The Pomona Arts Colony is about to take a huge hit. Erns Valdez, Owner, Curator and Artist of Loft Beats Art Gallery announced that the gallery will be closing its physical doors, and ascending on to new ventures. I had the chance to chat with Erns about this monumental decision. Before we delve into the mind of Erns, I would like to extend a very special 30 Miles East invitation to all. The final show entitled “Ascension” , is a culminating show of many artists of different mediums and will send the Loft Beats legacy off into the future. Please check out the flier for more information! I am honored and thrilled to be a part of this show!
Now, when I caught up with Erns, my first question was “How are you feeling?” He replied: “I would have never imagined any of this would happen. Getting my loft, I had just imagined being an artists and showing people my art. Just a hobby or something cool to be a part of. A cool place to live and be a part of something where I could explore my artistic side. For the past 6 years, it’s just been one none stop, one thing leads to another kind of thing. Having a place where people could show art was kicked it all off. Inviting artists to show, not charging them an arm and a leg like the big galleries…giving artist that foot in the door. Some show once or twice and disappear and some really take off and submerge themselves in the art scene. It’s been a beautiful thing for me to watch over the years.”
For me, this could not ring more true. If you have been following 30 Miles East from its inception, you would know that Erns was one of the first people kick off the site with an exclusive interview. As I began to tap into my own creativity, Erns was there to not only support 30 Miles East, but was also the first person to allow my photography to be a part of an Art Gallery.
I continued to chat with Erns about the challenges he faced during the 6 years: “We’ve outgrown the loft and keeping it open has been a challenge as it is with any gallery. It’s especially hard when you’re trying not to make any money. Loft Beats has always been a non-profit at heart. I never did any of this to make money or make money off of others. The loft has always paid for itself and that’s been a blessing. One thing that fuels Loft Beats has been my time. Loft Beats and all that it does is very time consuming and I’m sure not many people can appreciate what that means. Even as I plan to close the loft, there is still a lot that needs to be done. The only difference now is my family will have a bigger share of my time and I am now partnering up with some amazing people. This leads me into the future.”
Which brought us to…you guessed it, the future of the Loft Beats legacy: “The only thing happening is the loft itself is closing. It’s just a physical space. As I mentioned I am partnering up with my former intern/now partner, Janira Hernandez. Janira has slowly been building a presence at DBA256. Starting in April Loft Beats art shows will take place at DBA256 and be curated by Janira Hernandez. Same exact shows and style just a new location. Loft Beats is not leaving Pomona! We will stay at DBA until a good location for us opens up and I would like for Loft Beats to have it’s own gallery space again. In the meantime I am passing the torch onto Janira and will be her assistant. She’s come a long way over the years and I’m very proud of her. I will still be a member of the SCA Project Gallery and will be joining the dA Gallery. The director of the dA has been amazingly supportive over the years and has offered me a work space if I should ever need one. An offer I might take up so that I can keep being an advocate for Pomona and the arts. I may no longer be president of Pomona but I still have meetings with artists and organizations interested in coming to Pomona. Pointing people in the right direction and letting people know it’s a great place for the arts and culture. As many people know I am looking to open a new gallery in Upland, CA. This was an opportunity made possible by a new partner (who shall remain nameless) who’s asked for my help as well as offered to give me a space and chance to explore some new creative outlets. As with Loft Beats this new venture I hope will give more opportunities to local artists but will this time be an actual Non-profit. This is just all talk at the moment so we’ll see what pans out.”
Erns had some final thoughts and gratitude to share: All I can say is that I have been blessed with the support of so many people over the years. Blessed with opportunities to work hard and most importantly to help others. I hope Loft Beats has made a positive impact on the Pomona Arts Colony an hope it continues to for many years to come in what ever space it occupies or what ever form of arts show it may be.
You read it here. This is not the end of Loft Beats. Stay tuned, as Loft Beat’s “Ascension” is just about to begin!
Cheers to my friend, Erns– for his vision, support and dedication to the arts.
See you all on Saturday.