Founded 35 years ago in Paris by artists Archana Horsting, coming from California, and Yuzo Nakano, from Japan, the Kala Art Institute has succeeded beyond their early expectations. Originally a print workshop, it has grown to be a very special place for the production of art in all media, including photography, book arts, video, three-dimensional work and digital processes. By providing professional working facilities in a unique creative environment, it has attracted artists from this country and abroad. Kala provides both established and emerging artists with opportunities to develop and exhibit traditional, as well as cutting-edge artwork and serves as a forum for international dialogue between artists engaged in creative innovation and exploration.
As time went on, the institute’s facilities became too small to entertain all the demands of the place and a new additional 6,700-square-foot area has been acquired, located around the corner from the old space, which will be maintained as is. The new space is the main entrance of the grand, historic former Heinz Factory building on San Pablo Avenue. This new space provides a highly visible and easily accessible street-level entrance to a fine exhibition space for a 2,000-square-foot Kala Gallery. In addition to showing work produced by artists working in the institute, the gallery now can reach out to the broader art world. Kala is able to re-establish its long pioneering history of presenting installation and performance art. The new space will also provide additional work space for artists, a Print and Media Study Center, a conference room, a classroom equipped with a printing press, a staff office and storage.
The grand opening of the new facilities takes place Friday, April 24, with a celebration for supporters of Kala’s new facilities. Along with a preview of an exhibition entitled Re:Con-Figure, the celebration will include live music performances, wine, appetizers and vodka-tasting. Mayor Tom Bates will cut the ribbon, and Larry Rinder, director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, is honorary chair for this event.
“This is a great moment,” says Kate Elertsen, chair of Kala’s 35th anniversary celebration. “For 35 years, Kala has nurtured a community of both local and international artists who are phenomenal. The opening of an expanded facility is a great sign of appreciation for such an amazing community.”
The special opening will be followed May 1 with a free reception, open to the public, for the Re:Con-Figure artists from 6 to 9 p.m. This inaugural show will run through June 27.