Every other Wednesday or so, I get a call from a group of sweet older ladies who want to reserve the 'book' area to play bridge. They're one of my favorite groups who patronize the cafe. They'll come in at 10am and play bridge for a about 2 hours, have lunch, and then play for another 2 hours before taking off. They're just the sweetest group of ladies ever. They love cheesecake, cookies, and sorbet for dessert and always have huge smiles whenever they come to play. Here's to you ladies!
Shortly after we opened our doors at the gallery, My friend Gianfranco suggested the idea of starting an open mic to help bring more people to the gallery and create awareness. We came up with the name 'The Canvas Open Mic' with our slogan, "We call ourselves the Canvas because it is the performers who give us shape and color". We allow and support all varieties of art: Music, Poetry, Comedy, Dance, etc..and I think that's what makes us unique.
At first we used a small guitar amp as our sound system and it was just myself and a few high school buddies who performed at the open mic. Same songs and same poems but we kept it up. For weeks no one came and my folks had urged us to stop since it was "wasting electricity". To be honest it was a bit frustrating but Gianfranco suggested we try for another few weeks as we got the word out. With the help from my friend Justin, we started hitting up other open mics and performed there while also advertising our open mic. I believe it was our 7th week where we got our first 'stranger' who came through those doors to play. His name was David Warren, and he played a beautiful 45 minute open mic set of classical guitar. It was so awesome! Then, another friend, James donated his church's old PA system and we had ourselves a legit open mic. Another friend David who was an aspiring DJ, came to host each of the open mics and the four of us held it down every 1st and 3rd Thursdays for the local open mic community.
Soon afterwards the word spread and we were gaining a good following one person at a time. We just had our 5 year anniversary of the open mic and it was wonderful. Hundreds of performers have graced us with their performances, and it is definitely one of the high points and success stories of this gallery. In the South Bay, there are a number of great open mics doing some really great things. We never thought about competing with the other open mics but rather providing another space for artists to do their thing.
From my experience, I think the reason why we've got such a nice thing going is because of our appreciation and support of artists to just go up an express themselves. It can be odd and quirky, and sure, not everything is out of this world talent, but I've come to realize that our existence isn't for that. It's a platform for people to try new things and know that they can freely express themselves and pursue their art in a comfortable environment. "Just do you". And to me, providing that platform for those few who appreciate it mean more than having 'great acts' all the time. Not to say we don't have really good stuff coming through, I'm just saying I think that's what sets us apart. You never know what you're gonna get, but we'll support and encourage you either way.
We've had number of great rotating hosts and features and its been a blessing to experience the growth of this open mic in it's entirety. Special thanks to Corey and Magic as well as the countless other people involved in this open mic who help remind me why providing the space is important. We'll keep it going until whether its one audience member or a hundred.
1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month
Sign ups at 7pm
Starts at 8pm
'Like' us on Facebook for updates: Canvas Open Mic
Check out our livestream: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/11012855
Check out past performances on our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzhl80AYpnqsZGhiAqCRzaA
For the past 4 years we've had the honor to host the FUHSD Annual Art Showcase. 5 local high schools submit 60 artworks each from the top art students in their departments. An eclectic show with paintings, sculpture, and unique installations, it's my favorite show of the year! The kids are incredibly talented and it's great to see their creativity on display for the public. After the installation, the gallery hosts the Awards Ceremony where administration members of the school board as well as the art department chairs give out awards like best in show, best 2D, and 3D, respectively. Each show runs every April and I hope it's a partnership that will last for many years :)