Soon after finishing a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, Marnie Navarro returned to school at Cal State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) and received a second B.A. Degree in Studio Art. Marnie’s big thing was going to school and being whole-heartedly invested in art and being able to still create artwork after she finished. Throughout the years of art making, it became a serious aspect of her life and she knew for sure that she wanted her career to be involved in art.
After graduating in December 2010, Marnie traveled through Europe and Spain with a close friend, who would soon become her business partner, Melissa Snyder. While traveling, they had many talks about opening a gallery together and how they would bring exposure to emerging artist as well as themselves, their styles and ideas.
Melissa has a PhD in Therapy and is very big on Art Therapy and Stencil Work. So, with Marnie’s love for wanting to know how people think and function in life, hence her Psychology degree, it was simple for them to form a business that would display what they both enjoy doing. During their travels, the duo decided that they best way to keep doing art and have a gallery was to incorporate a studio within the gallery. They didn’t want to use their own names for the title of the gallery/studio because it seemed to be very cliché. The two wanted the name to represent more than just art itself, they wanted it to reflect people’s career paths and their journey through the world of art making. Marnie and Melissa wanted the name to mean something to them and others, so with that in mind they eventually came up with the name LIFEWORK.
After returning from Barcelona, Spain in August 2011, the women put their plans and ideas into affect and within one month they found an affordable space to start their gallery/studio. The place was a total mess so it took them another month to fix it up and in October 2011 LIFEWORK had its grand opening.
Marnie and Melissa consider LIFEWORK as a place for young starving artist to exhibit their work at a place of importance, hoping to help them see the significance of their work and to give them another outlet in life, rather than being in the streets getting into trouble. Melissa and Marnie attend local shows and exhibits to find new artist for the gallery. They communicate with their current and future clients via email and through their gallery website. CSUSB is also a major part of their networking to bring new artist and artwork in. LIFEWORK is about creating, showcasing, and selling artwork to the community, while keeping the artist in a therapeutic state of mind. “LIFEWORK calls for cutting edge, not your everyday kind of artwork, making our gallery different from other, more sterile, galleries in Palm Springs that only deal with ‘over the couch’ art work,” says Marnie. The addition of Art Therapy Workshops also separates them from other galleries in their area.
Marnie expressed that opening the LIFEWORK gallery/studio was way more work than expected. The partners have day jobs, which is common when owning your own gallery because it is hard to keep people interested in buying artwork. Marnie advises that if you’re interested in opening a gallery after school be sure it’s what you definitely want to do and to stay dedicated to your goal because it will be worth it in the end.
What an inspiration these two women are for artists.