Letter From The Editor

Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 11.44.21 AMCovering the Chinatown/downtown area for Metro, I have noticed there is one place that seems to come up again and again in a wide array of contexts: The ARTS at Marks Garage.

The space, after all, is a multi-purpose venue that’s like a co-working office, a gallery and performance venue all rolled into. So it plays host to a range of activities: exhibits featuring local artists — both well-known ones and up-and-comers — theatrical performances and art classes, not to mention its affiliation with big events like Hallowbaloo (by the way, you can view photos here) and participation in community happenings like First Fridays.

The ARTS at Marks turns 15 this year and is celebrating with a party on Nov. 19. We had the chance to learn about how it all came to be and how it’s impacted some of the groups and artists it has worked with (see more here). The party, by the way, doubles as a fundraiser for the organization, with proceeds benefitting its diverse programming.

Reflecting on 15 years of The ARTS, executive director Rich Richardson also recalled what Chinatown was like when they first moved in: “Fifteen years ago, it was considered the worst neighborhood, and right now, I think everyone would agree that it is one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the state.”

But what Richardson doesn’t acknowledge is the pivotal role that The ARTS has played in that. When improv performer Garrick Paikai thinks back to his early days coming to the center, he says that people still viewed Chinatown as “this crummy piece of town.”

“But through the years,” Paikai says, “it’s become like a mecca for artists to bring down whatever art that they do — design, photography, paintings, craftsmanship, performing artists like myself — and The ARTS helped establish that.”