The Beach Reporter – September 23, 2004       

Hermosa Beach News

HB Arts and education benefit from surfboard auction (9/23)

By Whitney Youngs

The Hermosa Arts Foundation and the Hermosa Education Foundation celebrated a great success last week when the two nonprofits auctioned off 20 custom-designed surfboards, raking in a gross amount of about $37,000. The earnings will be split among the two organizations.  "Our ultimate goal was to benefit our children's education and the arts in Hermosa," said Arts Foundation President Rick Koenig. "Hermosa Beach witnessed firsthand the wealth of artists' talents we have here in our community. Our artists range from 12 years old to 82 years old and, of course, all 20 of the boards were very well-received."

Known as the Surfin' Hermosa 2004 project, members of the Hermosa Education Foundation and the Hermosa Arts Foundation coordinated a grass-roots art exhibit effort that featured a group of 20 surfboards that were designed by local and nationally recognized artists.  "I'd like to publicly thank all the participants and especially the artists who made our project possible," added Koenig.

The 20 boards were all auctioned off last Thursday and several of the new owners include Councilman Peter Tucker, who purchased two, and the McCurdy family who bought the board painted by Koenig's mother.  The project took shape in April thanks to the vision of Shawn Smith, a sixth-grade teacher and assistant principal at Hermosa Valley School. He thought of bringing the idea to the city when he had the chance to observe a similar program in Chicago that began in the summer of 1999. During that time, tourists descended upon Chicago to view an art effort centered on the exhibition of hundreds of fiberglass cows decorated and painted by local members of the city's thriving art community.

Dubbed by Chicago city officials as "Cows on Parade," art on the 320 cows highlighted various themes such as movies, fairy tales and the universe, or were inspired by places, books and famous people.  Both foundations began work on the project in February and recruited local artists along with well-known Los Angeles and national artists to design the boards. The groups did so with the help of the project's main sponsor, Gallery C. As a way of recognizing the creative donations of those artists who participated in the event, the foundations hosted an event in honor of them at Gallery C in June. Those in attendance had a chance to talk with the artists and learn about the concepts that inspired their work.

"All of the boards are very high-concept art and they are all very, very different," said Arts Foundation board member Jane Stuart. "We have one board that was done by a tattoo artist, we have avant-garde artists who did some boards for us who have done very well at Gallery C with openings there. We had some illustrators, too, so we really had an incredible range of artwork that was on display."

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