ALAMEDA -- Redux Studios & Gallery is celebrating its second anniversary on the Island with a new exhibit and opening reception. Run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Alameda County on Lincoln Avenue, the unique store invites the community to this special event, set for 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 11.
"We opened two years ago with an idea of what Redux would be and our customers have helped shape what we've become, in terms of our shows, workshops and merchandise, which changes weekly," said Chris Rummell, creative reuse and recycling manager of the gallery.
Though St. Vincent de Paul in San Francisco began hosting artists in residence some 20 years ago, Redux is the only operation of its kind in the country today that combines studios and a gallery featuring art and objects made from reused, recycled and repurposed materials.
"There's a social mission behind what we are doing here," Rummell said, "and we hope Redux can help shift the community's perception of what an interesting program, a social enterprise, can be."
Mayor Marie Gilmore will speak the gallery's Oct. 11 gathering, which showcases the work of folk artist Leon Kennedy and his "Driven by the Heart" collection of mixed-media paintings. In addition, there will be live jazz and refreshments provided by Rock Wall Wine Company, Linden Street Brewery, Nothing Bundt Cakes and St. Vincent de Paul's Kitchen of Champions. Other local sponsors of the event include the Alameda Chamber of Commerce.
Kennedy relied on the social services of St. Vincent de Paul earlier in his life, including a program that gave individuals the chance to take the challenges they were facing in life and turn those stories into theater. As part of this program, he painted the scenery backdrops.
"He's been a folk artist for about 50 years, and the Smithsonian owns some of his work, which is really visionary," Rummell noted.
Over the past two years, Redux has had 12 art shows, hosted 30 artists in its studios and featured objects from 70 vendors. The shop should feature more furniture going forward, according to Rummell, as St. Vincent de Paul trains more individuals to refinish, paint and fix vintage pieces. It also hosts workshops each Saturday, so community members can learn how to make collages and fun items out of second-hand upholstery and assorted materials, like wrapping paper.
"It's been so surprising to see what people can do to make really interesting things by reusing and reworking materials," he explained. "Artists approach us and guide what we do, which was our intent from the beginning. We are like the hub of a wheel connecting many people who are doing such interesting work together."
Those coming to the Oct. 11 celebration are asked to bring a gently used coat that St. Vincent de Paul, which serves about 800 meals a day in need in Alameda County, will donate this winter.
What: Redux opening reception and two-year celebration
When: 6 to 9 p.m., Oct. 11
Where: 2315 Lincoln Ave.
Cost: Free; winter coat donations appreciated