Marin Collects Features Art from Private Collections of Local Residents

February 22nd, 2018 - 4:28pm

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Nicole Cruz
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Marin Collects Features Art from Private Collections of Local Residents

Inaugural exhibit includes pieces by well-known and emerging artists 
Three works of art from Marin Collects
From left to right: J.B. Blunk, Untitled; James Sterling Pitt, P22; J.B. Blunk, Untitled

KENTFIELD / NOVATO, CA—February 22, 2018—In March the College of Marin (COM) Fine Arts Gallery will host the first of two new exhibitions featuring art from Marin County collectors and makers.

This inaugural exhibit includes significant works by artists J.B. Blunk, Hassel Smith, Emerson Woelffer, Frank Lobdell, James Sterling Pitt, Frank Gehry, Valerie Jaudon, Il Lee, and Rakuko Naito. The pieces are on loan from the J.B. Blunk Collection, the Collection of Deborah and Jonathan Parker, and the Cella family. 

Showcasing work by local collectors is intended to celebrate the passion that moves people to acquire art. COM Fine Arts Gallery Director Christopher West explained that the idea for the exhibit actually stemmed from a desire to showcase the work and practice of J.B. Blunk. 

“In my mind, he [Blunk] represented the perfect combination of artist and collector, and his deep connection to his Inverness home really influenced his approach to both,” said West. “I wanted to present the aesthetic of each collection as well as build a cohesive body to exhibit.”

Marin Collects presents a body of work that has never been shown together—work made by artists and designers that are both well-known and emerging. A common thread among the pieces in this exhibition is the unique relationship the artist has to materials used in their practice. 

The artwork featured in Marin Collects was selected through a series of visits and conversations with each of the collectors. More about the collectors is below.


Mariah Nielson’s background as an architect has informed her work as a curator and design historian. She worked as curator at the Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, (2009–2011) and as director of the J.B. Blunk Residency (2007–2011). Nielson is currently the director of the J.B. Blunk Estate and co-founder of the design brand Permanent Collection.


Jonathan Parker is a writer-director of independent feature films including Bartleby, a print of which is in the permanent collection of MOMA in New York. He is also a commercial real estate developer and current president of the board of the California Film Institute. He has lived in Marin for 30 years.


LJ Cella has collected fine and decorative artworks for more than 30 years. He is a former trustee at both the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.  A private investor and resident of Kentfield, Cella gifted a collection of architectural drawings and furniture to the Palm Springs Art Museum.  As a founding member of that museum’s Architecture & Design Center, Cella led the board of trustees Strategic Planning Committee.  

Marin Collects opens Monday, March 5, and runs through Thursday, April 5, 2018. Fine Arts Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

About College of Marin
Established in 1926, College of Marin remains committed to educational excellence, providing equitable opportunities, and fostering success in all members of its diverse community. With campuses in Kentfield and Novato, students of all ages have affordable access to an exciting variety of credit and noncredit courses as well as community education classes for lifelong learning. College of Marin is one of 114 public community colleges in California and approximately 13,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students enroll annually. 

College of Marin is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.