Magoski Arts Colony September 2015

Founding The Magoski Arts Colony

The Magoski Arts Colony was founded in 2010, but the history of its existence dates back much further. The mid-Nineties is the furthest documentation of art in the beloved “Sanitary Laundry” building that was built in 1928. After Peter F. Magoski, the benefactor of the Magoski Arts Colony, purchased the 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse on Santa Fe Avenue in the late-Eighties, he lent much of the space to the theatre company, Fullerton Civic Light Opera, for storage of props and large stages and backdrops. In the mid-Nineties, with the connection of FCLO, three artists, Casey Hanrahan, René Cardona, and Dillon Kerekes, occupied the space as their art studios. The warehouse continued to be a storage facility for the theater company as well as Peter Magoski and Robert Sweeney’s private belongings. Sweeney (Welder Bob) is a local welder and metal worker, who still works in the building next door. It also housed the workshops of Murray Magoski, who has since moved to Arizona, and Dan Craig, a wood worker who is still in the colony today. It wasn’t long thereafter that Michael and Candace Magoski moved their photography studio, Violethour, into half of the other warehouse. For ten years they built out their magical space. It was foreign to conservative, turn-of-the-Millennium Fullerton residents who drove by the seedy end of Santa Fe Avenue. The gothic, grey facade and barred windows with a funky little yellow trailer parked outside was only open occasionally to a select few who were in-the-know. They were hosts to an art experience, both coming from the hospitality industry, all senses were livened when you were their guest. Violethour was always a conversation piece for the curious mind.

Fast forward 10 ten years to 2009. There was finally enough interest to start planning the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk. Jesse La Tour of Hibbleton, Brian Prince of PÄS, and Michael Magoski of Violethour were among the original twelve or so venues who kicked off the Walk in early 2010. During the planning process, Jesse and Brian became close with Michael and would often find themselves at Violethour dreaming big into the violet hours of the night. They fell in love with the high ceilings and clerestory windows which allowed for soft northern light. What came from their “meetings” was an idea that no one could refuse. Hibbleton and PÄS were going to move into the other side of the warehouse. After months of organizing and moving Pete and Welder Bob’s storage to the back of the warehouse, the Hibbleton crew, Jesse La Tour, Landon Lewis, Chuck Oldfield, Steve Westbrook, and Tony Bach along with PÄS’s Brian and Kristy Prince and John Sollom built-out two galleries next door to Violethour. With the combination of the three “art houses,” and artist Valerie Lewis, they became the Magoski Arts Colony opening their doors in October of 2010. Since then, momentum populated the entire warehouse filling it with artist studios and workshops serving as a sanctuary for more than 20 local artists.