Planning for the Tannery Arts Center began shortly after the 150-year-old Salz Tannery closed in 2002.
“It’s a pretty amazing project, isn’t it?” asks artist Angela Gleason.
She isn’t asking the group of writers gathered in her studio about her own impressive jewelry, but about the studio itself, which she’s renting at the Tannery Arts Center off Highway 9. “I waited to do the business until I got the space here,” she says of the historic hide-tanning headquarters turned art mecca.
The Santa Cruz County Visitors Council recently showed journalists around the Tannery’s second phase, a series of work studios that opened earlier this year. The Tannery’s first phase, a group of subsidized housing units, finished in 2009, and a third phase, a performing arts studio, is in the fundraising stages.
The tour came during something of a moment in the sun for the Santa Cruz arts community. This past summer, the studios were featured in Interior Design magazine, a glossy publication based in New York. The recent “familiarization tour” showcased the Tannery, and other notable Santa Cruz spots, to writers from Yahoo Travel, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco magazine and Smart Meetings magazine.