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LH Art Association open mic celebrates one year

By Autumn Whitney
La Habra Journal

On Mother’s Day, the La Habra Art Association will celebrate the one-year anniversary of when they began to hold open mic nights in the art gallery every first and third Saturday of the month. During last year’s Citrus Fair, adults visiting the gallery commented on its stage, saying it would be a great location for open mic nights.

Courtesy of Luz Spanks Life is Art: Participants on Saturday’s Open Mic Night at the La Habra Art Association. The monthly event brings a variety of artists to the gallery. The current exhibit is from Fe Koons and Joy Marivic Santiago.
Courtesy of Luz Spanks
Life is Art: Participants on Saturday’s Open Mic Night at the La Habra Art Association. The monthly event brings a variety of artists to the gallery. The current exhibit is from Fe Koons and Joy Marivic Santiago.

Shortly after, a man called and expressed interest in starting an open mic night—that man was Mon Concepcion, a musician also known as Reckless&Blue, who is now Open Mic’s host.
The events cater to individuals who wish to practice their craft and support other artists in an encouraging environment. Open Mic is open to any creative talents; it consistently sees a variety of musicians, poets, spoken word performers and dancers, and Concepcion is hoping to increase the number of comedians involved. Anyone who is interested can participate, regardless of age or prior experience.
“As long as you have a passion for playing your instrument, belt out a song, anyone is welcome,” said Luz Spanks, event coordinator of the La Habra Art Association. “[On] one particular night, the performers could be a high school student, a college student, a grandmother, a grandfather, mother, father, daughter, cousin, husband, wife, son, brother-in-law, an actor, a playwright, an accountant, a journalist—from 9 to 95.”
The staff asks entertainers to refrain from using foul language and obscenities while attending Open Mic, according to Spanks.
On average, there are 15 performers during Open Mic nights and an equal amount of audience members, but the crowd has gone up to 50 in the past. There is no limit on the amount of participants, and the gallery is always looking to add more.
“It’s really all about the vibes. We have good vibes,” Concepcion said. “It’s a warm place to meet people and network, to get to know folks. That’s what it’s all about. Have a good time, let them know what you’re doing, show them what you got up on stage.”
One of Concepcion’s main goals for Open Mic is the creation of a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere that combines art and music to foster artists’ growth. He seeks to encourage original artistry by creating an environment in which people can connect over their work and motivate one another.
“This is a formal motivation—to conquer your fear and have a good time and do your thing up on stage,” Concepcion said.
Open Mics are now held once each month, on the third Saturday of the month at 7 p.m. The events currently take place in the art gallery on north Orange Street, but the building will soon be converted to housing and the gallery will move to a new expansion of the Community Center.
The association is excited for the new location, but is concerned about the size of the building.
“[The new building] is significantly smaller,” Spanks said. “The current gallery is 1500 square feet with separate restrooms, kitchenette, storage and office. The new space is a total of 991 square feet including storage.”
According to Spanks, they are working on the logistics of keeping workshop participants in the building without violating the fire code.
“We worked hard to promote the art workshops, [it’s] just unfortunate that we can’t maximize the attendance due to size of the place,” Spanks said.
The Art Association will offer a larger amount of events and workshops in order to keep up with the fast-paced nature of art media.
Raul D. Arellano is starting a new painting class on Wednesdays, called Still Life in Oil & Acrylic.
“The mission of La Habra Art Association for the new site is to provide artists a place to be creative, to grow as an artist and exhibit their work while providing the  public with experiences that stimulate creativity and imagination, while conserving the heritage of each constituent of the La Habra community,” Spanks said.
For more information, visit www.lahabraartgallery.org.

LA HABRA
ART GALLERY

215 N Orange St.
La Habra
(562) 691-9739
www.lahabraartgallery.org.
Sat: Noon – 4 p.m.
Sun: Noon – 4 p.m.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.