By Colin McBride
“I think, Sancho, there is no proverb that is not true, all being maxims drawn from experience itself, the mother of all the sciences, especially that one that says, ‘Where one door shuts, another opens.”
It seems fitting that gallery owner and director Patric Stillman likes that quote from Miguel de Cervantes’ classic 17th-century novel “Don Quixote.”
Stillman, a talented local painter, recently opened his own door, again — The Studio Door — in Hillcrest this month after choosing to close the doors on his artist venue in North Park this past summer.
“I’m closing a door on four years but carrying everything I learned with me through this new door,” said Stillman. “As an artist, I’m beside myself with excitement to find myself in a new space, a new neighborhood, and with new opportunities. It’s the beginning of a fresh adventure in the arts.”
In the time The Studio Door was open in its original location, it became a well-known hub for working artists and gallery patrons alike.
“I established The Studio Door to fill gaps in San Diego’s visual arts spectrum, especially on the side of creative commerce,” said Stillman. “It really took off from there, establishing regional and nation exhibitions like 50 To Watch and the annual The Crow Show.”
Further, according to Stillman, professional development services for artists, and community collaborations like Business of Art Scholarship also took form. But closing the North Park venue left a void in the local art scene, even if it would be only temporary.
“The search for a new facility was quite stressful,” he said. “It seemed that no matter what neighborhood I looked at, it was difficult to reconcile the complex needs of a gallery, artist studios and workshop space. As it turned out, perseverance and timing were in my favor.”
Moving The Studio Door to a new space also has created greater potential for him to expand and share his vision.
“The building itself is significantly larger, which allows The Studio Door to showcase more contemporary artists in the gallery and double the amount of working artist studios,” Stillman explained. “We are also launching a curated art-inspired museum store where patrons can pick up some unique gifts, as well as visit the Clay Artists of San Diego showcase space, which is a brand new collaboration.
Stillman says the relocation to Hillcrest also is a personal homecoming and a source of pride.
“If you look closely you can see my footprints in the sidewalks because I have really lived in this neighborhood over the years,” he said. “In fact, it was the first place I lived and worked when I moved to San Diego in the early ‘90s.”
When asked what readers should know about The Studio Door opening in Hillcrest, Stillman cited universal passion and dedication that artists generally have in common, as well as the difficulties they share in getting their art in front of people.
“San Diego’s art scene is hot and, trust me, it’s getting a lot hotter,” Stillman said. “The Studio Door is a part of a much larger, vibrant arts scene. Use our welcome as a launching pad to finding out what is really happening across the region.”
The Studio Door is located at 3867 Fourth Ave., between University Avenue and Robinson Avenue in the Hillcrest Neighborhood. Details upcoming programs can be found online at TheStudioDoor.com