrillo Gallery in Aptos on Monday as part of the college’s annual “12×12: An Open Invitational” fundraising exhibit.

The art ranges from traditional oil and acrylic paintings to pieces created with found objects, textiles and plants, by artists of varying ages and experience levels. 

However, each piece does have one thing in common: they are exactly the same size. All entries must be 12 inches wide by 12 inches tall. 

The “12×12” exhibit has been held at the Cabrillo Gallery since 2013. The idea for it came from gallery staff who were looking for a way to raise funds for the space as well as support local art. Cabrillo Gallery takes a 10 percent commission of the work sold from “12×12,” making it mutually beneficial for them and the artists.

“For some [artists], this is the first time they will show anything in a gallery,” said Gallery Program Coordinator Victoria May. “It’s a big moment for them.”

Myrna Ehrlich. — contributed

May said that for most artists, being given parameters of any kind can be very freeing and inspire creativity.

“I don’t see any challenges in it, actually,” May said. “Artists and designers… they thrive on having parameters. They love to play with limitations.”

The 12-inch rule also applies to the depth of the piece. If an artist wanted to, they could install a cube sticking 12 inches out from the wall, May said.

This year, featured artists utilized everything from bars of soap and terrycloths to plants such as strawberries and Brussels sprouts. Some were rendered with paper, and others used the inlaid wood process known as marquetry.

“It’s interesting to see people play around,” she said. “They’ll make it so the frame is 12-by-12, but there are little pieces sticking over the edge. It’s a lot of fun.”

May said there were some issues with putting together this year’s exhibit. A handful of artists were unable to finish their pieces in time due to the recent power outages that hit California.

But the exhibit is slowly coming together—and is still scheduled to open on Monday. A reception will be held Nov. 9 from 4-6 p.m.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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