ALAMEDA -- The St. Vincent de Paul Redux Studios & Gallery will celebrate its anniversary with a special open-studios event.

The gathering is set for 6 to 9 p.m. tonight and will feature the work one of St. Vincent de Paul's 2012 artists in residence, Claudia Morales.

"One year ago, St. Vincent de Paul converted our old thrift store on Lincoln Avenue into our current studios and gallery space," said Chris Rummell, creative reuse and recycling manager, St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. "We now feature 16 art studios for rent to local artists in Alameda, and we hold regular classes, workshops and open-studios events — like the one set for today."

Artists like Morales use reclaimed, donated materials in their artwork, according to Rummell.

"She has been using studio space for free at our East Oakland sorting facility on San Leandro Street, where she has plenty of access to materials for her work," Rummell said.

Morales' show, "Icons of Change," is focused on figures in the social-justice movement.

"Some of them may be pivotal figures like Martin Luther King Jr. or Harvey Milk, along with more recent figures of folks who work to help those struggling in our society — such as Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles," Rummell said.


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Morales grew up in an artistic family and has lived in the East Bay for many years. Her aim is to use her artistic talent, academic studies and other experiences to unite her passions -- community organizing, social justice and creativity.

"I feel that art is a powerful tool that captures the imagination, and a fantastic vehicle to try new ways of improving society," Morales said in a statement for the show at Redux.

This show, the fourth exhibit to go up at Redux, includes "assemblage portraits," he said. "They include an interesting blend of styles and themes, and they really remind me a bit of reliquaries ... or little altar boxes."

The St. Vincent de Paul facility in Alameda offers residents both art and vintage objects, according to Rummell.

This includes clothes and household goods, as well as jewelry, handmade cards and other items created by artists using materials collected by St. Vincent de Paul.

"Some visitors come in who may have been expecting the store to be as it was a year ago," Hummell said.

"But they appreciate what is going on now and are interested in supporting important social work. We may have a different face, but the work and profits are going to the same place."

Redux Studios & Gallery also offers classes in range of subjects, including social media marketing, working with fused plastic and transforming -- or "upcycling" -- vintage sweaters into scarves or pillow covers.

"It's been an interesting year for us," the store manager said. "Alameda has really embraced the project and been enthusiastic about our new format."

The Morales show will be on display from today to Dec. 9 at Redux, 2315 Lincoln Ave.

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