History of MAXIMA in Santa Monica


It all started when…

Yossi Govrin founded MAXIMA Art Initiative in 2018 after founding the Santa Monica Art Studios and serving as President and co-Director since 2004. Santa Monica Art Studios was previously known as the Santa Monica Fine Art Studios that he founded in 1985.

MAXIMA Art Initiative was born out of resilience and adaptability to ensure that the art community and successful art center that Govrin has grown over the years will thrive and grow to the next level of collaborative management. MAXIMA Art Initiative is the result of a humanitarian approach to the arts in support of over 33 years of previous experience, interaction and mentorship with thousands of artists, hundreds of community, local, national and international exhibitions and artist exchange, as well as the support of humanitarian causes with arts related fundraisers.

MAXIMA has the support of a Board of Directors with members who hold higher degrees in the arts, science, architecture and finance for a well rounded perspective and support of the growth of MAXIMA and its strategies for its artists, art programming, art education, profitability and sustainability, marketing, outreach and vision for MAXIMA as a leader in the arts community. MAXIMA also has a strong and innovative Advisory Board consisting of artists, curators, gallerists, art advisors, designers, scientists, teachers and professors from local and national art universities, art advisors, business owners and authors that are committed to the mission and vision of MAXIMA and the support of its artists and its long lasting arts community.

The history of MAXIMA began in 1985 when Yossi Govrin saw the need from an artist’s perspective for artist’s studios and a collective artist community. Govrin gathered a collective of artists and sourced a building to make artists studios where he progressively built a community of artists and patrons where artists could create and show their work to their community. Govrin also served as a mentor to many artists mentoring them from the conceptual to the technical in art production, developing a body of artwork and showing their work to the community and then to galleries. He fostered a collaboration amongst artists, a true community of artist exchange and the elevation of the arts for the benefit of all.

In 2001, the City of Santa Monica (City) and the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs provided a finding that approximately 1,000 artists had left the city due to increasing rents. Govrin sourced an abandoned airplane hangar in the Santa Monica Airport and proposed to the City that he could build an arts center with artists studios. The city offered a public proposal available for competition for this idea and Govrin was awarded his comprehensive proposal to pursue his concept and vision of the Santa Monica Art Studios at 3026 Airport Avenue. His vision then was to build an arts center from a pigeon infested abandoned building into an important educational and cultural center to benefit both artists and the community at large.

From 2002-2004 he built on his original concept of the Santa Monica Fine Art Studios and designed and built the Santa Monica Art Studios including Arena 1 Gallery, Hangar Gallery North and South of which he has been founder, president and co-director since 2004. At the start of the lease, the hangar was a dilapidated pigeon infested building with no water, electricity or infrastructure. Govrin transformed it into the productive and architecturally striking environment that it is today that was fulfilled by an independently funded initiative. The impressive state of the building and its art business is entirely due to the Santa Monica Art Studios investment and the past fourteen years of growth as well as the foundation of artists and arts community from the Santa Monica Fine Art Studios.

The Santa Monica Art Studios, Arena 1 Gallery and Hangar Galleries North and South have played a vital role in the Los Angeles art scene, presenting exhibitions with artists from Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia as well as across the United States. In its 14 years of existence it has hosted over 600 events benefitting artists and the community. The Santa Monica Art Studios and Arena 1 Gallery have hosted exhibitions for the Getty Center’s Pacific Standard Time like the Month of Photography (MOPLA) in collaboration with the Getty center. Exhibitions also included collaboration with the APA (American Photography Artists) “Off the Clock.” The Santa Monica Art Studios have shown established artists such as Ed Moses, John Baldessarie and Ed Ruscha, and Frank Gehry as well as contemporary artists like William Ransom, Andy Moses and China Adams and emerging artists and curators locally, nationally and globally.

In the lifetime of SMFAS and SMAS, Govrin developed and cultivated his vision of an arts center to support and promote multi-disciplinary artists with the inclusion of the Santa Monica community and Los Angeles, in raising awareness, providing opportunity, and establishing a space for a reputable and professional arts center to thrive. Govrin's capabilities are strongly evident as he has skillfully negotiated the complexity of this project and numerous leadership roles and relationships. His passion for the arts also serves his primary focus to support and empower other artists. As a mentor, he has been instrumental in developing the careers of tenant and community artists through the rich and frequent programs at SMAS. For these reasons and more, Yossi Govrin was awarded the Creative Community Innovator Award for Arts Leadership by the Santa Monica Arts Foundation2014 and California Legislature Assembly Resolutionhonoring Govrin and the Santa Monica Art Studios as a highly valued entity in the state of California 2015.

Govrin created the multi-functioning SMAS to serve as a learning tool for dynamic experience of studio art practice where artists are provided an environment to create work, meet deadlines, communicate with their peers, participate in marketing and social media, complete installations, and promote their work to galleries. His own active art career participating in local and international shows, creating public art and historical monuments, and curating compelling art shows has served as a concrete example to other artists who are pursuing art as a professional career.

The concept behind Santa Monica Art Studios was not only to create a self-sufficient entity but also to strive to build an entire community of artists who would also understand the opportunity to be self-sufficient in their own right.  SMAS was created to be something much more than only a studio place for artists, it was created with the vision of becoming the cultural and educational center it is today.  MAXIMA is taking a new route and is currently in the process of forming a non profit. Yossi Govrin developed a day to day working relationship with the artists and intends to strengthen it even further with a strong and diverse Staff, Board of Directors and Advisory Board.

Yossi Govrin being awarded the Arts Leadership Award and the award of the California State Assembly by Mayor Pam O’Connor and State Assemblyman Richard Bloom.

Yossi Govrin being awarded the Arts Leadership Award and the award of the California State Assembly by Mayor Pam O’Connor and State Assemblyman Richard Bloom.