Rafael McMaster pictured at Resin, which is closing at the end of January. (photo by Michael Hixon)

Rafael McMaster pictured at Resin, which is closing at the end of January. (photo by Michael Hixon)

Resin, home to the South Bay Artist Collective, will be closing its doors in Hermosa Beach at the end of January, another victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

Resin has hosted numerous art shows, been a hub for local artists and has held youth art classes and fundraisers for three years, but the pandemic made it challenging to keep the doors open on Cypress Avenue.

“We had to ask ourselves if it was prudent and practical to continue to fundraise to keep this space, when we can't have shows, we can't have events,” said founder Rafael McMaster. “We can't operate traditionally as we do as a gallery.”

Billed as an artist workshop and creative lab, Resin has hosted 25 shows featuring more than 300 artists, according to McMaster. The South Bay Artist Collective has grown from 20 artists to a network of nearly 400.

“It's been nothing short of awe-inspiring of what we've been able to accomplish through over 7,000 volunteer hours, through local donors,” McMaster said.

McMaster said over the past three years, Resin has developed partnerships with Richstone, Walk With Sally, Hearts of Hermosa and other nonprofits to bring art to youth and to the community. They have also worked with local schools, including the Mira Costa High School and Manhattan Beach Middle School, to showcase student art.

McMaster said they will be still be offering youth art after school programs, holiday camps and other classes through the end of January. They follow city and county health guidelines, including temperature checks at the door, masks required by all parties at all times, safe social distancing, and stringent one-time-use policies for all equipment and art supplies, he said.

While the Collective will lose its physical home, McMaster said the nonprofit plans to continue its youth programs beyond January.

“That's what makes me most sad about this place closing,” McMaster said. “I know firsthand the kids whose lives have been transformed through what we teach here, not just art, but creative development, and social emotional learning, and the life skills of acceptance and compassion, forgiveness.”

Manhattan Beach’s Wendy Stillman said the Collective and Resin has built an art world for her in the South Bay.

“When you’re an artist, you tend to work alone and you don’t have a lot of people to bounce thing off of,” Stillman said. “The Collective was always such a nice communal space and a communal feeling.”

Sabrina Armitage, a long-time Manhattan Beach resident who now lives in Westchester, said she will miss having Resin as a hub for the Collective’s shows as well as workshops.

“I'm very optimistic about the collective and how we will sort of morph for transition into the future without having Resin be our home base,” Armitage said. “It's a very solitary act to create art and having a group is really priceless in terms of inspiration, resources, collaboration, and to further inform your art in new ways.”

McMaster said he has witnessed the importance of a community creative space and hopes a new Resin will open in the near future.

“Having a physical space allowed us to use the space for fundraisers and arts events for people and organizations and partners who otherwise would not have an opportunity to share what they're doing with our local community,” McMaster said.

“I have to stay hopeful and confident that this isn't the end of this mission. Rather, it's the beginning of the next chapter. And we're inviting our local community leaders, donors and partners to be co-authors in that journey with us moving forward.”

Resin’s latest event, the art auction “Solidarity,” has been extended through Oct. 31 to benefit the Social Justice Learning Institute and Claris Health, which both serve at-risk people in Los Angeles.

Donated plywood used to board up South Bay businesses following recent protests over the death of George Floyd are up for auction. Viewing of the art is available through appointment only.

For more information, visit sbartistcollective.org.

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

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