Artists hold ‘farewell sale’ ahead of Chris Sorensen Studio’s closure

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Local artists at the Chris Sorensen studio are now hosting a farewell sale, just days after being told they needed to vacate the space.

The current owners of the building released a statement saying, “We would love to see the Chris Sorensen Art Studio continue, but until such time that a viable entity comes together for the management of the gallery, unfortunately, this is the status.”

Empty spaces are now the reality at the iconic Chris Sorensen studio on Van Ness.

“When I heard that we had three days to get out, then I go, what,” said artist, Paul Stommel.

Paul Stommel is just one of the artists that now have to move their pieces elsewhere.

“This is kind of my home away from home,” said Stommel. “I enjoy being around other artists. You have something in common with them.”

The massive move out comes just a few months after Chris Sorensen passed away in March at the age of 99.

It’s another tragedy for artists like Gerard Jessurun, who’s been in this space for 15 years.

“Its not what he wanted — not for this to happen, Its sad, its sad for everybody,” said Jessurun.

I asked Stommel what he would say to Sorensen, the ‘man of steel’ — if he were here today.

“I think he’s be disappointed, I’d say Chris — I’d give anything if you could come down and help us,” said Stommel.

The sudden closure also disheartening for longtime supporters.

“Its a staple of the community for Arthop nights and for artists that I’ve loved following their work,” said shopper, Lauri Leone.

Lauri Leone stopped by the sale Friday and says she’s created connections with the innovative people inside.

“Its really going to be a missed location because it houses a lot of creative people that have established some great art in our community,” said Leone.

She’s hoping they all find a new space soon, and the artists want to keep Sorensen’s legacy alive, but they know all good things take time.

“A number of us are trying to find property and move in together so we can continue that community that Chris started,” said Jessurun.

“Go back to the glimmer of hope that maybe this will come back, and it will be Sorensen Studios,” said Stommel.

The artists say they now have until the end of the month to be out of the building.

The farewell sale continues this weekend from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be a food truck for shoppers to enjoy.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.