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Beatnik Studios: At the Intersection of Photography and Art

By Marina I. Jokic

Adjacent to posh restaurants, bars, music halls, and hotels in Sacramento, Beatnik Studios was founded in 2008 by Lindsay Calmettes and Wes Davis, photography students at California State University. The two friends were united in their endeavor by their mutual love of photography and art.

Beatnik was to be the first studio of its kind to serve as a photography, art, and event space. Five years in, Calmettes and Davis decided to establish themselves more firmly within the city, and in 2013 they settled into a spacious 5000-square foot building on South Street.

"[Calmettes and Davis] created such an amazing space that others quickly noticed and asked to rent Beatnik for their own events," Nisa Hayden, gallery director, said. "The Sacramento area is an arts mecca and has been for decades; there is a rich history here and we have many, many fine, emerging, mid-career and late career artists who show here and elsewhere."

The warehouse which houses Beatnik Studios was built by the Great Western Power Company at the turn of the last century and acquired by PG&E sometime in the 1930's. With 30-foot ceilings and plenty of natural light flooding through the numerous skylights, the space is especially well suited for art exhibits and all kinds of events. The exposed brick walls, concrete floors, and steel beams give it an urban and minimalistic feel, the ideal juxtaposition to any artistic installation.

"The light is absolutely stunning," Hayden said. "Our space also features revolving art exhibitions from some of the most innovative contemporary artists working today which enhance the look and feel of any event."

Beatnik engages primarily with local artists, but also hosts national and international talent. More recently, the studio hosted a show in conjunction with the Sacramento Mural Festival, showcasing artists' work from around the world. Because of the ample gallery space, Hayden seeks out artists who work on a large scale.

"Beatnik photographers are passionate about what they do," Hayden said. "Many of our walls are on wheels which means we can configure shows in a variety of ways [and] make intimate spaces for smaller works, too."

Beatnik Studios concludes the year with "Intersection," a two-person show featuring painter Kathy Dana and photographer Donald Satterlee. The two artists and long-time friends, have collaborated on eleven works of acrylic-on-photography and are also showing new individual works. Stay tuned for what new and innovative works of art 2018 will bring to Beatnik.

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