As the year of 2009 is coming to a close, we wanted to take the time out and recognize some of the inspirational people and organizations we have met in our community.  When we started 1:AM gallery a year ago, we had a vision of creating it to be a one-stop-shop for all your urban arts needs, by offering paint, books, classes and artwork.  What we did not know was how it was going to evolve to be a meeting place for the community, where people come in and freely express their thoughts or share their latest artwork and teach new styles to each other.  On any given day, you meet many people from different walks of life chillin’ at the gallery.

With that being said, a couple of weeks ago, we attended an art show called “Young UpstArts”, which were showcasing  a couple of the kids that frequent the gallery (I call them kids but some of them are in their early twenties).  The show was being hosted by The Imagine Bus Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing arts education to underserved youth.  They allowed the kids to exhibit and sell their art to give them first hand experience on how it is to have a career as an artist.  The curator of the show was Marlon Sagana Ingram, one of the artists that participated in 1:AM’s “Tabi Tabi Po” show and also an amazing gentleman devoted to being a positive figure for the Bay Area’s urban youth.  Marlon has been working with some of these kids since their freshmen year in high school and has been helping them grow as artists.  For this exhibition, he let them use his studio and some of them were there all day and night to finish their masterpieces.  He also asked us to question the kids about their art to give them the true experience of selling their art in a gallery.  We obliged and fired millions of questions about the mediums they used, their inspiration, creative thought process, etc.  The show was a great success and some of the kids sold their first pieces ever!  It was positive vibes all around.   We can’t wait to watch them grow as artists and see what they will produce in the next ten years!

We asked Marlon what was next and he told to us that in addition to being an urban contemporary artist, he also has a strong background in graphic design, so he started teaching the kids how to make their own websites.  Wow!  What a valuable tool to know especially as aspiring artists.  Marlon (if you are reading this), you are awesome and a true inspiration.

Here are pictures of the opening night of “Young UpstArts” (taken with Marlon’s phone):

Thanks Marlon and The Imagine Bus Project for keeping the arts alive in our youth!