photo by Gray Douglas

Supporting the arts and sharing an eccentric building

photo courtesy Eldorado Springs Art Center

For years, Giuseppe Palumbo lived in a hillside house that overlooked the village of Eldorado Springs and a dilapidated Volvo repair shop. To his artist’s eye, the messy, unsafe garage site had the makings of a studio, gallery, sculpture garden and community center for himself and other artists. And that, in an informal way, is how he’s been using it in the 19 years since he bought the place and first applied for permits.

“Our mission is to support the arts and create art spaces,” Palumbo says. “Live/work places, that’s what artists need.” He has shared the eccentric building with many other artists, including some from Zimbabwe, India and Mexico. He has hosted fundraisers for One School at a Time, the Children in Need Institute and other nonprofits that support education for girls in countries where too few girls’ parents can afford it. Beginning in July, the newly expanded, renovated center will schedule shows and special events, such as “supper club” evenings with rotating chefs.

photo courtesy Eldorado Springs Art Center

You’ll find the Eldorado Springs Art Center behind a wall at 8 Chesebro Way. Check its Facebook page for updated information. Admission is free, and the courtyard and sculpture garden (up the steps) are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. You’ll know you’ve found it when you spot a tiny but seaworthy tugboat and a mermaid sculpture by Palumbo just inside the courtyard, and—no surprise—an old Volvo hubcap embedded in the masonry.

“Foreign visitors especially like it, and people who are more curious,” Palumbo says. “They want to look on the other side of the wall, which our society doesn’t encourage. We say, ‘Touch everything!’”

—By Mary Jarrett

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