Black Bean Ceramic Art Center was the brainchild of Ruben Reyes and Will Johnson, who met as sculpture students in the graduate program of San Jose State University. They made prodigious projects together, studied everything the university had to offer, and went on to lead productive lives, working in design, teaching high school and raising a family for several decades. They joined forces once more, after the turn of the century, to create the Black Bean, an enormous space dedicated to community and creativity, out by the city airport in an gigantic former metal factory. The space became home to dozens of artists, gave excellent classes and workshops, mentored teens and produced museum-quality shows in their beautiful large front gallery. The plan met with some initial skepticism, and Will Johnson loved to point out the copy of the interview, posted on the wall behind his desk, which amply demonstrated the power of the unstoppable duo's energy and vision. Read the article here: https://www.mercurynews.com/2010/01/14/in-middle-age-a-dream-comes-true-at-ceramic-studio-2/
- article by artist Linda Fahey: http://bigoceanblue.blogspot.com/2011/04/susannah-israel-workshopsolo-exhibition.html
- article about the Black Bean's contributions to the youth of their community:
It was a tremendous honor to be part of the Black Bean. I gave a workshop and had an exhibition, curated by the renowned Albert Dixon, San Jose Museum of Art. The las Cadre critique group had a stunning show in the gallery, which I reviewed for ArtShift at the invitation of curator Kathryn Funk. I was able to spend three days a week working in the studio from 11 am to 11 pm. (sometimes more.) My AIR year was generously funded by Mission Clay Art & Industry. The spirit of collaboration and community was powerful, and I created several new bodies of large-scale work, exploring and developing new concepts and processes in depth, an intensive work period not always possible, even in other studio residency programs. My heart will always live at the Black Bean. My heartfelt thanks to Ann Marie & Ruben Reyes, Will Johnson, Michelle Gregor, Diane Levinson, Fred Yokel, Linda Fahey, Albert Dixon and Kathryn Funk. Viva the Black Bean!
Assorted works in progress at Black Bean, below.
Assorted works in progress at Black Bean Ceramic Art Center