Creekside Studio is a collaboration between landscape architect Jeffrey Miller and artist Amy Trachtenberg that creates a gateway and gathering place for Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. Montalvo is an internationally known art center, offering artist residencies, performances, exhibitions, and a wide array of public arts programming. The center is located on a 175-acre property that once belonged to California Senator James Phelan. In 1930, the senator bequeathed the property for use as a public park and center for art.
Creekside Studio transforms a formerly underused site near the main entrance to Montalvo, along the southeast bank of Wildcat Creek. The site now serves as a space for outdoor classes and summer camps, an area for resident artists to engage with the public, and a place where art and ecology can come together for Montalvo’s community.
Miller designed the terraced space for Creekside Studio, which is centered around two revitalized shed structures. Handcrafted benches of wood and stone create a boundary and transition between terrace levels, and offer ample seating for classes or events. Stained concrete countertops and wooden project tables provide durable work surfaces for artists. New native plantings contribute to Montalvo’s Arboretum, and integrate with the surrounding oak and redwood forest.
Trachtenberg’s two-part piece Counterpoint comprises the Striped Shed Doors and Patchwork Shadecloth at Creekside Studio. The Striped Shed Doors, constructed of repurposed lumber, create a counterpoint to the solid colors of the repainted sheds. The Patchwork Shadecloth filters sunlight through vibrant blocks of color. These two abstract assemblages draw connections between the natural and the handmade. The history of prior use in the cast-off materials creates a commentary on consumption and reflects practices of improvisation.
A second phase of the project, planned for the northwest bank of Wildcat Creek, will provide additional gathering and classroom space.
Project Landscape Architect| Jeffrey Miller. Principal, Miller Company Landscape Architects
Project Artist| Amy Trachtenberg
Project Client| Montalvo Arts Center
Photography| Jeffrey Miller and Amy Trachtenberg