Artists Out of Business After $30,000 in Equipment Stolen

SACRAMENTO -- The local arts community is reeling from a major blow after someone broke into Panama Art Factory and stole about $30,000 worth of equipment belonging to artists.

Now some of those artists are essentially out of business. However, some in the community are rallying to help them replace what was taken.

One of the most fascinating spaces in South Sacramento is an old pottery factory converted into a communal studio for more than 30 artists.

"We have a common work area, and then we have individual art spaces,” said manager Dave Davis.

The creative collaboration at Panama Art Factory is inspired by art forms old and new and held together by trust. That trust was literally shattered when a thief or thieves smashed down doors to gain access.

Some time between 3 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday, burglars made away with a variety of specialized equipment from various artist spaces including $15,000 worth of camera equipment, lights and lenses from photographer Melissa Uroff.

“She’s completely out of business,” Davis said.

And a computer was stolen from graphic artist Chris Herman.

“Starving artists is such a misnomer, some of these people work harder than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Davis said.

Davis, who works with steel, ceramics, and wood, is personally repairing damage to the building, while trying to manage his own losses of a chop saw and welder, which have effectively put him out of business.

Police spent hours dusting for fingerprints and collecting evidence, but Davis says he has no idea who’s responsible.

Their studio has gotten some recent press, and they host events for the public. Davis suspects that may also have brought some unforeseen consequences.

“If you have a business, and you want to start advertising and putting the word out there, you got to remember not everybody is going to be kind,” he said.

The artists will continue inviting the public to their space but are ramping up security and adding security cameras.

A fund has been started to help them replace what was taken. You can donate here.

There will also be a Second Saturday art show fundraiser Sept. 10 at Panama Art Factory.