Local painters take center stage at Edgemar Center for the Arts

By Kathy Leonardo

left: Venice artist Jennifer Verge uses locally found objects in her paintings Right: Stephanie Visser’s lust for life shines through her abstract art

left: Venice artist Jennifer Verge uses locally found objects in her paintings
Right: Stephanie Visser’s lust for life shines through her abstract art

Home to not just one but two performance stages, Santa Monica’s Edgemar Center for the Arts has become a local destination for theater, dance and music performances.

But Edgemar’s support for local artists doesn’t stop there.

The venue has also turned its lobby into a gallery for visual artists, hosting receptions in support of emerging local artists three or four times a year.

“Edgemar Center the Arts was created with a vision to provide a creative space on the Westside for artists of all types to be able to share their work and personal vision with the community,” says Managing Director Alexandra Guarnieri, currently producing the original musical “A Night at the Black Cat Cabaret.”

On Sunday, March 6, Edgemar hosts a party to celebrate the opening of two solo exhibitions at the venue: “Jennifer Verge: Believe in the Magic” and “Stephanie Visser: Rhapsody
in Blu.”

Verge, a Venice local, scours the neighborhood in search of reusable wood and metal and incorporates these found objects into her pieces.

“I have collected from the streets and back alleys of Venice and Santa Monica, so I am incredibly excited to be showing locally,” she says.

Verge keeps busy with her
art on a daily basis, whether that’s figuring out concepts, building frames or collecting wood and metal.

“It’s all part of the fun of creating art,” she says. “I am inspired by the concept of what it means to really live, to really feel alive. My mother passed away of cancer when I was younger. As an adult, I am incredibly inspired by people who live the hell out of Life! That is the starting point for almost every painting I create.”

Visser has been striving to live life to the fullest since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Having gone through seven surgeries with an eighth scheduled, Visser strives to live in the moment each and every day. And art has been her saving grace.

“I never really appreciated what an art medicine is,” said Visser. “Beyond the actual science … they call it the healing arts for a reason. I will be glad when it’s finally over, but because each body is unique, there is no way to predict what and how things will go and how fast one can actually move through it all.”

Visser will be showing abstract works that all fall within the many shades of blue.

“Jennifer and Stephanie both have brought unique and interesting material to the Edgemar Gallery,” Guarnieri says. “Jennifer’s work expresses the curiosity and passion for life that is so instrumental in building and strengthening the artistic will of the creative spirit. Stephanie’s work also supports this vision through her willingness to take risks and think outside of the box.”

The reception for Jennifer Verge and Stephanie Visser happens from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica. Call (310) 392-7327 or visit edgemarcenter.org.

For more information about the painters, visit jenniferverge.com and stephanievisser.com.