Mariposa celebrates an artful rebirth


Construction continues in Mariposa after a large fire in May took out several shops, including a gallery featuring local art work. Well now those artists have a new place to show off their creative works.

Hundreds of pieces of art, burned to ashes during an accidental fire six months ago. And while the block is being rebuilt, the Mariposa County Arts Council has relocated its gallery down the street, sharing a century-old building with the Chocolate Soup Boutique.

"We've been able to start from the ground up," Les Marsden said. "We've renewed ourselves by moving into an existing facility but we were able to completely convert it."

The gallery features more than one-hundred new pieces of art. Everything from paintings and photographs, to 3D works, all from local artists.

"It's important to have work being show," Penny Otwell said. "As an artist, if you're not able to show your work, it's nothing."

Penny Otwell of Mariposa uses the foothills and Yosemite as her inspiration. And while none of her paintings were in the old gallery at the time of the fire, she says the art that was lost, is irreplaceable.

Otwell said, "You put your work somewhere and you want to show it and when it's gone, that's pretty devastating."

But organizers are now turning the page.

Marsden explained, "Our theme I think is a grand rebirth, a new breath of air coming in."

Opening a new gallery for others to appreciate.

Janet Chase-Williams said, "It's a cultural center, it's where people can see all the talent we have in the community, and there's a lot."

The Mariposa County Arts Council will hold several events throughout the weekend as it gathers support for these local artists.

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