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Most Unexpected Art Gallery: A cooperative art scene arises in Martinez 

Motley Art

The name pretty much sums it up: This more-or-less-monthly art show in Martinez welcomes just about any medium you can name, from sculpture to video to collage, as long as its artist displays what founder Elizabeth Allen describes simply as passion. "My whole goal was to create my own atmosphere," she says. "It's not your typical art show with white walls and only one type of art. There's a lot to look at." Her husband Jeremy, for one, is a regular contributor of the macabre. But Motley Art's unusual fare is not its most distinguishing aspect. Nor is the fact that it operates in the same building as California Magic Dinner Theatre, which is owned by Elizabeth's parents. The thing that really sets Motley Art apart — especially in a place like Martinez — is its cooperative bent: Artists aren't charged commissions or fees, sales are conducted as direct transactions between artist and customer, and contributors are encouraged to assist with publicity. As a bonus, hors d'oeuvres, champagne, and sparkling cider are served to patrons for $5 at the door.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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