Sand By The Ton, a grand opening and fundraiser for The Big Art Studios at American Steel, a new 250,000 square feet art space in West Oakland, takes place this Saturday, July 11th starting at 4pm and going until very late.
Big Art Studios is a project born of two Bay Area artists, Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. Their need for a large, well–appointed warehouse with high ceilings, 10 ton bridge cranes and access to all the vendors they patronize led them to West Oakland, and the historic American Steel Building. In 2005, the pair began working in a small section of the 6 acre building, which was nearly vacant and greatly resembled a ghost town. Over time friends and other artists visited the warehouse and discovered they too needed a space like this. In 2007 Dan and Karen rented larger tracts of space, and soon the warehouse was populated with creative, productive, forward-thinking individuals.
On April Fools Day, 2009, Dan and Karen signed a lease on the entire property. The facility now includes a 250,000 square foot industrial warehouse, a 50,000 square foot pristine studio warehouse, a 14,000 square foot event space, and a suite of offices for a wide variety of uses.
Today, over 80 artists and small green businesses call Big Art Studios their home for creative endeavors, and this great variety of individuals and skill sets comprises a truly diverse and vibrant community, replete with inspiration and cross-pollination of all kinds;