Galeria Zapatista to open at new South Paseo

April 28, 2006
Santa Paula City Council

A new Main Street gallery and retail outlet offering specialized merchandise will be opening soon after the city Redevelopment Agency brokered a deal with the director of a notable area art group.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesA new Main Street gallery and retail outlet offering specialized merchandise will be opening soon after the city Redevelopment Agency brokered a deal with the director of a notable area art group. The City Council approved the lease with Carmen Guerrero - the executive director of De Colores - at the April 17 meeting. Guerrero, an Oxnard College business professor, will convert the space into Galeria Zapatista, an art gallery that will also offer arts and crafts.Rochelle Margolin, economic development specialist, said that a retail component in the Paseo, formerly known as the plumbing building located at 926 E. Main St., was included in renovation plans that also provides access to South Alley public parking. The building, purchased by the Redevelopment Agency in the early-1990s, will also provide public restrooms.“In creating the passageway, a small retail storefront” of 619 square feet was created. “It has been determined that the highest and best use for the retail space is to lease it to a start-up business, under the terms of retail business incubator,” said Margolin.The incubator concept is to assist a business start-up that normally couldn’t afford the overhead of a prime retail location. “The new business would need to be a benefit to the overhead of a prime retail location,” as well as be deemed a benefit to the community, either culturally or through job creation. The business would also be required to generate sales tax revenue, Margolin told the council.In September, the city ran an ad to find those interested in leasing the space and Guerrero was the only potential tenant to show an interest.
Galeria Zapatista intends to sell a “diverse range of high quality Latino artworks to tourists, local clients and collectors at fair market prices,” with the largest pieces to include paintings, assemblages, masks, sculptures and mixed media. The majority of the space will be devoted to smaller, more affordable but consistent high quality items, ranging from jewelry to music CDs to pottery and home decorator items.“This diverse range of the consistently high quality Latino products will ensure that tourists” and residents have a selection of items priced from $10 to $10,000, Margolin added. The Galeria will employ several people.The terms of the three-year lease include RDA responsibility for utilities, trash and 50 percent of the common area maintenance the first year, with the tenant taking more financial responsibility - including stepped rent increases - each subsequent year.The Paseo will also have a small office and patio, the latter to be permitted for use by the Mupu Grill, which will share Paseo opening and closing duties with the Galeria.“What we have here is the beginning of a cumulation of a dream,” said Guerrero. “I always wanted a gallery-type retail space” that will serve the local community as well as tourists.The Galeria will be the scene of art exhibits and other activities staged on a regular basis, and Guerrero said that she has already contracted with two well-known artists. “I’m very excited about it... it will be the high-end of fine folk art, not a souvenir place,” but a destination where fine art and collectibles will be available.



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