'Ashes' exhibition sold well

GLENDALE — During its month-long run, an exhibition of art inspired from the remnants of last summer's Station fire attracted more than 2,000 patrons and raised more than $40,000, organizers said.

Most of the money raised at the exhibition — held at the future home of the Museum of Neon Art at 216 S. Brand Blvd. — will support rehabilitation efforts at Glendale's Deukmejian Wilderness Park, which saw nearly all of its 709 acres scorched during the Station fire.

The fundraiser was the first venture of the recently formed Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation, which partnered with local arts nonprofit Art from the Ashes, which will also receive a portion of the money.

About 60 artists donated 130 pieces of artwork, 95 of which sold. Some pieces will even be featured on an upcoming episode of the CBS television series "Criminal Minds," Sharkey said.

After expenses are deducted, 60% of the funds raised will go to the Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation, which plans to give the money to the city for park restoration work.

"At our next board meeting, several people from the city will talk to us about possible ways we could use the funds in the park, whether it's to support native plants or help out with the trails," said Dottie Sharkey, the foundation's board president.

Sharkey, a member of the Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission, began the process of forming the independent nonprofit last spring to raise money to supplement city funding for parks and community services.

But after the devastation of the Station fire, Sharkey said Deukmejian was an easy choice to be the first fundraising recipient.

The lower portion of the park reopened to the public in June, but much of it remains closed as restoration work continues on many of the trails that were filled with mud and debris during the ensuing winter storms.

Community Services & Parks Director George Chapjian said the funds could be especially helpful for trail repairs since the city has not received a share of the federal funds that will support similar efforts in the Angeles National Forest.

"I know that we have a tremendous need for trail repair over there," he said.

Beyond the fundraising efforts, stakeholders say the exhibition's also helped bring visibility to growing community support for city arts.

"The enthusiasm of the art patrons and the support of the city of Glendale provided a wonderful environment in which to showcase the works of local artists, as well as those who participated from outside of Southern California," Joy Feuer, a Glendale resident and founder of ART from the Ashes, said in an e-mail.

Kim Koga, executive director of the Museum of Neon Art, said she was happy to see so many people attend an arts show at the museum's future location.

"The way they transformed the space to a gallery, it was real exciting for us to see," Koga said. "Actually making the space active and having people come inside of it and seeing art, it was just so encouraging."

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