Thursday, 30 May 2024

Harbor Village Artists colony celebrates grand opening

Pomo artist and traditional craftswoman Luwana Quitiquit has examples of her exquisite beadwork on display at her Pomo Fine Arts Gallery. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

LUCERNE – A unique gathering of local artists now has a home on the lake in Lucerne, where it's hoped their presence will inspire and transform the community.

The Harbor Village Artists' colony is located on Highway 20 next door to Lucerne Harbor Park and overlooking Clear Lake.

On Friday a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration honored the new complex. The gathering featured the opportunity for dozens of visitors to browse through the shops, enjoy food and wine, and get to know the people behind the effort.

County Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely told Lake County News that the Lake County Redevelopment Agency purchased the property in January of 2005 for $330,000.

The quarter-acre property has 80 feet of lake frontage. Seely said it originally had five cabins; one was removed and four were restored into artists' shops.

The result is that today Harbor Village Artists' four Alpine-style cottages are inhabited by The Gourd Gallery, Konocti Art Gallery/Studio, Lakeside Art and Pomo Fine Arts Gallery. All of the shops feature affordable and unique handmade items by local artisans and craftspeople.

Linda Kelly, her sister Sandie Coelho-Davis and their partner Marilyn Crayton are the proprietors of The Gourd Gallery, which opened July 2.

Since the shop's opening they've had about 400 visitors, said Kelly.




Unique, locally made creations fill The Gourd Gallery. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



They're receiving positive reactions from people for their unique gourd art; they're also hearing from rom Lucerne residents who are encouraged at having that artists' shops located there.

“It's been very positive,” said Crayton. “We definitely have the support of the community.”

Pomo artist Luwana Quitiquit opened her Pomo Fine Arts Gallery in August. She said Harbor Village has given her the chance to have a gallery space for the first time; previously she has only taken her work to shows.

Quitiquit, who is joined at the studio by her son, two daughters and niece, said she is seeing a lot of interest in her native arts and crafts, which include beadwork, basketweaving, jewelry and other crafts.




Artist Meredith Gambrel's work is on display at the Konocti Art Gallery/Studio. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



She's well-known for her tribal dolls, which she has made for 20 years. Quitiquit makes dolls representing 35 US tribes; actor Kevin Costner even owns some of her dolls, she said.

Her studio includes examples of exquisite beadwork on buckskin shirts and dresses. A shirt takes about a year to complete by hand, she said.

Quitiquit plans to hold workshops on making traditional Pomo basketry. Outside of her show is a planter with a dogbane plant, which – when it matures – can be used to create string that is the basis of the baskets.

A change in vision, direction

The vision behind Harbor Village didn't originally include the arts, said Seely. “The initial concept was to renovate the buildings and operate it as a business incubator.”

He credited Supervisor Denise Rushing, who took office in January of 2007, with the suggestion to consider an artists' colony at the location.

Rushing said at the gathering that the focus changed to an artists' colony after she and county Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Cox happened to attend a Sacramento workshop. There, they heard a talk given by social entrepreneur Bill Strickland, president and chief executive officer of the Manchester Bidwell Group.




Supervisor Denise Rushing explains the importance of art in transforming a community at the Friday, Oct. 10, 2008 ribbon cutting for Harbor Village Artists. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Strickland recounted how, as a young man, he was preparing to drop out of school when one day he happened by a ceramics studio and saw an artist making pottery. He stopped and asked the artist, Frank Ross, if he could try it.

“And it transformed his life,” said Rushing.

The theory, she said, is that “art lifts the darkness,” and transforms not just people but communities.

Rushing said the county hopes that the artists' colony can help begin major transformations in Lucerne.

She credited the artists involved in the colony with courage for their willingness to move forward in tough economic times.

Seely said the redevelopment agency was very fortunate to be able to partner with the 20 artists working at the colony, who were giving soul to stone and mortar.

Kenny Parlet, representing both the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Northshore Business Association, credited county officials for their work to build the community and the economy through efforts like the artists' colony, and for using parks and open space to draw visitors.

There's also an effort under way to possibly hold an alpine festival in the town this spring, said Parlet.s

Harbor Village Artists is located at 6197 East Highway 20, adjacent to Lucerne Harbor Park, in Lucerne.

Store hours and contacts are as follows: The Gourd Gallery, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, telephone 274-2346; Konocti Art Gallery/Studio, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, telephone 278-0323; Lakeside Art, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, 274-1393; Pomo Fine Arts Gallery, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, telephone 349-9588.

Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




The artists are joined by Supervisor Denise Rushing, county Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely and Kenny Parlet, president of the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce, at Harbor Village Artists' Friday, Oct. 11, 2008 ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



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