The eco-conscious movement is gathering momentum in the South Bay’s ocean communities.
One group taking note is the Foundation of Local Arts, or FOLA, a South Bay nonprofit organization that raises funds to bolster art education in public schools and provide a platform for local artists to showcase their work by organizing community events throughout the year.
FOLA’s fourth annual gala this Saturday—themed “Green Meets Art”—will be one such event. The fundraiser will feature local musicians and a varied collection of artworks from FOLA’s adult members as well as students from Mira Costa High School and Manhattan Beach Middle School.
And this time, the venue itself will be an exhibit of local art, as it will take place in a “green,” three-storied Manhattan Beach house built and designed by the gala’s honorees, sustainable developer Daniel Salzman and interior designer Arianna Sabra.
“Being green is part of our beach culture here and we express it in the arts,” FOLA’s Janet Soliman-Suard said. “It goes hand in hand with our culture and what we want in our city.”
Founded in 2009, FOLA largely focuses on cultivating a passion for the arts in local youth. In addition to providing art scholarships to Mira Costa graduates every year, the organization also funds Young at Art, a hands-on arts education program that brings in acclaimed fine artists to K-8 classrooms throughout the Beach Cities.
The organization also made it possible in 2011 to publish and distribute Manhattan Beach Middle School’s now-annual literary magazine, which features student submissions of art, photography, short stories and poetry.
Proceeds from Saturday’s gala will benefit such programs for Manhattan Beach public schools.
While these are more conventional forms of art, architecture provides another avenue to reflect culture by intersecting design and building science, which Salzman said has been “exploding” in the last five years.
“I think art and science go hand in hand,” he said. “Anyone can build four walls and a roof, but how do we solve the problem of being more durable, healthier, beautiful and sustainable? That’s the challenge. Through green environmental design, you impact the way people live.”
Salzman began building houses “conventionally” in Manhattan Beach with a developer partner about 10 years ago.
“But at some point I realized there’s so much waste that goes on in construction,” he said. ”Just how much wood is wasted in framing, how much the land is disturbed, and how people throw paint water in the dirt…”
Newly convicted, Salzman in 2007 founded Evergreen Design Build Inc., which specializes in high-performance, low-energy homes, and in 2009, built the first home in Manhattan Beach—as well as the Beach Cities—to be gold-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-certification program.
“Because this is such a healthy area with socially conscious families, it’s really taken off in the last couple of years,” Salzman said. “Sustainability is the key to our culture going forward.”
Saturday’s event will also include a house tour, a silent auction as well as a speech from Dennis Jarvis, surfboard shaper and owner of Spyder Surfboards, Inc. in Hermosa Beach.
Tickets are available at foundationoflocalarts.com.