This First Friday, March 6, Studio 119 is hosting a special artist reception to unveil two new pieces of public art. Two local artists were selected to create special installations along River Street, enlivening the chain link fence and the street-facing windows of Studio 119.

We interviewed the artists to learn more about the inspiration behind their installations. Sarah Borgeson, a Tannery artist, created the installation in the Studio 119 windows and local artist Bryan Argabrite crafted the sculptures gracing the chain link fence, Join us from 5-9pm on First Friday to meet the artists and see more of their work. 


Tell us about you! What is your artistic background?

Sarah Borgeson: I received a BFA in sculpture from The Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Upon graduating, I moved back to the Bay Area and worked for a jewelry designer in San Francisco, then ended up back in Minneapolis where I began my own jewelry business. Back in California, I spent the next 25 years devoted to that company and raising a family here in Santa Cruz. 

Bryan Argabrite: I have been creating and building things my whole life. Now I thrive on interactive large sculptural works that bring joy to the riders and watchers alike.

What inspired you about this public art project?

Sarah: I saw this as an opportunity to push myself to really start making work again. I told myself just applying to the grant was going to be enough, so to be awarded the project was a total thrill. I’m drawn to the architectural and historical aspects of the building itself; the site-specific limitations, the concept of inside/outside, and I have a thing for windows.

Bryan: The attraction of the Tannery project was to finally begin connecting with my town as an artist.The work on the fence is designed to reflect the art community within. The image chosen evolved from scrap materials to be called “No more cows ” even though there is a cow-like skeleton on the fence. The corrugated metal figures are the artists, models, inspirations and workers that occupy our Tannery, asking us to stop by.

Tell us about your installation at the Tannery. What is your concept/how was it created and installed?

Sarah: The vision for this work began with the visual play of reflection and mirror. I saw the vertical aspects of the window wells being covered with mirrors so that the objects would be reflected endlessly in both directions. Most of my idea-generating creative thinking, occurs as I’m trying to fall asleep, or in the middle of the night. Upon waking, I look at what I’ve written and drawn in the night and decide what’s worth pushing, which ideas are interesting enough to look into further. A lot of things seem brilliant at 3am, not so many make the cut. For this project, I collected and painted Tan Oak leaves and built links with plaster. I was compelled to create repetitive, joined forms and was less interested in the process of establishing symbolism or reference in the work. Until the work was finally installed I really didn’t know how it would come together visually, an approach that gives me the freedom to make changes and execute as I go. There is a balance I’m interested in about that freedom, as it requires me to really quiet my critical mind and asks me to continue making in the face of my own self doubt.

There are 8 mirrors installed, two in each of the window-wells. Hanging in each well are silver painted plaster links and gold painted Tan Oak leaves strung on copper wire.  I’m happy and proud of the way this installation turned out, thank you so much for the opportunity to realize my vision.

Bryan: Having won and completed an Honorarium work for Burning Man and still bringing big art to the playa my mission is to spread big art, smiles and joy through participatory works that onlookers love when admiring those brave enough to be a part of it all!

Where can folks see more of your art?

Sarah: As far as finding more of my work, there is the jewelry @saltcalifornia, and my personal page @smorgasborgeson. I’m looking forward to involving myself in more shows and art-making opportunities going forward. 

Bryan: Look to to find some of my work. Thank you.

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