Long Beach artists turn cargo containers into art exhibition

Millions of large metal cargo containers flow in and out Southland ports each year. One group of Long Beach artists saw an opportunity and with city permission, turned several used containers into a temporary art gallery on a busy street corner. It's called the Goods Gallery and a few days ago it hosted an exhibition, its last, of conceptual sculpture, photography and paintings. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez attended and brings us this report.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Four months ago Evan Patrick Kelly helped install three large cargo containers, the ones you see on 18-wheelers all over the place. They're about a ton and a half each. They're in a parking lot in downtown Long Beach.

Evan, how did you come up with the idea to use these large metal boxes as art galleries?

Evan Patrick Kelly: There's not a lot of gallery space in Downtown Long Beach, and the gallery space that is available isn't necessarily accessible. So, instead of going far and wide, we figured we'd just build them ourselves, and create something new.

Also kind of revitalize an empty parking lot and turn it into something that people could use, and especially the local community, that people could walk to and come to any weekend, and there would be something happening. We don't need permanent spaces. Art can be anywhere, anytime, and this is kind of a testament to that.

Guzman-Lopez: Now tell me about the event tonight, Saturday night, here at the corner of Broadway and Long Beach Boulevard.

Kelly: This is a Cal State Long Beach show with Cal State Long Beach students. Yeah, just to connect Cal State with downtown a little bit more and bridge that gap, bring the students down here to see downtown, because everybody says downtown they think L.A., but Long Beach has a downtown too.

Guzman-Lopez: What's going to happen to these cargo containers?

Kelly: We've got to get rid of them. We have to move them. We really can't keep the project going somewhere else because it's far from us, and the reason we can do it so easily is that we're all local.

I mean, I ride my bike here. We're either going to donate them to another organization that can use them for something else, or if somebody wants to buy them, we'll sell them to them.

Guzman-Lopez: How much are they going for? Kelly: They're on eBay right now. Starting bid was $2,000 and we have one bidder so far.

Guzman-Lopez: That's Evan Patrick Kelly with the Goods Gallery in downtown Long Beach.

Note: Organizers of the Goods Gallery say the project may live on. If they find another empty parking lot they'll continue the gallery-in-a-cargo-container project.