Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Art of Science, Science of Art


 The La Jolla Playhouse presented some brilliant local scientists in their Art of Science, Science of Art panel. We hope they hold many more of these events which prove not only that there is a close connection between art and science but also that we have top brain power right here in SD.

It turns out that scientist spend a lot of time and have great respect for the arts. They often try to analyze how it gives them a higher level of focus. They have to be performers themselves when they make presentation for grants or lectures to colleagues. They struggle just like artists to find funding and their process of creation is even longer than most artistic ventures. A play can take up to 10 years from book to script to stage, but research often needs to be funded for 40 years or more. They want to shorten the learning curve but have to contend, as doctors, with every patience being a new canvas. They are working to combine the experience of the old guard with the innovative nature of the young bucks. They all seemed to agree that the most progress is made with a totally interdisciplinary team.

Someone in the audience suggested that large sums of money should be thrown at those projects that have the most chance of succeeding, but Dr. Gerald Joyce (Professor, UCSD-Scripps Institute, Molecular Biology and Chemistry) gave a very succinct reply when he said that  the dinosaurs would have had been funded if we had gone that route millenniums ago. It is better to fund a spread of projects large, medium and small and best if these are chosen by peer groups.  

Dr. Daniel Einhorn, Moderator, Endocrinology Scripps-Whittier) was the moderator for the evening and endured himself when he spoke of that special moment when only you know about an imminent discovery. That is a sweet moment but that isolation which is a factor in a scientist’s life is another reason they look to art to offer a sense of intellectual community. 

Dr. Santiago Horgan (Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, UCSD) spoke movingly of the changes from a time when the "bigger the scar the better the surgeon” to the current minimalist approach. He is actually able to do an appendicitis operation through the mouth with no scar at all.
Both Dr. Thomas Albright (Vision Center Laboratory, Salk Institute) and Dr. Pamela Itkin-Ansari (specializing in diabetes and pancreatic diseases) contributed in many other ways and were equally impressive.

On the art side were Des McAnuff, Director of the new play, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (using the music and inspiration of the band, The Flaming Lips). He reminded the audience that experimentation is the cornerstone of creativity and being able to fail is allowed as long as there is authenticity about the process.  Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director, La Jolla Playhouse, gave a wonderful description of how an usher watching a rehearsal gave him the insight into how to fix an ineffectual scene and add layers of meaning when she suggested that a white man and black women raised all sorts of issues outside of the direct dialogue.

Joe Nalven of DAG seems to think that the event was put on to “close the gap between town and gown, talk up the new play, avoid the politics of other art institutions and artists.” I am just grateful that there was standing room only and a very appreciative crowd in attendance who are curious about the art and science combination.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holistic Education


 Holistic Education: Civic Innovation Challenge for the Innovation Incubator

The US is 26th in the world in average internet speed. We look out at a powerful ocean but do not harness its energy to be relieved of the need for fossil fuel or convert it to make us fresh water independent. Our infrastructure would be devastated when a large earthquake strikes our region.

The challenge of finding solutions for these problems depends on our creativity and the ability to work as a team and stop political posturing and greed. We do need to develop the ability to really communicate and collaborate.

My civic challenge is how we restructure our educational system in such a way to teach holistically instead of teaching subject by subject. How would the curriculum change, how would the schools physically need to be altered, how would teachers need to communicate in a new way, how would standards need to be responsive to needs instead of an ideal set of criteria?  

San Diego is still like the Wild West, fluid in its development and not as set in its ways as any other large city. That is why it is possible for this to happen here. San Diego could finally take pride in a really remarkable achievement which could be a pilot for a new way of educating in our future.  We could lose the fun and sun only label and take pride in our community on every level.

It appears that many San Diegan have the idea that if we were to become more advanced, we would lose our small town feel and all the cozy comfort that provides. But I see a future where we still have our small communities but we also have the advantage of a true big city. Sophistication does not need to be “either or”. It can be “and”. We don’t need to choose one or the other, but we can be amongst both. For my challenge local and region wide educational bodies would come together. Schools teachers, advisors, administrator, school boards, advocacy group and students and parent would all be impacted.

A small example of a solution would be to devise a way for art studios and science labs to share the same space. Start teaching these subjects together instead of separately. Stop assuming that some people are artists and some are scientist. Both subjects can be learned and learning them together will aid the creative flow.  Working together means solutions to the multitude of large challenges facing us becomes a hopeful activity. 

Do you have a Civic Challenge for innovation? If so, submit it here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

San Diego Steps It Up


 San Diego Steps It Up: Watch for these future arts projects

San Diego Arts Entertainment District (SDAED) is a neighborhood revitalization project for the North Broadway corridor (Front St. to 10th Avenue and Ash S. to E St.) of Downtown San Diego promoting our vibrant arts industry. The district will create activities through art festivals, concerts, holiday events, cultural events, outdoor films, and most importantly though an innovative signage program. . SDAED will support the countywide artistic community through public displays of all types of art and through marketing support that will help drive awareness to showings within the arts community.  Private funds from a revenue share of district commercial signage will be reinvested into the district for the betterment of the local community. This was a process that worked very well in the Denver Theater District and is especially suited to downtown San Diego with its very stringent rules on commercial signage.

But this is not a done deal until its proposal with the City Council Land Use Committee in November and with City Council in January 2013 is approved. We can expect the start of this scheme if all goes well by April of 2013.

The district will be managed by Finwater Municipal Marketing through David Ehrich. The company is a partnership between Finwater Advisors LLC and Marston+Marston, Inc. Several national media companies will provide various forms of signage including LED screens, banners, and flags that will generate district revenue. A local board of directors, comprised of representatives from the City as well as arts groups and private business owners, will govern the district. This Board will review and make recommendations to the City Planning authorities related to all district signage to ensure that the signage meets appropriate public interests and standards. We believe that they will encourage innovative and creative photos and videos and that will help make the signs not an eyesore, but a wonderful added element of art that is constantly changing and spreading the word about arts in our region. Public displays of art will be a hallmark of the SDAED. These displays will provide valuable exposure to arts groups within and outside of the district boundaries.

National Science Foundation awards a $2.6m grant to the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership to lead a national innovation incubator project integrating arts-based-learning and STEM (What we in SD call STEAM). We heard more about the innovation Incubator grant program at the  Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Community Forum when San Diego Innovation Alliance members were invited to join a special informational meeting with Harvey Seifter, Art of Science Learning founder and the project’s director and principal investigator.

This project will take place over three years. The first phase is a planning year when a curriculum will be designed to help the teams and those  teams will be formed through a network of advisors and mentors, faculty and corporate sponsors. Each city will choose a civic challenge and the teams will self form and generate their own themes. The second year will put the 300 team members divided amongst three cities to work. Each city will have 5 teams working on school programming and five teams working on projects with products or services.  At least 20% of those teams will be students. The results will be documented and an exhibition is planned to show case all of the teams in all three cities starting at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

There will also be an independent research project with a control group and one which has undergone about 12 hours of the curriculum instruction. They will then be asked to generate solutions for the same projects that the teams have worked on. This will generate statistics, hopefully, confirming that students that study the arts outperform those who don’t and scientist who participate in the arts are higher achiever than those who don’t. That study will involve both high school students and early career STEM professionals.

They also want to foster engagement through a series of public programs. Of course they will have an evaluation assessment. The main push with this project is to enhance cross discipline practices, strengthen creativity in the sciences and generate innovation. This will hopefully fill the gap in communication skills and facilitate greater teamwork skills. Both of these along with enhanced creativity have been identified as needs to jump start our innovative economic progress.

We also hear rumors of a performing arts annual Fringe Event which will have visual arts component. AND don’t forget the San Diego View Art Now (SDVAN) app coming to you later this year. Produced and sponsored by San Diego Visual Arts Network, this app will pin point events near you on a Google map and be searchable by date or region of SD including Baja Norte.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Art Spaces for Art Places


 SDVAN was invited to attend a meeting with Victoria Hamilton, director of the SD Commission for Arts and Culture, to discuss a more successful way to obtain an Art Place grant. The previous year, San Diego organizations submitted a joint grant application which was not successful.

ArtPlace is a collaboration of ten leading national and regional foundations, eight federal agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six of the nation’s largest banks to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation and an anonymous donor. Funds committed to ArtPlace are overseen by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, a nonprofit lender and financial consulting organization. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions We have been fortunate to have Carole Colleta, president, Art Place attend meetings in SD. And she will be again a participant at the Culture of Innovation global forum (more info below) Letter of inquiry open on  Sept 4, and close Nov 1. On Jan 2, 2013 finalists are  announced and grants on awarded in June 2013.

This year it was decided that individual organizations should be encourage to apply separately and the commission would try to supply help in terms of professional editing. The groups applying will also communicate with each other and make sure that any cross over is considered as a collaboration in hopes of making both applications stronger

Art Spaces who might apply include but are not limited to:

 David Malmuth with partner Pete Garcia through  I.D.E.A has placed a flag in the earth by acquiring a space between 13th and 14th and F and G for $1 a year for 2 years. This will be a great place for pop up events, art labs and artists installation. David is also behind the Culture of Innovation global forum held in Balboa Park Sept 5/6. Partnering with the Urban Land Institute (SD/TJ branch) and the Aspen Institute, the program will consist of keynote addresses, plenary sessions, in-depth discussions in small groups, workshops, artistic and cultural events, and the showcasing of creative and innovative experiences at the intersection of technology, culture, and business. It will close with a visit to the New Art City Art San Diego Fair for the VIP opening reception.

Lynn Susholtz’s Art Produce Gallery now includes the new garden and stage as she continues her innovative programming.  The gallery is being reconfigured into a larger gallery space adjacent to what will become a new Swoon Dessert Bar at Art Produce. The garden is open every Thursday from 4-6 pm.
Cheryl Nichel and Ruby Cougler from Space4Art  are looking for funding for new classroom in the short term and will be looking for an entire new space eventually. They want to stay in East Village if possible, and so the connection to I.D.E.A might make for a great collaboration.

Leticia Gomez Franco helped us understand more about Front in San Ysidro part of Casa Familiar, where emerging women artists are about to start on a repurposing bus project to use as a traveling art lab. Working with USCD Calit2 and their giant multiple video screens is one of their big advantages, bringing communication into the community and the community into the university.

Justin Hudnall of So Say All of Us is now working on East County rejuvenation and concentrating on programming geared for new population of first time home owners. So Say All of Us is bringing Arab American Film Festival to Santee, working with local historical societies and publishing stories about The Far East AKA El Cajon with the help of the Catalyst grant from the SD Foundation.

There are many other organizations that should be encourage to apply including Alan Ziter from  The NTC Foundation (where are meeting was held) whose goal is to build an art community, David White and Agitprop and Zack Nielsen from Sezio.

For an example of a successful program we were guided to check out Intersection Art Five M in SF Founded in the early 1960’s and incorporated in 1965, Intersection for the Arts cultivates inclusiveness, builds community, and inspires social change through art.

The commission itself does give out grants in this same area Creative Community grants from Commission of Arts and Culture .

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Curated Exhibitions/OMA New Director

It is with unbridled joy that we pass on the new of the new director of the Oceanside Museum of Art. Daniel Foster is a long time friend and advocate for San Diego Visual Arts Network as one of the founders of the site. His time at the San Diego Art Institute followed by a position as Director of the Riverside Art Museum and President/CEO of The Community Foundation of Riverside has more than prepared him for this position. He has a vision and we are excited to see what the future will bring and looking forward to working with him again.

Oceanside Museum of Art
Facing West / Looking East

August 12 - Jan 13, 2013 at Bob and Estelle Gleason Gallery

I see a lot of art. I go to exhibitions, I subscribe to art newsletters, I look at art magazines, I view artist’s websites. I try to follow trends and I am always looking for some organized way of looking at art. That is one reason I am so passionate about supporting curated art exhibitions. Having an intelligent and dedicated professional gathering works together to illustrate a specific viewpoint is a delight for me. It helps cut through the masses of images that I bombard myself with daily.


So when I viewed the Facing West/Looking East show recently at the Oceanside Museum of art, it was a relief to have someone as intelligent at Richard Turner as a guide. The show has two premises. The first is that California is a state of mind recognizing that all minds are individual entities. The second is that of the artist creating in California, many are” in the west but not entirely of the west.” They have Asian heritage or are world travelers, or simply have an affinity for things of the Far East. Reading Turner’s introduction to the show with its lack of art speak showed the roots of this show in his love for a TV show of his youth Kung Fu. I was charmed.


Having said all that, it was really my viewing of the show with none of this explanation that made me want to know more about the curator and the show’s heritage. I walked into the space after an invitation to a private cocktail party hosted by Mickelson Capital Investing. They very cleverly used the museum to attract the people interested in their direct lending strategies to help get the economy moving while making income for investors. My interest is in getting the art market moving while educating viewers on the value of having art in their lives.


The entire show is worth viewing but I made a choice of works that spoke to me below.

Brian Doan

Jacci Den Hartog
Kara Tanaka


Kim MacConnel
You have a few more days to check out Cruisin' Califas: The Art of Lowriding ending Sept 30, 2012 in the Singh Family Gallery at OMA. This is a smart, exhibition curated by local San Diegans Carlos and David C. de Baca that drew a record new Latino audience to the museum. Califas is a slang term that refers to California amongst the Latino culture with roots that going back to the mythological land of Calafia that inspired the naming of California.



Jesse Valadez
D.A. Garcia
Now I am looking forward to the next show which is curated by OMA Interim Executive Director, Tara Smith. YOU: Investigating Identity runs from Sept15 - Nov 11, 2012 and is displaying artworks by seven contemporary San Diego and New York based artists Alida Cervantes (SDVAN’s New Contemporary), Trish Stone, David Adey (SDVAN SD Art Prize), Kelly Schnorr, Lea Dennis, Cathy Begein and Melissa Cooke.

We also welcome the innovative projects emerging at the UC San Diego University Art Gallery (UAG) under the artistic guidance of Curatorial Fellow Michelle Y. Hyun. Hyun is the first recipient of the UAG Curatorial Fellowship award. This two-year paid Fellowship allows emerging curators to produce a series of exhibitions and projects for the UAG while participating in the intellectual and creative life of the visual arts department. The UC San Diego Visual Arts Department is one of the few in the country to blend graduate research in both art history and art practice in a single scholarly community.

San Diego Mesa College offers San Diego’s only hands-on program in Museum Studies and Gallery Management. Their next show is Seven Deadly Sins with a reception and lecture on Sept 6 from 5-7 pm. In this exhibition seven accomplished artists reinterpret the Seven Deadly Sins and contextualize them for the 21st Century. San Diego based artists Marianela de la Hoz and Alexia Markarian are joined by Phyllis Davidson, Gene Flores, Doug Sutherland, Henning von Berg and Peter Zokosky. Art history professor Beate Bermann-Enn curated the exhibit. For more info: Alessandra Moctezuma 619.388.2829

Thursday, July 12, 2012

TED Speak: Introducing SDVAN View Art Now App

The New Yorker Magazine printed an article Listen and Learn (July 9 &16, 2012) by Nathan Heller about TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) video presentations. If you are like me you have watched a number of these and they are almost always wonderfully produced. I often asked myself how these people from all walks of life were able to be so entertaining, dedicated and passionate about their subjects. I recommend you read the article for a full description, but one small paragraph gave me some good clues. I decided to try this formula out in introducing our new San Diego View Art Now (SDVAN) App.
  1. Opening of Direct address: As part of the DNA of Creativity project, we are going forward with a new asset for the San Diego Visual Arts Network, which is a logical outgrowth of our service to over 2000 visual art resources for the SD community. Our events calendar has listed over 7000 events since our inception in 2003 and we are now planning to create a smart phone app that will give users who are pin pointed by GPS a view on their phone map of events occurring in a radius around them.

  2. Narrative of personal stake: I arrived in SD in 1996 from London, went to the MoCASD and asked for the visual arts guide to the city. They laughed and shrugged at the same time. No guide existed. As I discovered the richness of the visual art scene in SD, I saw no reason not to share that information. Six years later we launched SDVAN with a resource directory and events calendar. Now, to take advantage of on the go needs, we are developing the smart phone app, which will access the data from our events calendar. We also wanted to have the fun and stay on the cutting edge by adding an AR (augmented reality) component to the app. AR is using the camera function of the phone to give an additional layer of information for the viewer.

  3. Research Summary: We used technology specially commission as 10 years in the internet world is 50 years in other industries and there was no standard software existing at that time for the design we used. Now researching how to make an app means understanding our PHP data bases, commissioning software developers and graphic designers. Our research into AR is just beginning and you can read a past A+ Augmented Reality Summary. We will be creating a dedicated website for San Diego View Art Now (SDVAN) which will be compatible for smart phones and has the web application on the home page, plus more information about our team, history, how to list your events, lesson plans, and special launch events for the app.

  4. Précis of potential application: Imagine you are out drinking with friends after work and you have the evening stretching before you. Call up SDVAN on your phone by clicking the icon and up pops all the events near you. Want to find something on the way home, click to view by location. Planning a future rendezvous, click to locate events by date. And in phase two of this app you may be able to see lost graffiti after it has been painted out, or locate a map to entire open studio event, maybe even see a secret layer of a painting not visible with the human eye alone.

  5. Revelation to drive it home: The New Yorker is already supplying an app for all of its cultural events. I just did a Google search for Visual Arts Apps and SDVAN appeared on the first page right after the Wikipedia definition of fine art. Other cities will have this technology soon, but just as SD Visual Arts Network was cutting edge when it began, we can be on the fore front of this technology for our community, build audience for visual arts events and get one step closer to re-branding San Diego as one of the world’s most innovative regions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Artful Life By Cathy: Interview with Patricia Frischer, San Diego Commun...

Artful Life By Cathy: Interview with Patricia Frischer, San Diego Commun...: I met Patricia Frischer in 2001,   a few years after she moved to the San Diego area. My studio was on the COVA Studio Tour and as Patrici...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Augmented Reality

One of the four projects of the DNA of Creativity project (the Batt App) is going to have an augmented reality (AR) component. I had no idea what that meant this time last year, but bit by bit I am learning about this exciting new area of communication. I hope to give you a brief description of my discoveries and some links so you can see for yourself how exciting this technology really is that combines elements from the physical and the virtual world to create new experiences at home, in business, and by smart phone where ever you are connected to the internet.

Please note in my descriptions below, you must click on the links to really get an idea as no written explanation is adequate to describe these new technologies.  

I went to a presentation in May produced by Commnexus called Augmented Reality: Is It Real? hosted by the law firm Mintz Levin. The first presenter, Mike Gonzales, Creative Director and Brand Digital Manager of Wow Wee USA Inc is producing a line of AR toys under the brand AppGear which will sell for only $9.95. That is an incredible price when you realize that the child (or child at heart) will get a toy that acts as a marker to launch the technology similar to computer games purchases as dvds. The toys will be collectable and the AR component will lengthen the play time from the usual few hours to days and days of interaction.

This is the natural progression when the ipad, computer and smart phone become the playthings of our young people. The company started with a $100 robot which sold 6 million units and will probably come out with a $39.95 robot that will allow you to use your smart phone to see smoke trails when rockets are launched and do virtual repairs. But the first set of apps will include a small toy plane (Foam Fighters)  which attaches to your device and makes that device into a control panel for flying through the digital landscape. It has gaming capacity for multiple players and other games in this line can make your tabletop into a game board. Mike has produced toys in the Far East, but lives and has his head office in Carlsbad.

That brings me to our star local company Qualcomm which is no longer making actual phones but streaming ahead with software. Jay Wright, Senior Director, Business Development, Qualcomm is so confident of the augmented reality technology that the firm is offering free software to develop apps using it called  Vuforia.    Go to this link to see some incredible videos of what this software can do.  This, more than anything, has convinced me that AR is not a flash in the pan, but an alternate reality that will be here to stay. Retailers will use the AR apps and that will generate income and of course, apps will continue to be sold for $.99 in the millions.

Qualcomm sees AR in three distinct areas: 1. gaming and play (like WooWee), 2. Interactive media (like offering more information at point of sale, expanded advertising techniques and added value in use of products) and the last big area is 3. instructional (all those how to use, construct and repair manuals will be interactive). I loved the catsup bottle label that turns into a recipe book.

The goal is to treat your phone as much like your eye as possible. Not many of the applications that I have learned about have actually materialized yet, but they are really coming. They already have 26,000 software designers using the software which recognizes 400 phones and already 800 apps have been developed. There are challenges that the technology faces.  These programs are battery suckers and there is no unified viewer so you have to download each app. The idea of AR glasses or goggles is still in the future.  

We have no idea at this stage what aspects we will be incorporating into our upcoming smart phone application for SDVAN. Will we use it for promotion or will our resources be able to use it to add layers of information to their programs? We are only at the beginning of this research.  

Here are two more links that are already resident on the DNA of Creativity Blog. If you are not yet following this blog, it is great fun to see the variety of art and science collaboration that are out there.


Mar 24, 2012
Augmented Reality Pop Up Books. Augmented Reality Pop Up... NokiaTattoo that vibrates

Jan 08, 2012
In our sample DNA of Creativity application we give a link to Elipse augmented reality. You can use your phone to see added featured on images that are processed to be recognizable by the camera of your smart phone.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Art Big Bucks

Andy Warhol's "Double Elvis" sold for $37 million
Lichtenstein's "Sleeping Girl," depicting a woman with closed eyes and flowing blond hair, fetched $44,882,500;
Francis Bacon's "Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror" — sold for $44,882,500.
Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $119.9 million

You add these and many many more similar auction sales and this explains how sales of art in auction in 2011 have come back to the $31 billion level that they attained in 2007 after the dip in 2008/9/10. To put that in context, in the early nineties, sales were only in the hundreds of millions. We owe this current upsurge to the China and Asian markets. These figures comes from the cultural economist Clare McAndrew in a report for the European Fine Art Foundation. Sotheby’s just announced that sale in the May 2012 evening sale were $266,591,000.

How do those sales further break down? Peter Schjeldahl explains it in his New York article, All is Fairs. Modern and Contemporary art now accounts for 70% of art sold world wide. China then the US followed by the UK and a far fourth France are the nationalities that are buying. Half the sales happen in the auction houses like Christies and Sothebys but another $30 billion takes place in about 380,000 galleries and private dealers. Those two big figures, if you have not already done the math total over $60 billion a year in 2011.

I like this quote from Sarah Nicole Prickett in her article The rise and rise of the art fair in the Globe and Mail, “To see how art reaches the museum, the canon, you have to go to the fairs. I do not know if you can understand art without understanding the price of it. I suppose you could stick to an old-fashioned snob's dislike of art fairs, but that would be like eating meat, you know, without ever going to the butcher's shop.”

Private dealers do 31% of their business now in art fairs. Another quick calculation and you find a bit under $20 billion is spent for art at art fairs. Figures are not in for this year’s Frieze Art Fair at its first time in New York, but I think we can expect it to be over the $200 million that was made at the 2007 Frieze London. Amanda Sharp with and Matthew Slotover are the producers of the Frieze Art Fair and she says that 80 percent of the 45,000 visitors don’t buy art, but the arrival of this fair in the US heralds a change for New York. Although they had 10 other art fairs in March, none were on the scale or with the quality of Frieze.

Ann Berchtold who produced Art San Diego Contemporary Fair has followed the model of Frieze with focus on individual artists and specially curated spaces. The SD Art Prize at the fair is one very good example of this showcase of excellence. Last year, we managed for the first time with the help of sales of work by Adam Belt and Jay Johnson, to almost finance the prize for 2012.

You can see emerging artists nominated for the SD Art Prize at New Contemporaries V at Susan Street Fine Art Gallery opening on Thursday June 7th, 2012 from 6pm-9pm showing from June 2 to July 3, 2012
Shawnee Barton, Lauren Carerra, Noah Doely, Rob Duarte, Alexander Jarman, Anna Lavatelli, Lee M. Lavy, Ingram Ober, Vincent Robles, Deanne Sabeck, David Leon Smith, Brian Zimmerman
200 North Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075 More info: Melissa Stager 858.793.4442

You can see the SD Art Prize 2012 show at Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair Sept 6-9, 2012
Arline Fisch with emerging artist to be announced on June 7 and Jeffery Laudenslager with emerging artist to be announced on June 7, Balboa Park Activity Center, 2145 Park Boulevard, San Diego 92101

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Three Things You Can Do to Help the Art World

I was recently asked to be on a panel in El Cajon at Studio C Contemporary where artists, journalists, writers,university professors, critics, and business people discussed the role the arts play in bettering East County and its diverse population. The panel was mediated by Justin Hudnall, creator and leading operative of The Far East Movement. One question he asked was, “Do you think East County can host and support an art community?” My answer, in looking at the healthy crowd in attendance, was that it was already supporting an art community. I would rather see a “fake it til you make it” can do stance than the inferiority complex driven attitude that is still all to prevalent in SD. But having said that, here are three suggestions to challenge every reader into action. (you can watch the video of the panel at this link https://vimeo.com/41384166)

  1. More Curators: Commercial and University Galleries and Museums should hold, at least once a year, an open call for curators to propose exhibitions. I don’t mean artists submitting their work for showing or even grouping together with friends to show. I mean really interesting theme shows which showcase what happening here in the underground spaces and pop up galleries. Alexandra Moctezuma is open to these kinds of proposals at the Mesa Collage Art Gallery and the students from her Gallery case are often putting together exhibitions at other venues like Space4Art. She offers the only hands-on program in Museum Studies and Gallery Management. We need to encourage independent curators and I might as well put in a plug for more independent art critics as well.
  2. Traveling Exhibitions: Collaborations should be made to put together exhibitions so that each has at least two venues for display – North, East, South or Central. Making the effort to organize a really wonderful exhibition is wasted if it is not seen by more people. It makes sense to travel shows around the community especially when it take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half to get from North to South in our county. I miss lots of local events, as I do try to cover the whole county, but with fuel cost so high and public transportation so difficult, why not bring the art to the people. These collaborations would also help unite our community and I believe that is a strength that can produce more funding, more energy and more audience. Maybe this is happening somewhere in SD, but I have not noticed it.


  3. Artists Projects for Schools: Artists should be proactive in organizing art initiative for schools, especially those with under privileged students. We are excited that the Artist Teaching Institute is funded by the SD Foundation and should start in the fall. Bravo to Jennifer Oliver for working so diligently to enable more artists to be professionally trained to teach. But there are many spontaneous projects that could be happening as well. For example, take a look at Janet Cooling and her latest commission for the Harriet Tubman Charter School in the SDSU College Area. The glass mosaic painting will be 7’x19’ over the entrance of the school auditorium. She is paying for supplies herself plus fundraising by selling works from her own studio and SDSU students' art to fund this display which will add a level of creative energy to this school that almost looks like a prison.

    And speaking about funding, how about this new idea for SD called Pizza Parlay. Up until the Thursday before each Parlay, you can send proposals for creative projects that could use a bit of funding to raise them off the ground or to the next level. Pizza Parlay will take place one Sunday a month, usually the last. Parlay-goers will each receive a packet of proposals to review over pizza, and everyone will vote on site. Proceeds from the $12 per person cover donation will be granted to the winning proposal. The more people attend, the bigger the grant. Urbanistguide.com will announce the winner the Monday after the Parlay, and unlike most grants, winners will receive the award immediately. The locations vary each month but the next is Sunday April 29th, from 5-7pm at URBN Coal Fired Pizza & Bar 3085 University. At the last one $460 was awarded to Elias Sidney Blood won for a short film.

Artists every where should raise the bar and be challenged to make better art work…work that is challenging, exciting, emotionally saturated, honest, enlivening and reflective of our wishes and desires.

There are many who are taking the initiative and working on projects. Hats off to: Jolee Pink who started her own Encinitas Foodie Fest:to showcase artists and sustainability; Sandi Cottrell of Mission Federal Art Walk for giving student scholarships, this year to Stephanie Wang (SDVAN sponsorsthis with mentor training); toSherri Fox of Trios Gallery for transforming an Encinitas storefront into a mini Trios a Go Go; to SmartSpace Gallery a brand new ideato locate art in modern executive office suites; to Girl Fest San Diego at ArtLab Studios for providing a space for individuals to create avision of freedom; SixteenPlus One Art the first show ofa new space at the OnAssignment Studios and Gallery. These are just a few of the itemslisted in our RAW column for April.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

United Councils of San Diego?

I was lucky to be invited to a web conference for the California Arts Council (CAC). This is an organization that I know of especially for its advocacy role for funding art for the state. It turns out that their state budget allocation was cut from $40 million to $1 million. The one million was a concession to a matching NEA federal grant of $1 million. In other words if the state had not funded the CAC for $1 million they would have lost the $1 million from the federal NEA grant. Surprisingly, a huge percentage of the money raised for the CAC comes from the ARTS license plates and the largest city to buy those plates is San Diego. They raise $3.5 million this way and most of that goes to fund the artist residency programs to get art back in the state schools. Programs have to be 13 weeks long and a whopping 75% actually go to the artists! Yes, I was not surprised to hear this is way above average as in many cases it seems to be the reverse with 75% going to admin. Average is about 50%

I further found out during this exchange, that most counties have a recognized art council that can apply for fund form the CAC. But in the case of SD, we only have a city council, the Commission for Arts and Culture, which can apply for funds. And the Commission for Arts and Culture only serves the City of San Diego. We also have an independent, unrecognized by the CAC, SD Regional Coalition for the Arts. Any city council can be a member (SD, Encinitas, Escondido and Carlsbad are members), but the Coalition is mainly an advocacy organization and does not have anything to do with funding.

We do not have any umbrella group to which all the cities councils in our county belong at this time that I have discovered. If we want to have a County Arts Council it would need to be recognized by 3 out of the 5 SD County Board of Supervisors i.e. Chairman Greg Cox , District 1 , Vice Chairman Dianne Jacob, District 2 Pam Slater-Price (soon to retire, I am told) District 3, Ron Roberts District 4 Chairman and Bill Horn District 5 . There is not much funding that can be applied for, as the CAC total budget is only about $5.5 million. Besides the residency programs, there is money for operating expenses, technical assistance for disabled, support for low income and rural programs, and funding for programs that are collaborative between at least 3 geographically unconnected counties.

We are being asked to check the box on our income tax returns to give $1 to the arts for the CAC. If we want that to come to SD outside of the city funds, then a council needs to be formed and approved. So we struggle here in San Diego with the idea of a County-wide Arts Council. What would be its role? What funds would actually come its way if it did organize? Would a new non-profit need to be formed or would an existing one take on this role? Until the role of a regional arts council is determined, these are hard questions to answer. That role would certainly have to be determined by its members.

Our local cities have different names for those making decisions about the arts. There are art councils, commissions, committees but most are volunteers who are exclusively concerned with their own agendas. There must certainly be crossover concerns and there might be some united goals as well. This is only a worthwhile project if coming together is a win-win for all concerned. The recent envision project Show Your Love for SD funded by the SD Foundation announced results that the general population is ready for change and does want those in leadership roles to all work together and not be silo-ed with little or no inter-communication. I found this quite heartening.

But the real challenge of creating a united SD arts council is to do it in such a way that it is an administratively minimal financial obligation. If not, it is just one more drain on resources. The moment you ask for a membership fee or listing fee, you are in danger of disenfranchising part of the community. So are we technologically advanced enough to have a virtual arts council? If we see San Diego as an innovation capital, a virtual arts council would be a good way to prove it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thank you, Dennis Paul Batt

Thanks to Dennis for being one of the first people we met when we arrived in SD. I hear this story from so many people. Dennis helped people feel comfortable when they didn’t know anyone. He would come over and talk to them and introduce them to others. He was a self appointed ambassador for the arts.

Thanks to Dennis for his dedicated volunteerism. He would help hang a show, help make a website, help serve at the bar, help install a sculpture. If you wanted something done you could count on Dennis. He was always a reliable part of a team, with no ego, no need to have his name in lights. It was never about Dennis and always about the art.

Thanks to Dennis for his advice and console. He delighted in calling up to tell you a bit of gossip and you would end up telling him something in return. And in the course of the conversation, you might discover a solution or a different way of thinking about something. He was genuinely a creative thinker.

Thank you Dennis for taking the piss out of overbearing egoist and there are plenty of those in the art world. He railed against them, battled to rid the art world of them and sometimes he even won.

Thanks to Dennis for being that little devil that tempted us to naughty things. Even if we did not rise to the bait, it felt good to imagine doing so.

Thank you to Dennis for reminding us we never know how long we have and that we have to say thanks and I love you to those who matter to us.

There are not enough thank you’s and many of us feel we did not say thank you enough to this man who made us laugh and pull out our hair, who got so thrilled when he saw a new creation, who was working on an exciting new project and who died far, far too soon.

Thanks to Dennis Paul Batt for so many good, good years and for leaving us with all the connections he made for us to continue his quest to have the value of art truly recognized in our community.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Horizons in SD Art

I found myself making two speeches this month and in both the most important point was that old chestnut, why do we do this. Now I am no spring chicken and that means that I can cycle back to childhood and do things just for the fun of it. But I do have standards. My husband Darwin helped me to focus on the qualities that really attract us in any art work that we admire. We are looking for the excitement of break-though thinking and creation of the differences in perceived reality. We want a glimpse of new horizons, a view of what could be possible.

Many artworks will tell stories. Those stories will define in someway who we are, maybe in the past, maybe the present and hopefully in the future. I continue to be impressed with the quality of art we are now seeing in San Diego. The standard is getting higher and higher agrees Karen McGuire the curator of the William D. Cannon Art Gallery in Carlsbad. On view right now is the 2012 Invitational Exhibition, and McGuire admits it was hard to make a choice of just five from the juried show held last year.

Robert Ecker's paintinga were a favorite of Darwin especially the landscapes right at the entry. I also found these the best of his works as they seem to have focus and purpose which some of the other composition lacked. The technical ability of all the artists was very, very high but that is not the reason that we see such an improvement in the works in the last 15 years. SD artists were always capable of craftsmanship.

Becky Guttin (assemblage) created a field of strange and compelling shapes mainly on stems of metal and using gourds lined with metal filings. She is revisited these shapes that we first saw a while ago. The real revelation is when she groups them together and used her hand to vibrate the stems. All of a sudden we were transported from a desert landscape to an underwater bed of waving seaweed. I just wish that the works could move on their own so everyone could experience what we saw on the night of the opening.

Roy Jenuine (sculpture) Robert Nelson (drawing) both have stories to tell and allow our imaginations to fill in the blanks although we are directed by the visuals. Jenuine’s small figures holding on to picnic tables in gale force winds generated by drawn desk fans are charming. When grouped with figures in a variety of yoga-like positions all divided into display boxes, or a surfer and his surf board on a pulley with an elaborate water wheel, or a series of dogs of all sizes, we feel we are let into the world of an acute observer of life. Nelson continues his series of finely drawn characters seemingly from his dream world and we enjoyed another chance to see his work which is represented by Noel Baza. Nelson was one of our emerging artists from New Contemporaries III exhibition.

Sasha Koozel Reibstein (ceramics) has her own pharmacological lab in a kiln and has produced capsules for every possible malady. We see them not only suspended but embedded in what looks like body inners. For some reason these look rather pleasant and even humorous but there is a darker novel brewing here.

These artist are only just five of the wonderful talent that is developing in our community. Watch for the show in June of New Contemporaries now in its fifth year and all nominated by art professionals like Karen McGuire.

P.S. You still have time to see the wonderful overstuffed, radically shaped and exquisitely finished works of Lila Jang at Lux Art Institute. Ms. Jang’s misfortune of not being able to travel to SD from Korea is a benefit for us in that Kim MacConnel and Paul Henry have worked in the Lux studio during her show and their work is on display as well until March 3.