Old Town Artisan Studio Capital Campaign Event

BY: Marge Dodge, Special to The Desert Sun

(Photo: Mac Glassman/Special to The Desert Sun)

Old Town Artisan Studio has a new home for the Art Park of the Desert, a creative arts campus for all generations.

Supporters were invited for a first look at the property and to kick-off the capital campaign to fulfill their dream of a debt free future. When construction estimates for the previously planned Art Park almost doubled from the anticipated costs, the organization’s founder Victory Grund looked for alternatives. The solution was found in the former Cunard Estate built in the 1930s that later became the La Quinta Grill and The Homestead restaurants.

The three-acre property will undergo renovations to provide a warm and inviting place for people of all ages to reveal their creativity through clay, fused glass, painting and other artistic mediums. Grund said, “The patio and grounds are perfect for plein air art, soft music and recitals, weddings, and art in many mediums. There is space for all outdoor and indoor interactive art features for all ages and abilities.”

Guests explored the many nooks and crannies of the property and observed demonstrations of lamp working, wet clay, bisque and painting while munching on savory and sweet treats from Desert Cities Catering. The chocolate fondue station was especially popular. Some guests relaxed and chatted around the outdoor fire pit while enjoying familiar tunes played on the piano by Mark Ranck.

Richard Grund shared the history of the land with the crowd and Matt Johnson expounded on Victory’s vision of the Art Park, the financial requirements to achieve success, and the ability of the Park to be self-sustaining with income from three office buildings on the property once the debt is retired. Victory Grund thanked all the volunteers, especially her first instructor KayHenkel, and staff members Stefania Ford and Stephen Mangione were recognized. Lynda and Phil Skutt were acknowledged for donating all new kilns and potter wheels, and Sherry Pena of Desert Cities Catering was applauded for her donation of $50,000 in catering over the next five years. Heather Langley was praised for her creation of the metal Legacy Tree where the capital campaign donor’s names will remain forever.

Development director Diana Marlo Noll closed the short program by expressing her gratitude for her friendship to visionary Grund and seeing the dream of an Art Park realized.