Long Beach artist Greg Pickens finds way to overcome pandemic – Press Telegram
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Gregory Navarro Pickens has been a fixture on the Long Beach arts scene, especially the arts education scene, for 30 years.
Pickens, 59, currently lives at Studio Pick, an active art space for group events, private lessons, and a studio for his own work. The studio is located at 4356 Atlantic Avenue at the north end of the Bix Venors business district.
He was the driving force behind Artists Reaching Kids, a downtown arts hub focused on after-school programs in the 1990s. He later helped found the Art Exchange. Art Exchange continued to focus on arts education while pursuing its own career in creating art (ARK was incorporated into the exchange).
Both of these efforts were established as non-profit organizations. The art exchange survived until the 2010s, but eventually gave way to the Long Beach Museum of Art, creating the Long Beach Museum of Art-Downtown Gallery.
Throughout it all, Pickens pursued a passion for arts education. He has been teaching in either education system for 29 years. He taught at Westery School, a private K-8 school, for seven years, helping to develop an art program for the Long Beach Unified School District. And he still teaches at the Intellectual Virtues Academy, a charter high school based in North Long Beach.
“I love watching kids find out what they can do artistically,” Pickens said. “With a few instructions, they can do a lot on their own.”
Pickens offers a wide range of artistic techniques at Studio Pick, from simple painting creation and montage to acrylic coatings, line art and other esoteric approaches. The important thing is to give people tools and to express themselves apart.
In 2019, Pickens decided to open a public studio for practical art on his own. He had a concept, but he didn’t have the space.
“It got pretty depressing,” he said. “Two different spaces have passed. Please hold on to my wife Laura and congratulate her.
“Then we found this place,” he added. “There was more than the other two spaces.
The storefront was a beauty salon. The whole family planted it to make an art studio.
It was in August 2019.
“It was then closed for 14 months,” Pickens said of the coronavirus pandemic that began in March 2020.
We are Pickens and his art teacher, Robin Bacchus. They organize everything from paint and bite (wine) party versions to birthday parties for youngsters. StudioPick also offers private lessons and studio time, allowing you to work on your own art using room devices.
Posting hours are Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is for walk-in customers – Pickens sells art kits and consumables – but there is other time available for parties and classes. Pickens also accepts orders up to the murals.
“We’re making these sugar skulls now,” he said with an example. “As you can imagine, they are really popular.
“And we look forward to this first Friday,” he added. “I love this community.
Long Beach Artist Greg Pickens Finds Path Beyond Pandemic – Press Telegram Source Link Long Beach Artist Greg Pickens Finds Path Beyond Pandemic – Press Telegram