by Kamran Assadi
As a young student, newly arrived in Long Beach, my life was profoundly changed by Slater Barron. Just as she influenced so many other artists as teacher, mentor, and advocate, she encouraged me to move into the art program at CSULB. Her impact on the local arts community since the 1980's has been immense.
Art was a lifestyle for Slater, not just a practice. She lived mindfulness, before it became a catchphrase. Annual gatherings in her "Rabiit Garden" were modern-day salons in which she presided over a joyful space, where diverse, multi-generational group of arts figures and personalities gathered to celebrate.
Her output was comprised of a diverse body of work, as demonstrated in "Unseen," currently on display at Utopia. Slater's work was ground-breaking it its time, ranging from abstract art to art in unique media, most famously lint. While Huell Howser ma have brought national attention to "The Lint Lady" through his PBS series "visiting with Huell Howser," her output was much more wide-ranging that that.
As a not-traditional grad student, she lived her feminist ideals as a single mother of four children while completing her MFA at CSULB.
During the 2008 episode of Visiting with Hueal Howser that featured Slater, she described her legacy as "being able to use my art to make other people feel they are not along..." Additionally, Slater's legacy continues through her many students (California State University, Long Beach, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, University of California, Irvine Extension, Coastline Community College, Interior Design Institute and Brooks College) as well as the artists and community members in her orbit.