Much like an immense piece of recycled art, the commercial warehouse that was once the Wrigley Gum factory on the West Side of Santa Cruz is being creatively renovated into something new, inspiring, and progressive. The looming building may appear to be serious and still on the outside. But step inside the 385,000-square-foot complex, and you’ll see this Santa Cruz landmark being transformed into a lively home where local manufacturers, entrepreneurs, instructors, and artists can bring their work to life. On the 2nd floor, and seemingly in the center of this expanding cultural hub, is the R. Blitzer Gallery.
Like the artistically decorated lobby, hallways, and art studios enlivening the former Wrigley factory, the gallery is proof of growing opportunities to create, promote, and experience art in the building and community. Owner and artist Robert Blitzer did not initially intend to open a gallery until he required a space to accommodate the production of a fountain he had been commissioned to build for a gardening show. After moving his venue several times throughout the building, he finally settled and established the gallery as a public venue.
The R. Blitzer Gallery is bright, spacious, and well-equipped to exhibit the work of local and regional artists, as well as host a variety of events. It has an open and airy feel, with a generous amount of wall and floor space, 19-foot high ceilings, track lighting, and bright, natural light streaming in from large windows. Blitzer has created a polished and professional venue that compliments the mixed media and multi-dimensional artwork on display.
Blitzer partially uses the gallery to display his expressive bronze sculptures and paintings. He resonates with metal work, and natural and refractive materials. He welds brass, copper, steel, found metals, and works with crystals, semi-precious, and natural stones. In addition to showing his own work, Blitzer also regularly schedules themed exhibits showing the artwork of local and visiting professional artists. The gallery has featured a broad range of work, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and woodwork.
As well as providing a museum-like environment to display cutting-edge work, the gallery is also an ideal and welcoming setting for special community events including art receptions, theater groups, poetry readings, benefits, and concerts. Blitzer actively collaborates with local businesses and art organizations including the UCSC Sesnon Art Gallery, and the First Friday Santa Cruz Art Tour. He also caters to more than the visual art community by opening the venue to other forms of creativity – the space was recently used for a hairstyle demonstration. Art “knows no bounds” in the R. Blitzer Gallery.
More information on the R. Blitzer Gallery can be found here.