THE DATE WAS March 2, 1942. America wasn’t even three months into World War II, and an order came from Washington, D.C., that a shipyard was to be built on the sleepy shores north of downtown Sausalito. Within nine months, six 440-foot “Liberty Ships,” displacing over 14,000 tons each, were launched from the yards that came to be known as Marinship. Amid that chaotic activity, starting on May 3, 1942, a three-story, 110,000-square-foot wooden structure, initially labeled a “Mold Loft” (a large building where lines of a ship are laid out and actual-size patterns for construction are completed), was constructed in just over 100 days. And today it is still standing, busy as ever. Starting in the 1950s, artists were attracted to the building’s big open spaces, natural light and cheap rents. By then the three-story structure had been renamed the Industrial Center Building and was loosely referred to as the ICB Building. In the 1960s, the ICB Artists organization formed, and in 1968 it held its first winter open studios event. Now, 50 years later, ICB Artists consists of over 125 portrait and landscape painters, printmakers, photographers, writers, garment designers, jewelry workers and clay sculptors, among other creative members. The organization this year is celebrating a half-century of open studio events, one of the largest fetes of its kind in the country, with a building-wide open house from November 30 to December 2. Studios will be open daily, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and artists’ works will be available for purchase.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline “Patterns to Painting”.