Benicia California’s thriving Arsenal Artist Community

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Eanes, Tover, Fox meet at the Arsenal
Mark Eanes (rt), Jeff Tover (c), Larnie Fox (r) meet at Eanes’ studio at the Arsenal. Photo Credit: Jack Wolf

The little town of Benicia, California is a big time center for the arts and artists. In addition to an abundance of downtown galleries, there’s an entire neighborhood expressly for artists and artisans. How the town came to be a magnet for the arts community was propelled subsequent to the closure of the US military’s Benicia Arsenal back in 1964. The arsenal had been a key player in America’s national defense since before the Civil War. When a developer proposed to repurpose the former military installation as an artist live-work community, his idea was met with enthusiasm. Today there are more than 50 artists who maintain live work studios in former military warehouse, a literal–From Swords to Plowshares—transformation.


Join Correspondent Tom Wilmer at the old arsenal for a conversation with key players in the Arts Benicia world. We’ll meet up with Mark Eanes in his combination studio residence. Eanes is an instructor at the California College of Arts in Oakland, California, and an Arts Benicia Board Member. Later on, Larnie Fox, a former Executive Director of Arts Benicia, and Jeff Tover, an Arts Benicia Board Member and working artist, will join the conversation about the artists’ life at the Arsenal and Arts Benicia’s ongoing programs that include exhibitions, classes for adults, art experiences for kids, open studios and more. Funding for the Lowell Thomas Award winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer is provided by Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative.   Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or:



Mark Eanes talks art at the Arsenal
Mark Eanes and Tom Wilmer talk art at the Benicia Arsenal artist enclave. Photo Credit: Jack Wolf