From now until the end of summer, Gallery 479 (in the Red Barn) will be open to students and community members for free entertaining, educational and cultural events.

Collaborators in UCSB’s department of art began “Summer Projects” this year to create a space where non-art students and art students alike can come together to give workshops, put on performances, display artwork and, most importantly, share ideas and relax.

Several weeks ago, the gallery was transformed to celebrate “California Oranges.” The space included a calisthenics corner, an orange tree replete with a circle of chairs for relaxation and discussion and orange-related videos that ranged from funny to informational. More recently, Gallery 479 featured “naproom @ The Yarn Room,” a collaboration between Camille Farfan and Summer Projects that created a cozy, quiet space for people to nap throughout the busy school day.

Contributor and second-year MFA art candidate, Bog, explained that these events were “a model” for the later Summer Projects. In his opinion, the collaborative aspect of Summer Projects creates positive growth for everyone involved.

“[naproom @ The Yarn Room] is an excellent example of how working with Summer Projects on your academic and personal projects can benefit the entire community,” Bog said in an interview via email.

Another example of Summer Projects’ community outreach is the daily exhibition that Gallery 479 will feature throughout the next six weeks.  Up to 72 individuals or collaboratives have the opportunity to sign up for a show, which Summer Projects coordinators will help them put up and photograph. A write-up of each show will also be featured on Summer Projects’ Facebook page.

“[This] gives anyone who needs an exhibition (for their portfolio or C.V.) an opportunity to do so,” Bog said. “It also encourages us all to make new work and explore further the connection between making and exhibiting. Gallery 479 will be divided into a work-space, where anyone can come in and work on their projects, AND an exhibition space that will feature a new exhibit every day.”

The gallery space will also be open to artists who want in-depth critiques of their work. Though art students would certainly benefit from what Bog says will be “honest, intelligent, and b.s.-free critique,” he reiterated that Summer Projects is not here just to serve art students.

“Participation is OPEN TO ALL!” Bog said. “Art students will play an important part here, but we are not our majors. We strive to make this a truly interdisciplinary space; mechanical engineers, geographers, botanists, mathematicians, athletes and everyone are ALL WELCOMED!”

Daily events will be posted on Facebook as they are scheduled and will feature a weekly critique, workshop and “Timebank,” where anyone is free to come in and help with a current project or propose a new piece.

Summer Projects Outreach and Programming Coordinator and fourth-year art major Eduardo Aispuro said he utilizes the space to practice musical and spoken word performances. Each Thursday, Gallery 479 will be open to anyone who wants to come in and play, with Aispuro adding his folk and blues and working with other artists the rest of the time.

“In addition to being a visual artist I also collaborate with other artists (musicians, songwriters, M.C.s, etc) making music and other audio art,” Aispuro said in an interview via email. “Summer projects provided a unique opportunity for me to make audio art by using the space to record and perform.”

Aispuro is also working on an experimental project with UCSB poet Jonathan Gomez, mixing punk music and spoken word Chicano poetry, which may find an outlet in Summer Projects.

“We have discussed expanding the project to include poetry written by local disadvantaged youth from the area, whom [Gomez] is mentoring,” Aispuro said. “We are creating audio work that is exciting, fresh and experimental. This work may be brought into the gallery if we find that the space would enhance the work or feel as though a presentation would work as performance art.”

While Summer Projects might seem an ambitious feat for these busy art student volunteers, Bog said this is precisely what the season is good for.

“Summer is when you get to do things differently,” Bog said. “You are constrained much less by pressing deadlines and assigned work. You can focus more intensely on projects that are more meaningful to you, your friends and colleagues. You have more flexibility to work and play together; new directions reveal themselves, new collaborations foment and unexpected, exciting things happen.”

Furthermore, Summer Projects is an opportunity to learn and grow where taking a risk and failing does not result in a damaged GPA, according to Bog.

“In a way, it’s exactly what school is supposed to be about,” Bog said. “We’re trying things out not knowing where it will lead us; here, failure is treated in the same way as success. We’re learning as we go.”