When the first “Water & Wood” exhibit took place in 2017, South Bay Artist Collective co-founder Rafael McMaster said the goal was to simply throw a great event.

But now, thanks to generous donors and more than 5,600 volunteer hours, the collective is focused on community service. Its third annual "Water & Wood" opens Saturday, Feb. 9, at Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach.

“It’s never about having a highly profitable venture, this is about volunteering ... it’s all about service,” McMaster said. “How can we be in the best position to be in service to our community… our artists are meeting that calling with a sense of grace and responsibility and selflessness.”

Since the first “Water & Wood,” South Bay Artist Collective has been busy. They've opened Resin Gallery, created a youth scholarship program and developed a community gallery with free creative space for artists. The space is also open for local schools such as Mira Costa High School to host art shows and fundraisers.

“The gold standard is how to build an art community that honors the artists as individuals and gives them gallery space where they don’t have to pay commission,” McMaster said.

This year’s “Water & Wood” exhibit, which runs through Saturday, Feb. 16, features more than 90 artists, from professional artists and photographers to grade schoolers showing off their fledgling talents.

A two-year member of the Artist Collective, Paul Roustan said because of the skill and talent involved in “Water & Wood,” it is “one of the can't miss shows of Hermosa Beach.

“It has been tremendous to be a part of something that successfully introduced the community to the South Bay art scene,” Roustan said. “It enables artists to have their work seen and acquired by local collectors who now have a place to look for their visual and inspirational needs."

Artist Wendy Stillman agreed.

“The Collective has become a family of artists, who work together and share not only a communal space but now a communal mind set,” said Stillman. “Having this creative entity in the South Bay has transformed the exposure and knowledge of the art world for local residents.”

Artist Natalie Strong also likes the communal aspect.

“As an artist, it's so natural to work in isolation, tucked away with your ideas," said Strong. "The South Bay Artist Collective gives us a place to meet up with each other, discuss our work and inspire each other. Most importantly, to me, it reminds me that I am not alone in my community.”

McMaster calls “Water & Wood” a “true community” event that is “much more than things on a wall.” He said the exhibit "reflects who we are as a local culture.

“They will see the DNA of the South Bay reflected through photography and art, through pixels and pigments,” McMaster said.

“Water and Wood” takes place at Resin Gallery, located at 618 Cypress Ave. in Hermosa Beach, beginning Feb. 9 from 4 to 9 p.m. The exhibit runs Monday through Friday next week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit closes Saturday, Feb 16.

For more information, visit resinhb.com or sbartistcollective.org.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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