March 31 2015 05:33 PM

Kate Ashton's new studio and gallery space has been a labor of love

Kate Ashton at Art on 30th
Photo by Seth Combs

    Walking through the front door, one immediately gets a sense of the historic nature of the Art on 30th building. There's a decades-old Morse Security Systems mosaic on the floor (the company used to be based in the building, located at 4434 30th St.), but Art on 30th owner Kate Ashton insisted on keeping it when she renovated the space. The rest of the building has been completely revamped into an all-in-one gallery, school and artist studio space, complete with a downstairs communal area, a classroom and 15 rentable studios upstairs. 

    "Most artists are introverts," says Ashton, who worked as both a full-time artist and a communications professor at San Diego City College before shifting her focus to mentoring and helping artists market their work.

    "When I retired, I was making a living as an artist and I never intended to teach art. I woke up one day and I realized I was becoming that introvert.

    "I started teaching and before long, I came to see the power of an artists needing other artists," she says. "I'd say 85 percent of artist's opportunities come from other artists they know."

    The new space will host semi-monthly exhibitions, and will include work from both Art on 30th artists and non-30th artists. The first exhibition, Think Pink, opens on April 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. and centers on artists' experiences with breast cancer. A portion of the proceeds benefits breast cancer charities.

    Ashton and other artists host regular workshops teaching a variety of topics. 

    "A lot of artists don't need a class as much as they might need community and a mentor," she says. "I hope this can be that for some people."

    Email or follow Seth on Twitter at @combsseth.


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