Ryan McDonald

Second art show on Cypress shut down

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Curator Rafael McMaster and artist Jonmar at Resin Gallery for the opening of the recent show “Pierce the Veil.”
Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

by Ryan McDonald

The opening night of an art show at Resin Gallery on Cypress Avenue was forced to end early this past weekend in response to a citation from the city, signaling potential difficulties for the city’s nascent arts district.

The “Water and Wood” show ended Saturday night when it received a code enforcement citation for not having the required special event permit, said Rafael McMaster, a co-founder of the South Bay Artist Collective, which put on the show and uses Resin as a base of operations. McMaster said that the Collective had consulted with its attorney prior to the show and thought they were in compliance, but owned up to the mistake and was eager to work with the city to rectify the situation.

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“The officers that dealt with us were super cool about it. They said they understand what we’re doing for the community matters, and how we weren’t being belligerent or out of control,” McMaster said.

The citation follows one issued to ShockBoxx, another gallery just north of Resin, in November. Both galleries have been up and running since the summer of 2017, and regularly held events that drew large crowds to Cypress, long home to the city’s light manufacturing district. Along with the display of art, opening nights sometimes featured alcohol, food trucks and live music performances.

ShockBoxx’s citation closely followed the filing of a lawsuit by CrossFit Horsepower, another Cypress Avenue business. Horsepower’s suit, filed after the business had been declared a public nuisance for years of noise and vibration allegedly emanating from the gym, claimed that it had been the victim of discriminatory treatment by the city, and cited as evidence the ongoing events at both ShockBoxx and Resin. The complaint pointed out that ShockBoxx co-owner Michael Collins is married to Hermosa’s mayor pro tem Mary Campbell.

At the time, ShockBoxx did not have a business license or permit for its illuminated sign. Collins applied for them the Monday after his citation, and has since held smaller openings without incident. In a Facebook post about the closure of Water and Wood, Collins touted the developing Cypress art scene, and said that it had “never been complained about, or caused any problems.”

Following ShockBoxx’s citation, Community Development Director Ken Robertson, whose department oversees code enforcement, denied that there was a connection to the Horsepower lawsuit. Code enforcement in Hermosa is largely complaint-driven, Robertson said, and the show for which it was cited marked the first time the city had received a complaint.

But the show for which ShockBoxx was cited, a retrospective of acclaimed local artist Bob Dob, was visibly smaller than others that preceded it. McMaster declined to address speculation that the citation was linked to the Horsepower lawsuit, but acknowledged that, of the 16 show openings that preceded last Saturday’s, several had drawn larger crowds than Water and Wood. Saturday was the first time police or code enforcement had ever contacted Resin.

“Not only have there been no complaints, but a lot of them are our patrons,” McMaster said of residents living nearby.

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