Student owns local art gallery

Javier Valdes

Trish Castro, a buisness marketing major at BC, adjusts artwork at the shop she owns.

Brooke Howard, Features Editor

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New and young artists alike now have a place to show and sell their art as well as get work experience, that place is Elder And Oak in the East Hills Mall, owned and operated by Bakersfield College student Trish Castro.

The shop opened Feb. 10 and is a new metaphysical and spiritual gift shop that also works as a functional art gallery with crafts, incense and paintings.

Castro has been working from home the past three years but recently opened Elder and Oak as a way to help local artists and do what she loves.

“The art scene is getting really big in Bakersfield. Unfortunately, there is nothing for younger artists or new artists. My shop gives a way for young artists to be like ‘Look! Look at my stuff!’ and this is a way for me to be me and have fun while giving back a little bit too,” said Castro.

Castro also credits BC’s staff and faculty to the opening of her shop and the knowledge of what to do with it.

“If it weren’t for BC, I probably wouldn’t have made it,” Castro said. “I went back to school so I could know what I was doing and [my professors] were able to answer all the off-the-wall questions I had for them when I was getting ready to open the store. The faculty at BC seriously [is great]. I don’t think they know it, but I got a lot of encouragement from them.”

Castro went back to BC in fall of 2012 after a 10-year break to gain knowledge on marketing and business management.

“I mainly went back just to know how to [run a store better.] I had a storefront 10 years ago, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how to do it,” Castro said.

With this new opportunity, Castro has made Elder and Oak a store filled with handmade goods and a spot to relax and maybe get some work done.

“It’s a functional art gallery, a metaphysical shop, a comfortable place to have a cup of coffee or tea, sit down read a book and maybe even get some homework done,” Castro said. “And about 80% of what is in the store is handmade, or painted by someone. Not all of it is from me. But I do jewelry, handmade incents, incents holders, candle holders, I also have my glassware from thrift stores or yard sales, because no one just wants a miss matched wine glass so I take them and add the palmer clay to them and make them into something new and unique. It becomes usable art.”

All of the items for sale are fairly priced and the local artists that are housed in Elder and Oak get a 70/30 split in their favor.

“I’m fostering local artists at the best consignment rate in town, 70/30 split in the way of the artist,” Castro said. “We also have a table out at First Friday every month. I let artists come out with me and the commission deal that goes on in the store, is obsolete out there. Whatever they sell at First Friday, goes all to them. I just let them use and hang out in my spot.”

Castro not only wants to help out local artists, but also wants to make up for what the other stores here in town lack.

“There is only one metaphysical shop in Bakersfield and the new owner who took it over changed it,” she said. “The changes that were made not everyone was comfortable with and since they were the only shop in town that was the only place to go. So I opened this to kind of offset what they changed.”

Castro said overall she just wants to help out local artists, have their work seen and possibly sold, as well as helping artists with internships and a place to work.

Elder and Oak is located next to the old Mervyns in the East Hills Mall and is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekends and is closed Sundays and Mondays. They also do a 10 percent off deal for checking in on Facebook.

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