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Art now, great things later

Two artists take their creative show on the road to the benefit of underserved young people.

January 03, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Jennifer Smucker, left, and Shannon Lindsey-Frugis.
Jennifer Smucker, left, and Shannon Lindsey-Frugis. (Walker Hicks )

Amid an orange-yellow dusk on a balmy November night in 2011, two surfers paused off the 28th Street Jetty in Newport Beach.

The night inspired "Shannon Sunset," a color Jennifer Smucker, 36, and Shannon Lindsey-Frugis, 32, would paint onto the 1979 Dodge TransVan they use as a mobile office and arts center for their nonprofit Loveart&, which focuses on art, environmental advocacy and outdoor recreation.

"People at the auto paint store asked, 'Are you sure? That color is horrendous!'" said Smucker, a Santa Monica resident. "We said, 'No, we like it. It's bright and cheerful and sort of like us.' Even the blue of the logo [painted on the van] represents the color contrast of the evening sky."

Noticing the burgeoning popularity of food trucks nationwide, Smucker and Lindsey-Frugis were on the lookout for a van, when Lindsey-Frugis' grandfather donated his to Loveart&.

"The van has a lot of sentimental value because I grew up going on camping and road trips with my grandparents in it," the Newport Beach resident said. "When my grandpop turned 90, he decided he wasn't going on anymore road trips. Loveart& had started developing the concept of bringing our workshops to multiple locations and we needed a vehicle to develop the program."

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Smucker and Lindsey-Frugis met in San Francisco more than eight years ago, where they became roommates and close friends who were drawn together by an affinity for art.

"Since art had always been a savior in my life, I wanted to share that experience with other people," Lindsey-Frugis said. "We wanted to give people resources to be creative and then show them that being creative is a tool that can alter their own path in life."

The duo established Loveart& in 2010.

"The '&' in the end of Loveart& represents a spirit of collaboration, which is the essence of our work," Smucker said. "We are always partnering with other organizations and groups, and so it's like Loveart& dot, dot, dot."

Smucker and Lindsey-Frugis run the show, from public relations to teaching to grant-writing.

"Once we have established a connection, we create customized workshops, based on the age of the kids that are going to be there, to promote creativity in under-served youth," Smucker said. "We're local — we take our programming to community centers, after-school programs, elementary schools, and other places that have a need for, but lack funding to provide, the kind of workshops that we do."

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