Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

State of the Arts 2010 -The Future of Art Publications

I believe that Art is the beginning of change. There are always other ways of seeing, thinking, acting, being. There is more than one reality and of course, more than one choice. So I set out to ask my art writing colleagues Seth Combs contributing to San Diego CityBeat, Keli Dailey stirring things up at SignOnSanDiego, Kevin Freitas posting on Art As Authority (read his entire article on this subject) resident art critic Robert Pincus writing for Union Tribune about the future of art publications and what they see on the horizon of this industry.

Do people read about art in depth any more?

It seems like we are all being bombarded by words on the internet. We assume that the attention span of the young is limited to 300 words at a time so fundamental to this discussion are the reading habits of the future.

Keli Dailey reminds us that you have “…. to see a lot of good art to recognize the limitations of not-so-good art, and this swallowing and absorption of the good vitamins makes your eyes stronger.”

Robert Pincus has faith that “…people want to read good writing about art. My evidence for the continuing viability of informed and passionate art criticism is anecdotal.” as he gets comments sent to him regularly about his column.

“The writing needs to be succinct with less art jargon, treating the reader with respect and realizing that the audience has a multitude of choices…” is Seth Combs take on this question.

Kevin Freitas takes a contrasting view, “As we become increasingly “plugged in” our capacity to reflect and ponder upon the information received decreases – including how art is viewed and understood.” He thinks that the coffee table book may be replaced by the Kindle, but “artist blogs and pod casts will not be the knock-out punch to the jaw of movable type.”

The overriding sentiment here seems to be as Pincus states “…..nothing can replace the value of keen insights about art, no matter how they are delivered.”

Are websites the future of publications or do they also have to organize events, curate show, etc?

As the coordinator of a website directory that has morphed into a media publication with calendar, and events promotions, I wondered how traditional publications are using their websites and how some journal websites are surviving.

Combs states that "local publications that are exclusively art oriented have more problems than nationals art periodicals.” CityBeat has a wider remit and covers news, food, nightlife, etc. But size of the editorials at CityBeat are not dependant on advertising generated by the arts as the “publisher recognize that culture adds value to the publication.” Of course, three people with an online blog can survive, but would they be able to progress and reach full potential? Small local online publication, like Latent Print and Sezio are screening movies, supporting poetry readings, combining music with art displays.

Dailey recommends Arts Journal as one of the few profit-turning and highly trafficked online arts publications. I personally get my art daily from Art Daily right now.

Pincus believes “…that print publications will survive, with online dimensions continuing to expand their scope into a range of media. But new publications may opt not to appear in print at all. More importantly, though, it's always the quality of the coverage that will matter most. The liveliness and lucidity of the writing will set one daily, weekly, magazine and site apart from another. For audio or video reporting, it is the perceptiveness of an interview or the excellence of the footage that is vital”

Freitas applauds the rise of self published volumes, which “give artists the freedom and luxury to get the word out at a minimal cost.” He recommends LA based Coagula Art Journal , now in its 17 th year.

e-Flux which began in 1999 as an exhibition in a hotel has become “state of the art” officially with its recognition of Anton Vidokle/e-flux, Julieta Aranda & Brian Kuan Wood on the top most powerful people list of Art Review Magazine. (See the whole list in our revised Smart Collector article). e-Flux can be described as a collective, a school, an archive, an advocacy source, a journal, a gallery in Manhattan and a gathering place for projects to incubate and mature. e-Flux even auctions and markets artwork.

Frieze is a magazine published 8 times a year, a very successful art fair held in London in October and a non-profit foundation responsible for the curated program at the fair, including artist commissions, talks, films, music and education. The Foundation is funded by the European Commission and Arts Council England. Perhaps our own Beyond the Borders International Art FairSDVAN/SD Art Prize is already the non-profit organization associated with this fair. will develop into a publication.

Are there still movements and if not how do we define contemporary arts?

Everywhere I look combined, collaged, collaborated and bigger than life art is prevalent. How do you get a handle on that all encompassing media assault? And how can we use geography to define art where the World Wide Web makes us all one?

Robert Pincus says he has, “…never felt it to be any less exciting to be a critic in a post-movement era. Art, whether collaborative or made in isolation, is always rooted in the strength of its vision and convictions. Art that grips us and surprises us will always appear.”

Keli Dailey believes there are movements. “ Lowbrow is a movement and there are many micro-movements, which might become major, but the very nature of contemporary art is to morph, and not be static. It overlaps and borrows and competes and revises and reassembles and destroys and sounds intellectually muscular when it tosses the word “postmodernism” around like an ‘ol pigskin.”

Seth Combs is hopeful that the new Space4Art Barrio Logan/ East Village art complex will provide a local geography for “…more interdisciplinary, interactivities and cross pollination of ideas.” He feels that North Park never reached that maturity before the rents went up and the artists moved on. Today’s artists must speak, write and publish in city centers, which are the main ingredient to making that soup from which great art emerges.

For Kevin Freitas, “The problem is everyone is talking and no one is listening or even commenting. And while artists might upload their work to the internet in an effort to circumvent dwindling exposure in traditional press sources, it is actually hurting them. The idea that art speaks to everyone has just gotten harder to hear over the din of a thousand invisible voices competing on the same computer platform. In the end, the only cure for the arts and its exposure is to keep a copy of the painting you’re standing in front of, firmly imprinted in your mind’s eye.”

However, e-Flux has just published a collection of blog threads which they see as the natural developing direction of visual art writing. Could it be that blog topics will emerge and self define categories of interest? Some of the chapter heading include: Politics of Installation (Boris Groys), Is a Museum a Factory? (Hito Steyerl), and Art in the Knowledge-Based Polis (Tom Holert).

My advice is to choose a variety of websites and writers to follow and remain loyal so as not to confuse yourself. If you get bored there are obviously plenty of choices so keep your eyes open and your finger on the search button. Finally, remember to keep those comments coming as this is one of your ways to actually affect the future and make sure that next year 400 more publications do not bite the dust.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

London and Venice, 2009

The essence of a trip should be definable. So much content is difficult to organize but here is my summary of some of the trends I saw and observations I made during an exceptionally art-filled month in Europe.

A. New techniques abound with installation art attracting the most attention. Artists are stretching to use technology and seem to be having fun….remembering that they do not just create to make money. There was often an “anything goes” festivity about the work we saw. Boundaries are being pushed and artists are resisting strict categorizations by media. I have a theory this is due to our exposure to UTube and the multi media savvy of youth. A simple image or object is not enough to gratify desire any longer. We want entire environments which somehow encompass us and give us a total sensory experience. Video art is often dull and slow in comparison with the cinema. It may be cheap to transport, but no one has found a good way to show it at a fair or biennial. I suggest a relaxation lounge, with wonderful seats for those who are tired, where all the videos are shown on demand. Too bad there was not an art channel on the 10 hour airline trip overseas.

At the Ca’ d’Oro in Venice, Fabrizio Plessi has undoubtedly the most incredible room with tiled floor and spectacular windows to display his beautifully constructed set of boats with video clips of running water surging on the top of each one.

B. Cliques do exist and there are artists who are being promoted over and over, while emerging artists still struggle to be seen. Young artists, however, have the advantage of being able to make their own websites to promote their work. At the end of the week-long Free Art Fair at London’s Barbican in Oct 2009 (now in its third and final year) all the works are given away for free. Does this undermine the market price? If people get it for free, will they start to expect all art to be free all the time? Or is this a clever strategy to build audience by helping future patrons to experience owning the works? C. American art is still very strongly represented in London and Venice. The John Baldessari exhibition and Andy Warhol in Pop Life: Art in a Material World at the Tate Modern, Ed Ruscha at the Hayward, Bruce Nauman at the American Pavillion at the Venice Biennial and Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture at the Saatchi Gallery.

Kristin Baker, (left) The Raft Of Perseus, was a work made with collaged hand painted torn paper on canvas. These works really stuck with me and reminded me of Allison Renshaw, who is local painter and has a stunning work in the Quint show at CCAE. Here is a solution to those who say they can not afford the art that they see in big galleries. You can buy local which might be more affordable. Paul Lee, (right) Untitled (Can Sculpture) created this series of cans with faces and lenses and I immediately thought of Tom Driscoll’s smashed bottles on show at the L Street Gallery for the SD Art Prize. You can also see Tom’s work at CCAE and even buy for $8 one of his fridge magnets, which is not a reproduction but a real miniature work of art.D. Fairs like Frieze Art Fair and Biennials are still the easiest way to see art from all over the world in just a few hours or days. The galleries are now concentrating more on the work of one artist or one genre to make a stronger showing in their booths and pavilions and this is a relief to the eye and more of an education. During the Frieze fair in London, there are an enormous number of satellite shows and major exhibitions in museums and galleries opening to take advantage of the audience that Frieze attracts.

SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution at Somerset House was the most amazing eye opener for me. This project is the brain child of Nick Knight who is mainly concerned with showing fashion shoots as a process deserving of film documentation. In this exhibition, he has done much more. He shows the process of creation, he allows us to see the actual performance of the shot and he encourages participation in many inventive ways. In the photo above you see Naomi Campbell (left) times three and three times as large as real life. I was able to go to a computer board, choose my color and size of pen and my drawings were projected on this huge colossus. The sculpture was made with the latest technology from triple exposure photo converted in to 3-D data and digitally carved. I got so many ideas from this show and hope we can utilize much of what is happening in London for our Art Meets Fashion project in 2010/11. I loved the prints of lips on glass that were signed and displayed…..maybe our VIP’s can do a similar stunt at the next Movers and Shakers show.
Anish Kapoor (middle) at Royal Academy was by far my favorite exhibition on this trip. Take a look at the firing of the cannon video. By the end of the show the room will be filled with red oily wax and I found this both a strangely exciting and silly experience. Henry Darger (right) at the Museum of Everything shows outsider art works by people who are compelled to create. Many are mentally “challenged” or even institutionalized.

Origin is a two part fine craft fair held at Somerset House. Fenella Elms makes these impossibly delicate porcelain images on the left. The cross over from Fine Craft to Fine Art was evident in this show. I think it is time we had a similar fair in San Diego and we intend to encourage that at SDVAN. I enjoyed the Pavilion of Art & Design London at Berkeley Square especially for the Artist’s Jewels at Didier Antiques (center) because of our Little & Large promotion of sculptors/jewelers. I loved Vincent Dubourg’s (right) deconstructed cabinet from Carpenter Workshop Gallery …click the link to see other terrific works by him.

E. The art market in Europe is not that different than in the USA i.e. shrinking money for grants and from collectors, but galleries are numerous and art fairs and biennials are still thriving. Art still has the power to transform a landscape and the economy of an area. The Venice Biennial has expanded to include its garden setting, a larger warehouse nearby and 44 displays in the city. If you are like me and have known about the Biennial all your adult life, you have certain expectations of the quality of the work being of the highest. But over the years, this has become just one more semi annual art venue, so I had to get over my disappointment quickly and realize that this is a mixed bag of art. Some are outstanding; others are lack luster and even seemed unfocused.

When we reached Making World pavilion, it was Galaxies forming along filaments, like droplets along the strands of a spider's web (left) by Tomas Saraceno that was a show stopper. It filled an entire large room and I felt like a thief crossing a laser protected safe room getting from one side to the other. A long series of turntables with a very odd assortment of found objects (right) was made very special because of the lighting, shadows and motion created. Take a look at the video of Hans-Peter Feldman’s Shadow Play.

The photo (left) is just to give you an idea of why you should watch the video link to Paul Chan’s sexy, funny shadows projected on the rough brick wall. Giacomo Costa’s photo montage Private Garden (center and right) engulfs you on both sides of a walk way of light boxes, but it is only on close observation that you see this digital masterpiece is all collaged and not a natural setting at all.

A terrible cliché, but it is good to travel and good to return. A first week at home showed that SD has as much to offer as any major city in the world. I highly recommend Untitled the movie about the art world now playing in Hillcrest. And I recommend even more strongly the Tara Donovan art exhibition at the Downtown MCASD through February.

I wrote a 30 pages diary of a month’s coverage, and edited it down by taking out all the notes on friends and food. If you want to see more details and photos of this trip please read the 18 page PDF of this trip.. I hope this tempts you to make your own commitment to see more art in the near future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Meet the Press, Sept 26, 2009. Panel discussion moderated by Kevin Freitas from Art as Authority at Art Produce Gallery as part of Agitprop: David White's Brain Trust.

You can
see the video of this panel discussion on UTube posted by Kevin Frietas. Kevin and Philly Joe Swendoza did a further discussion of the evening and you can hear that on this link if you click on Viagra Needed for San Diego Arts Press Corps? on Art Rocks! Internet radio.

What follows are solely my written answers to the questions asked by Kevin Freitas that evening. Other panelist were Keli Dailey from
SignOnSanDiego, Pam Kragen from North County Times, Seth Combs from San Diego CityBeat

What is your current diagnostic of the state of health of the arts coverage here in San Diego? (What would you prescribe as a remedy?)

High grade fever of expectations, sperm count is too low. Viagra needed.

How do you proceed and decide what to cover? (Give me one good reason why we should cover the arts at all?)

Art needs to be mystified and demystified. We need to create wonder. We also need to give people a handle on a way to approach art. At SDVAN we chose writers who make a choice for our Picked RAW feature and they then write in Picked RAW Peeled a report on what they have chosen and seen. We ask that they commit to 6 months of Picks in order to develop their own voice. We also ask them to write in a way that the man on the street can understand.
Do you have a target audience that you write for? What is the most effective way to reach that audience? For example, as purely informational (who, what, where, when) or is there a larger goal?Our target audience is those who have never bought art before. They are graduating from Art Walk to Ray at Night to Open Studios to buying their first art work. We are still working on the most effective way to get to them, but we believe they are young and computer literate.

As newspapers and their readership shrink, are sold and re-bought, their advertising dollars shrinking (from what we hear in the press) and the push to put the news on the web, with video and breaking news reporters a la CNN, etc: Has the art press shrunk as well, or is this an opportunity to develop and reach a larger public? How has it affected you as a writer?

I was paid to write free lanch in England for a Middle Eastern Magazine and have a history of connection with writers (I was previously married to the terrorist expert and defense correspondent for the London Sunday Times). I wrote a book of advice for Artists. I write tons of copy (A+ Art Blog on anything I am feeling, Art Resource articles, press releases, an annual newsletter from London and state of the arts) so I have been forced to think of myself as an art writer. It took me three years before I really thought of SDVAN as media source. To me the art writing world just gets bigger and bigger. Sometimes it threatens to take over my life. But if you curate and create, you almost have to write as well. But I have almost no idea who reads what I write and I see that as the biggest possible future change. Could comments left by readers be the new score card for advertisers replacing subscription numbers?
How can we improve the arts coverage here?We need to constantly encourage more writing. Ideally, there would be one place (i.e. website) where an audience could go to link to all the articles that are available by local writers on local visual artists. We need to use art writers to educate art buyers.

What do you think makes for outstanding arts writing?

There is no substitute for text which is well written with no art speak. We should be able to see the personality/prejudice of the writer and identify those we trust. But the most important thing to me is that the article should make the readers want to go and see the work for themselves.

I am including below a small teaser about my trip to London….a full art report will come to you in November about London and Venice.

Anish Kapoor at Royal Academy was by far my favorite exhibition so far on this trip. (click the link “view exhibition photos). Take a look at the firing of the cannon video. By the end of the show the room will be filled with wax and I found this both a strangely exciting and silly experience. Kapoor gives us a once in a life time sensuous experience of cherry red lacquer and gooey oil and wax and ultra shiny surfaces that distorted the room and those in it. It is monumental in scale especially a large H.G. Wells type construction of massive rusted steel which might have been a cross between a time machine and submarine hull with lovely curves and seductive opening. I don’t think I can do justice to describing the giant train-like object that ran on rails blocking five huge gallery spaces and appearing to squeeze through three doorways leaving trails of red wax and oil everywhere. The giant depression in the wall which was a very pure yellow was phenomenal…a Zen experience which was on a level with his first powdered pigment pieces. A few of these were on show and were very disappointing. I don’t know if they were just bad versions or if he has moved on so far from these that they just seemed rather pathetic. I think it might be my first impression of the mirror balls as you come into the courtyard of the Royal Academy that will stick with me (and is the new wallpaper on my cell phone). I was most impressed with the Royal Academy for letting him do major construction and destruction to their rooms. No photo can do them justice. You have to experience them to feel their grandeur. London is all a buzz about this show and it is the one thing everyone agrees you should not miss. Plan a trip to London by Dec 10 if you possibly can.

I also want to mention the Charette held Sept 11-13 held at the New School of Architecture by
Synergy Arts Foundation for Affordable Work/Live Space For Artists & Arts Organizations. I received a complete report on this from Naomi Nussbaum. The first 120 participants were divided into 16 groups to discuss development of the nine sites. On day 2, 40 people continued to develop these ideas and they made presentations with sketches, floor plans etc. on day 3. Finally all the participants were asked to give five goals for Work/Live spaces and a master list of these was compiled. They range from Community centers to community outreach to building design to personal space to finance and include lots of miscellaneous information as well. Hopefully the full report and results will be available for all to see soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beyond the Borders International Art Fair

In my youth, I was an art dealer on the international scene attending art fairs representing a gallery I ran in London. Memories of those days flooded back as I entered the Beyond the Borders International Art Fair. When you go to this sort of fair you are able to walk up and down the isles covering thousands of miles with just a few steps. We held court in our booth for the SD Art Prize and SDVAN, made valuable introductions, advised collectors on purchases and spotted talent. There was a buzz in the air that this was the place to be on the opening night. Our wish is that our county can support an international fair on a regular basis and there was a tangible optimism Sept 2-4, 2009 that that might be possible.

True to the title of the fair, it was very exciting to see galleries represented outside of America.
Arte 256 Galeria from Tijuana displayed Alida Cervantes who continued her tradition of portraits like the one she did of Jean Lowe for our Movers and Shakers project. Tomas Rivas who has delighted us at the Lux showed with ACG from Chile. Tania Candiani (New Contemporaries) showed with Sumo Arte We were thrilled with the work of Rodrigo Echeverri from KBK. We know one of his paintings of super realistic red bricks sold during the fair to a local collector. Both those galleries are located in Mexico City.

Sales are one of the big things that make an art fair exciting. The pressure is on our local collectors to buy while the work is on location. The fair attracted lots of visitors (from LA and Orange County mainly) who also felt the need to decide before the day’s end.

The Bird Project of the
Paint Night Group sold numerous small works and we were pleased to hear that at least one of Matt Divine’s sculptures also sold during the show. Sales were also reported from the Art of Photography booth. I discovered a new artist Stephen Foss represented by Julie Nester Gallery out of Park City, Utah. (an impressive piece was acquired by a La Jolla doctor).

Iana Quesnell’s (
SD Art Prize) exquisite drawing of a fully loaded lace table seating graced the stage. Eric Phleger Gallery (newest addition to the art scene in Leucadia) showed Raul Guerrero (SD Art Prize) and Ed Moses side by side. The Klines’ Peaces was a special exhibit with work recently shown at CCAE.

Representing La Jolla,
Galeria Jan launched Taylor Marie Prendergast, a highly talented and very young local painter. Madison Gallery featured Luc Leestemaker who was present to sign his book. CJ Gallery from downtown SD, hung the huge tea bowl series by Hoon Kwak.

The fair for me was a combination of exhaustion and exhilaration. With an incredible team of volunteers, including
Alexandra Rosa, Dave Ghilarducci, Deborah Francis, Carol Beth Rodriguez, Rosemary KimBal, Kay Colvin, Lisa Van Herik, Virginia Lukei, Tania Alcala, Michele Guieu, and Silvia Valentino Karabashlieva, we greeted over 3000 collector, artists, and art professionals. This mighty band informed all those that attended about our efforts at SDVAN. Our SD Art Prize stand looked magnificent with the works of Kim MacConnel, Brian Dick and May-ling Martinez. The hotel and grounds are delux and the staff of the hotel and the organizers of the fair including Ann Berchtold and Julie Schraeger did a super job. This was a first class operation and most of the leading lights of the art world in San Diego were present.

My recommendation is to save your money, stay close to home, no airfare and no hotel bills. Instead, buy local. Just to be contrary, my next blog will be from London for the Frieze Art Fair and Venice for the Biennial. But after all someone has to spread the word about art in SD.

Patricia Frischer

Davie Hickey gave a lecture at the
Beyond the Borders International Art Fair and you can read a report on it in our SmART Collector: Ask the Art Critic: Dave Hickey feature.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Interpersonal Theory of Art

Interpersonal Theory of Art: Little & Large community phenomenon and the museum exhibition, Calder Jewelry at SDMA
by Patricia Frischer Coordinator,

The weather may be hot most of the time in San Diego but we are all out in the cold without each other. Our Little & Large gathering created a palpable energy. You can almost see sparks of creativity flying through the air. This interaction is what we hunger for and our art is the food that ultimately satisfies us.

I went to two major launches for Alexander Calder last month. One was our own Little & Large launch where 450 artists and art supporter came together at the glamorous Se Hotel. The other was for about 250 VIPs invited to celebrate the opening of the Calder Jewelry show at the San Diego Museum of Art. I have pondered about the differences in the two occasions. I have also been wondering about the huge involvement that Little & Large engendered.

Those who are rich and maybe even a bit bored are drawn to the Bohemian chic created by artists. It was an impressive group who attended the Calder opening at SDMA. The staff worked very hard with stilt walkers, acrobats and gourmet food and drink, but only a few artists were invited. Ultimately it was the Calder jewelry itself that brought us together that night. The jewelry that this man created starting early in the 20th century, is starkly modern even today. Whimsical, royal, clever, adoring adornments seem to erupt from him and we are still happy to ogle 90 years later.

At the Little & Large launch the artists were present in droves and wearing their own creations. Professional models enhanced the work of just a few, but many more were encouraged to strut their stuff on and off the catwalk. The clothes, the jewels, the open air moonlight, the aquamarine lights of the pool, the Veev vodka, the 20 foot high projections of the jewelry and related sculpture, the video performance turned into flip books, the sexy salsa demonstration all contributed. But it was the budding collaboration, connections and kinsman ship that turned the evening into a love fest.

Why did this simple idea to ask sculptors to make a piece of jewelry and jewelers to make a sculpture develop into this large promotion at this particular time? The artists were hungry to try something new. The galleries were keen to generate publicity, especially offered for free. That is what we counted on. We were already seeing the artists raising the quality bar of their work when challenged. Galleries are now able to work together as evidenced by joint art walks for example in North Park, Cedros Design, and Kettner. This momentum is now spreading to La Jolla, El Cajon, Oceanside and Carlsbad. These events have one major quality in common. They are all inclusive.

Could we finally be nearing a tipping point? We have everything going for us but buyers to support the work of all these dedicated professionals. The self confidence generated in promotions like Little & Large is, I believe, just what we need to take us over the top. Harry Stack Sullivan was a psychiatrist who developed a theory based on interpersonal relationships. His search for satisfaction via personal involvement with others, led him to characterize loneliness as the most painful of human experiences. Combining artists with art buyers means never having to be alone again.

Little & Large promotions and the San Diego Museum of Art Calder Jewelry exhibition are both on show until Jan 3, 2010.

Patricia Frischer Coordinator,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Little & Large Launch

San Diego Visual Arts Network presents Little & Large
Over 90 Artists creating a Sculpture and related Jewelry for display at 41 Venues County Wide
All venue details available on alphabetically by venue location and by artist.
Watch for
Little & Large near you through Dec, 2009
More info: 760.943.0148
CATALOG with images of the works is now available to download for free on SDVAN.
Little & Large Launch Slide Show of images from the Launch party at the Se Hotel by various photographers (John Liu, Bruce Meyer, Diane Graber) plus photos by Tom Wilson

The energy was incredible as the art world came together July 8, 2009 to celebrate over 90 artists working with 41 venues county wide to showcase over 200 art works. The
Se Hotel was the perfect venue for this gathering of 450 art aficionados. Surface and texture play a huge part in the glamour of the décor for the hotel as well as the jewelry sported by all the guests. Adornments were documented on site in NowFlipThis books. The professional and amateur runway shows on the transparent runway over the swimming pool added to the excitement (MCed by Philly Joe Swendoza from ArtRocks! ) as did the 20 foot high slide show of images from the extensive catalog. Eco-friendly cocktails courtesy of VeeV were served during the VIP part of this evening.

Some artists commented that this promotion heralded some of the most creative energy seen in SD. Jewelers were challenged to make a larger work of sculpture and some of our most macho sculptors came up with jewelry petite enough for the most discerning. Fancy a pair of concrete earrings, a bracelet that lights up, a kinetic necklace fanned out to reveal its colors like a peacock? All are available along with some of the most classic, intricate precious jewels you can imagine.

The concept of the show is so unusual that it is getting national press in Ornament Magazine and American Style. A collaboration on this scale is a boost to the confidence of the art world in SD and a shout out to the rest of the community that we are indeed, a cultural destination.

I have not been able to see all the shows yet, but the creative level of the work is extremely high. It is fascinating to see the relationship of the jewelry to the sculpture. In Solana Beach, Johanna Hansen at Trios Gallery made a sculpture which is a collage of all the jewelry she created and detachable for wearing. d. goth’s hearts have taken on brutal nail closures and the matching necklaces and practically punk. This is great interest already in the Susan Hirsch glass hanging. Lynne Merchant’s full size “Humaniquin” changes accessories almost daily. Dick Ditore’s incredible breast plate of glass is a show stopper at the Ordover Gallery.

Downtown, the show of Anne Wolf’s at Noel-Baza Fine Arts fills an entire room with intricate and elegant works including a tea pot poised for lift off. Jett Gallery surprised us by adding Zachary Allen (special concrete earrings), Josh Herman, Britt Neubacher, John Neumann and James Watts at the last minute. Colosseum Fine Art never looked better with jewelry displays making this space explode with a chance to see close up the woven works of Lisa Van Herik and Tara Magboo’s headpiece and a wealth of other treasures. The display at Mixture included necklaces that lights up by William Leslie and a wonderful broach by Matt Divine which is a true miniature of the matching sculpture. It is great fun to see the cascading mobile by blox.

The galleries in La Jolla gave us a stunning collar of glass by Tom Marosz at Hallmark which embodies the feeling of his matching glass sculptures. You can see Becky Guttin’s necklaces and bracelets both at Galleria Jan and at the SDMA Gift Store where the Calder show opens on July 25. Contemporary Fine Art showcases Les Perhac’s kinetic necklace which fans out its peacock colors on demand. Lisa Slovis Mandel is showing her line which already included both 2 and 3-D works but Alexandra Hart’s new crown shaped sculpture is a joy. Corrine Perez-Garcia made her first foray into larger scale cast bronze work and was able to translate to perfection her sweeps and undulations. Carolyn Guerra at the Madison Gallery utilized the outside space to it’s best advantage with her tall double sided columns whose faces are repeated on her ceramic necklaces. Viviana Lombrozo holds on to her memories but allows them to transform into a take away necklace in her combined piece at Art Expressions Gallery.

Whatever you do, don’t miss Denise Bonaimo’s game piece dresses and accessories at the Bonita Museum and SD Art Department. I have not been able to see the five venues in El Cajon yet and Debbie Solan is showing at Fusionglass as well at the Timmons Galleries in Rancho Santa Fe with room divider sized panels.

I can’t wait to see Planet Rooth and Matthew Cirello in his own space in North Park and I am intrigued by what looks like rubber works by Mary Donald at Pigment all in North Park. Richard Keely at Velo Cult has made a necklace from plastic cups but transformed them into a miracle material. My schedule includes visits to Adorn Gallery and Bread on Market (Thomine Wilson) downtown and the GIA in Carlsbad with stops at the Solana Beach City Hall Gallery, Andrews Gallery, Front Porch Gallery, 101 Art and Soul and the OMA on the coast and four fabulous venues inland north, Escondido Art Partnership, Distinction, Par Jewelry and the Fallbook Art Center (don’t miss this one if you have not been there…the space is amazing)

I wish I could have seen them all by now, but I will do my best and welcome anyone to join me as I tour around the county. I am sorry not to mention each and every one of the artists with my impressions. Hopefully, some of you will write in and we can spread the word with first hand experiences of these exception works created at a most unusual time of collaboration and expansion for the visual arts in San Diego.

I have enormous appreciation of the hard work by all these artists to create works for this promotion, for the galleries to showcase them, for the volunteers that helped make it all possible. Now it is up to the public to make the effort to see and support our home grown talent while it is in season and at its peak.

Patricia Frischer

Some spaces are showing only a few artists but we want to draw your attention to the following spaces where you will see Little & Large exhibitions with 5 or more artists: Adorn Gallery, Colosseum Fine Arts, Mixture, Jett Gallery, San Diego Art Department, Sophie’s Art Gallery, Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery and Gemological Institute Of America. There are also grouping of venues in North Little Italy (NoLI), La Jolla, El Cajon, North and South Park, Solana Beach, and Escondido.

This promotion is inspired by the
Calder Jewelry exhibition at San Diego Museum of Art beginning July 25, 2009 until Jan 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Little & Large: Jewelry and Sculpture

LIttle & Large Introductions by Patricia Frischer

The San Diego Visual Arts Network in a joint collaboration of 41 venues from Fallbrook to Coronado has challenged almost 100 local artists, both sculptors and jewelers, to work in both mediums in homage to Alexander Calder. When I heard the announcement about Calder Jewelry, the light bulb went on almost immediately as I thought about how this artist had created his stunning sculptures but also made over 1800 pieces of jewelry. Why not ask local sculptors to make a piece of jewelry? Then naturally, we must give that same chance to local jewelers by asking them to create a sculpture. I had no idea this seemingly simple concept would be so embraced by the art community.

We have asked each artist (either a sculptor or a jeweler) to make both a work of sculpture and a piece of jewelry just like Alexander Calder made both jewelry and sculpture. We have asked each to write a few words about that relationship. We are giving artists the opportunity and challenge to work in another medium, if they are not already doing so. The artists are not partnered together...they all work independently and they show their two works side by side. Some artists have been asked to show a number of these combinations at their venues and a few are showing at more than one place.

As coordinator of the SDVAN I saw many immediate benefits for our organization. It is our first county wide promotion, thus giving us wider exposure than ever before. We made collaborations with a new set of volunteers, artists, art galleries, and museum shops. We also received masses of new listings on the site from those resources as well as on our mailing list. We are asking for a 5% voluntary donation for any work sold during the promotion to help raise funds for our future projects.

“Many artists are delighted to have found new venues for their work to help boost their careers and hopefully their pocketbooks” as stated by our La Jolla coordinator Lisa Van Herik. Some of the jewelers are being validated as artists as this is the first show for them in art galleries and not shops. The sculptors are getting a chance to create jewelry which might possibly have a better market than larger works during the current economic market. We have found that many sculptors are welcoming this opportunity to make smaller wearable works at this time when large pieces are more challenging to place. Also jewelers are embracing the idea of making larger works which don't need to be wearable; thereby helping them cross over and break down the boundaries between art and craft.

The venues are being exposed to new artists and by joining such a large collaboration are getting greater exposure and the possibility of a new audience. This is an opportunity to come together and present a united front and draw more attention to the visual arts. Besides the official launch at the Se Hotel at least four major areas of town ( El Cajon, North Park, Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, and La Jolla) are able to feature these artists during their monthly Art Walks. Many are having private openings as well as giving up to three special evenings to celebrate and promote themselves and the artists. That makes over 50 opportunities to gather and network. SDVAN with its 3-4000 visitors a month and over one million hits a year gives tremendous coverage to these events.

I hope we are giving the art patrons who might be happy to buy a piece of jewelry a way to relate to sculpture and to expand their concepts of art. And for those feeling the pinch right now, hasn’t artful jewelry always been reasonably affordable portable sculpture? One of the largest challenges for SDVAN is to try to create more art collectors in our region. This county-wide promotion will help art buyers to find art close by and hard to resist these tempting displays.

I personally am very pleased about all the special works that have been created just for this promotion. I get so excited when I am in the proximity of good art. Plus, I love a good party with many individual venue receptions and our group launch everyone will be given a chance to
Party with the Art Stars.

Patricia Frischer is a founding member and coordinator of the
San Diego Visual Arts Network, Frischer has taken on the roles of gallerist, curator, writer, teacher, website coordinator and artist. Her many metamorphoses make it difficult to fit her into any of the usual art world categories. She is author of The Artist and the Art of Marketing and has lectured extensively on marketing for artists. She is a trainer of artists’ agents, art dealers, consultant and collectors. Her own art work ( has been shown internationally and her most recent one person show was at Oxford University and The Mesa College Art Gallery.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Recycling Buzz

Sometimes the universe just seems to speak to you and this month everywhere I turned, it was about recycling.

The seeds were planted when a new friend
Felena Hanson invited me to Recyle/Reuse , which was a business networking opportunity focused on green practices in the fashion industry. At this event there was a clothing and accessories swap, an amateur styling competition, and a speaker to discuss green fabrics & practices in the fashion industry.

That reminded me of the work of
Thomine Wilson who is working as a volunteer for the Little & Large promotion and doing a splendid job in El Cajon organizing the galleries there to participate. Wilson herself works with people who have recently experienced a loss and takse mainly costume jewelry from the loved ones to create either a new piece of adornment or a sculptural piece. These become family keepsakes.

Jan Phillips tells us that she sold jewelry from Liberia made out of recycled coke bottles at the Foundation for Women's microcredit fundraiser. They made $3000 for the Liberian craftswomen and over $50,000 for microcredit loans to women in San Diego and Liberia.

Early in May, there was a one day exhibit Vortex Plastique of art made from recycled plastiques at the
Oceanside Museum of Art. This project was in conjunction with Mira Costa College.

Coming up is a juried show in Encinitas at the new library called Reuse, Reinvent, Recycle. This is part of the Encinitas Civic Art Program organized by
Jim Gilliam. Eighty-five percent of the work has to be made from recycled material.
ART Produce Gallery & ART@theCORE are working together to put on a show Voices: Mapping the Hood which has a special audience participation project - OurSpace/Creative Exchange. The public was asked to bring an object small enough to fit into a plastic baggie. Each was labeled with a name and message. Once the exhibition opened all those participating were invited to come in and choose an object to call their own. This show continues until June 28.

Coming up on June 6 at the
Garage is a project to encourage people to give up things. Give Some, Take Some from noon to 8 pm (4141 Alabama Street #4, 6192976032 You can give services or objects. After you have offered up this gift, you are free to pick out one for your own if you like.

Jim Yuran of Ego-Id is looking for an artist(s) who makes recycled art, preferably out of paper, for an exhibit/open house at one of San Diego’s premier printing companies ( The facility is absolutely beautiful and it will showcase the art to many of the top designers and marketing people in the city, as well as business decision makers. The opening is July 24 but they need to make selections soon so contact them soon: 619.283.1210

We even heard from
Doug Simay that the Deborah Butterfield show at LA Louver had three small abstractions of assembled metal waste to compose her famous horses. He thought they were best of the show.

What do I make of this? Is recycling now sexy? Are our lives changes forever more? Well, collages and assemblages are recycled art that goes way back. Painters have been working over old canvases for ages and not just to save money, but often to blot out bad art. So this is probably just a re-branding exercise for the art world. But for the world at large, I think it might be a coming of age thing. Going green is now a corporately acceptable, even enviable activity. If the art world can cash in on this, I say, go for it. And if we can all get by with less buying right now, we might re-discover other values that are important in our lives.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Economic Realities, May 2009

We are seeing massive cut backs in public funding for the arts. Staff is being let go and projects are going on hold or reduced. Museum hours are reduced and there are concessions on prices in an attempt to draw people back to these venues. Certainly, in the private section, not many are buying art now. But what we do notice is a huge surge in the outreach by commercial galleries to stimulate the market place. Galleries, both sales and non-profit, are well attended, at least at opening receptions as people seek a place to gather and talk. There are more art walks and open studios than ever before.

There is the new La Jolla First Friday Art Walk, the three open nights in North Park, the Downtown Art Walk, Kettners Nights, Mission Federal Art Walk, Cedros Art Walk (April 25/26)…you can see a whole list in our
ongoing art events feature including about 20 monthly events and 33 yearly events and that does not include 14 annual juried exhibitions and a selection of 7 monthly ongoing juried shows. Most sales galleries change their shows monthly or every 6 weeks and that is true for University and school galleries as well. The Beyond the Border International Contemporary Art Fair scheduled for Sept 2-4 is 80% sold out.

There is a huge effort made by artists and galleriest to be involved in these events. They continue to pay for booths and entrance fees, frame work, feed and water the guest and even supply live performances to entertain the audience. But in a nutshell, the difference between a thriving cultural capitol and San Diego is that we simply do not have enough buyers to make an art career viable to the artists. If the artists sold masses of art, no one would complain of the charges for art fairs or for juried show. If people bought, art galleries would thrive and there would be year round places to buy art not just the art walks/fairs which are abounding. The art walks could take their rightful place as an introduction to the man on the street to art, which is what they do very well right now, giving huge exposure to masses of talent.

This month, besides attending the opening for the SD Art Prize 2009 recipients Kim MacConnel and Brian Dick at the L-Street Gallery, I visited the UCSD open studios graduate exhibition and I really enjoyed myself. I like the Elizabeth Mehrmand with her bed...when you laid on it a motion detector started a video in back of you on the wall with her nude image repeating how much she loved me. Just terrific and she is a first year student! I was also taken by Merve Kayan videos and James Enos' incredible architecture sculptures. It was good to see Yvonne Vennegas and Omar Pimienta (SD Art Prize artists). These students seem to have no interest in sales in the ivory tower of academia. Most have no websites yet and don’t even have a calling card. I remember my carefree university days. But it was rather delicious to sell a random color study even back then. Now I am proud of my hard won knowledge of the art market.

Reality comes hard and fast these days, but I am still optimistic about how much we can change the market during these times of economic stress. We have 40 venues and over 70 artists participating in the
Little & Large promotion. We are planting seeds of desire. When the money starts flowing again, we will be ready.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seven Volunteer Inspired Visual Arts Projects

Seven Volunteer Inspired Visual Arts projects

On Feb 8, 2009 a brainstorming session was held during the SDVAN meeting Our approach to this brainstorming session was different than the “blue sky” fantasy sessions in past years. We started by individually writing up Post It notes of those things we thought were limiting our lives in the visual arts in SD. These notes were organized in rough categories with the help of all and special thanks to Judith D’Agostino. Then the following groups of volunteers were tasked to come up with at least one project to address some of the concerns. We asked that all projects could take place in the course of no more than one year.

We are grateful to all the participants of this day, for their energy and creativity. SDVAN can not adopt all these worthy projects but we would love to support those who might make them into reality. If you are particularly interested in any of these projects, we welcome you to contact us. We will be glad to facilitate the formation of a committee that can look into the feasibility of any and all of these ideas.

Please note: the first three ideas involved projects to benefit children which was a strong theme of the day. SDVAN will be brainstorming further to choose a project for children using grant money supplied by the Seth Spague Foundation for a project in 2010. If you want to join this committee please let us know. Please read about the positive affects of arts in the schools in our resource article
The Arts: Ask for More campaign of American for the Arts)

1. Marti Kranzberg, Valerie Samuel Henderson, Rosemary KimBal, Sheri Fox
Federal, State, County and City arts councils are not doing enough. We have little information about them and they do not seem to value the arts. They do not seem to communicate with each other.

Project: An Arts Advocacy Committee formed to organize a presentation (perhaps multi-media) utilizing children if possible, which promotes the value of the arts by documenting the effects of arts in our community. Try to get corporate sponsorship to include this presentation in their ads. Involve Pam Slater in an effort to see what she needs as she continues to support the arts and get this presentation shown when lobbying for arts issues.

2. Judith D’Agostino, Kay Colvin, Thomine Wilson, Christy Goodson Decker, Mireille Des Rosiers
Concern: Not enough art in the schools

Project: Panel Discussion for Parents about bringing the benefits of arts for children. Panels to consist of a child, a teacher, and a parent who have experienced and can demonstrate the benefits. The education directors of the major museums (SDMA, MoCASD, MoPA) involved in the CARE program (Collaborative Art Resources for Educators) might be a partner for this project.

3. Irene de Watteville, Daniele Arnaud, Patty Smith, Michele Guieu
Isolation of the arts community from each other and from the community at large
Project: Collaboration between artists, art association and galleries to bring children into our local galleries. Have guidelines on how to appreciate what they see and encourage them to collect each others art works (even at 25 cents each!)

4. Naomi Nussbaum, Madeline Sherry

Concern: There is a lack of galleries and a lack of appreciation of art
Project: Creation of Creative Communities where artist in geographical localities ban together to do work on certain projects…the first being Affordable Live/Work spaces* which in turn could lead to joint gallery spaces, closer sense of community and more respect for the arts and what they bring to a community. It might also be time to bring back Open Studio tours organized by geographical localities. *Synergy Art Foundation (SAF) is conducting an Artist Live/Work survey to evaluate the needs of San Diego County artists and arts organizations for permanent, affordable live and work space. Please take the time to complete the survey if you are interested in spaces.

5. Naimeh Tahna, Irene Abraham
Artists are not supporting each other enough. They are not activists and lack a communal art space and cohesion for networking.

Project: Strong themed exhibitions for example “Opposites Attract” which would pair opposite extremes of style or medium or “Missing Links” where artists are asked to make one work using various different mediums in collaborations with each other. Shows should travel to different parts of the community in alternative venues and could use tourist outlets (i.e. hotel concierge) to build new audience for art.

6. Renee Miller, Mark Rodman-Smith, Jo Caldwell
Finding unknown quality artists and nurturing and giving them exposure
Project: Putting out a call for artists, perhaps suggested by other artists for a juried show. Rob Sterling Bell stopped by the meeting and although he did not stay for the brainstorming he left his document on the Sterling Jurying System which advocates non partisan judgments by approved jurors who are held to standards. The use of online submission for juried shows brings in a new era where all the applicants can be viewed on a monitor during the show of the selected art works so the public can see what works were not included. A competition of curated shows could also be judged in this way with the winning show put on but all the others shown online. Maybe this could be suggested to some of the existing juried shows.

7. Patricia Frischer – although I was busy facilitating this meeting, I did have an idea for a project which I want to share.

Concern: Not enough people buy art in SD
Project: Mini Art Collectors Competition –To enter the competition perspective collectors will choose (not having to buy) up to 10 works from Local Regional Artist to make a mini-collection and write a short essay about how those works were selected and how they go together to make a collection. Three hundred dollars ($300) goes to the winner to go toward the purchase of one of the selected works. Plus the top five entries are posted on SDVAN with all the images and links to the artists chosen. Needs for this project include criteria for judging, jurors to chose winners, catchy name and logo, process for submitting images online and volunteer administrator.

Please feel free to leave your comments on these projects as well as write us with projects you might like to suggest yourself. We would like to hear from you if you want to lead a project of any kind for the visual arts in the San Diego region.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Snapshots: Changing perspectives in the San Diego Art Scene

Snapshot – One women’s personal views on Changing Perspectives in the San Diego Art Scene: Notes from the panel discussion.

Snapshots: Changing perspectives in the San Diego Art Scene was held on Sat. Feb 21 at 7:00 pm. This was a panel discussion with Philly Joe Swendoza (
ArtRocks!), Robert Pincus (SD Union Tribune), Patricia Frischer (San Diego Visual Arts Network), and David White (Agitprop Gallery) and moderated by:Katherine Sweetman (Director, Lui Velazquez) held at Art Produce Gallery (3139 University Ave, SD 92104) but organized by Kevin Freitas (Art as Authority) 619.337.4891.

Your can now see the entire panel on video by Lynn Susholtz and transcribed for UTube by Katherine Sweetmen. Enormous thanks to both for the time and effort.

Why does one agree to participate in a panel discussion and why does someone show up to hear the panelist. I am trying to make sense of the evening activities and so am presenting this personal view to help me clarify my thoughts. I have added my speakers notes to the end of this blog to show more clearly the sequence of questions and my own personal responses for those who were not there or need a refresher.

I think some of the audience will have come away from this evening with frustration…yet more talk and no action. Others will have been highly offended by what was said. But I came away with a sense that there was a strong need for an arts community in SD. This is something that I have been noticing for years. In a conversation I had during the wind down of the evening with Mark Rodman Smith, we discussed how the Arts supply the tools to define community. Definition of community is a commodity that every SD communities (not just the arts) is looking for especially right now as we all struggle to survive. I think that the arts community is built through collaborations and we have an opportunity now to help the general community define itself.

My husband, Darwin, says that SD has an inferiority complex. This is bad in itself but also produces some bad behaviors. Some people self aggrandize to build ego. (Am I guilty of this? I hope not but I have been accused.) They can become territorial and combative instead of collaborative. My stance has always been that we have to pull together to create a tide that raises all boats.

Luis Ituarte described us as an area “under construction trying to find out who we are.” We have turned north to LA, but can also turn south to the “fire of TJ” as Perry Vasquez suggested. I would like to see SD defined community by community and not branded in a big corporate way. That is not to say I don’t appreciate the appeal of branding. Pierrette Van Cleve volunteered her expertise on the high end art market, but missed the point that most of those present were at the event seeking community not a ticket to ride. But I certainly appreciate her effort to attend and participate even if her views were labeled by one as fascism! I am sorry that excitement was at her expense, but at least it was controversy which was otherwise too lacking. I was expecting to be grilled for choosing Movers and Shakers and promoting Art Stars. But I got off lightly.

Robert Pincus and Pierrette agreed that art collectors in SD lack confidence to buy here. I don’t think we did enough to address that problem. Certainly it was mentioned that Museums are not doing enough to support new talent. We would like to see a curators open competition established to suggest shows outside of the white box. Lynn Susholtz called this “curator wars”. I would also like to see collectors wars with a competition and a cash award for the best compilation of art work. There are not enough professional art galleriest. Kyle Forbes did suggest privately that as a non artist he was surprised how non-inclusive artist were. He thinks there is a grass roots yearning for artists to speak directly to potential patrons. Galleries struggle with this we know. Artists do too little to help market their own work and need to make better work and raise the bar higher. And yes, I agree that making good art is not enough. Too bad, but true.

But it was Philly Joe Swendoza’s constant call to those present to get off their duffs and do something that rang true to many all night long. David White’s remarks that “all the things we hate are also our opportunities” was so hopeful and his closing reminder to “not be afraid to fail” are engraved on most artist hearts but still needed to be stated and expanded to include community projects as well as the art itself.

Kevin Freitas was extending a conversation that started on Art As Authority with this panel. Robert Pincus agreed to be present as this was also a discussion they were having privately. Now you are invited to join in if you wish. There are those that observe, those that complain and then those that do. Which are you?

Here are my notes. I hope you let us hear from you.

  1. In your opinion what are the problems with the San Diego Art Scene?
    Jealousy over funding and contacts holding back collaborations.
    There are not enough collaborations to show the strength of the visual arts in SD to the great mass of disinterested casual observers.
    Artists wait for galleries to build a market. Instead, a partnership should be created between artists and galleries to promote art.
    Art Associations are not educating artists on marketing and concentrating on building audience.
    A lack of curators hunting out artists of excellence and producing exhibitions of their art. This is one of the reason it is hard to discover new talent. Who is looking for it?
    There are too many boring juried shows where the fees finance the show.
    There is massively uncreative programming from the arts administrators at city and county levels and lack of collaboration amongst them so they are constantly each reinventing the wheel.
    Obviously there is a lack of funding for arts education in the schools.
    The attempts to involve the corporate world in the arts are too few and far too ineffectual.
    Finally, networking opportunities for artist are lacking.

  2. Why do we stay in San Diego?
    There is incredible artistic freedom which I compare to the Wild West.
    No one is really watching what artists here do which means anything goes.
    If someone like me can come and help create the SDVAN visual resource in just 10 years, the sky is the limit for young entrepreneurs with energy and creative ideas.

  3. How do we get more/better/diverse art coverage from the media? / What should the arts be asking of our writers?
    I would like to see more curated shows of excellence with intriguing themes which attract a new audience.
    We need to encourage any good writer to write about the arts.
    Museums and Universities should give more awards for art writers. We discovered and encouraged two art writers from the Vision to Page competition. Students are also a good source of art writing which is untapped.
    More online interviews and videos (new technology) featuring artists and reviewing shows are needed and could be the breakthrough to a new audience.

  4. What sells in SD? How does market affect what is made here?
    Works made by children to their parents, highly discounted art at charity art auctions, art made by an artist sold to another artists (luckily we have artist with money) and a few commercial galleries who know their clientele have survived from selling art.
    What could sell here might be a better question? Icons of the youth culture and art as status symbols if we could convince the rich that local art is a status symbol.
    I do not think that any honest artist seriously thinks about what sells. And most do not have a clue what sells. Making art is a calling. If a few artists are only concerned about marketing and have some success, this is not prevalent or interesting to me except as a phenomenon.

  5. What can we do to make the art scene better?
    Sharing contacts through more collaborations instead of withholding that information would be a good start.
    Artists should learn to understand how to be professional and help galleries to build a market
    New Galleries should be correctly financed to survive the seven years it take to break even.
    Underground art spaces should be supported as they help enormously to build community.
    I would like to see each museums holding at least one open submission for curated shows which showcase artists of excellence.
    If the various City Arts Commissions/Board could form some sort of an Association it might go a long way to creating synergy and build projects across the county.
    Corporate funding for arts education in the schools needs to be coupled with corporations receiving recognition for this effort.
    More and better parties and not just because life is often too serious but because that is where artists usually network, relationships are started and people discuss art.

Patricia Frischer, coordinator, San Diego Visual Arts Network 760.943.0148

Your can now see the entire panel on video by Lynn Susholtz and transcribed for UTube by Katherine Sweetmen. Enormous thanks to both for the time and effort.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Economy and Affordable Live/Work Spaces

The Economy and Affordable Live/Work Spaces

In this time of economic downturn, the Arts are seen as a way to revitalize communities by creating audience, involving our children, protecting and valuing cultural heritage, and reaching out to community to participate in projects. The Arts metaphorically till the earth in preparation for financial growth.

SDVAN is lucky to be one of the few non-profits confident we can maintain all of our programs with no cut backs. We budget with existing funds and not projected ones. We have found that the financial climate has made it easier to form collaboration, which is one of our major goals. We have a loyal base of volunteers which remain excited and dedicated. In fact, we see this as an excellent time to widen our scope and influence and show how important the visual arts are to our community. The county wide
Little & Large promotion is a perfect example of this growth.

Affordable Live/Work Spaces
Abridged and adapted from an Article by
Kelly Bennett for Voice of San Diego

We see it time and time again. Artists move into an area which is affordable for them which usually means quite low rents. They energize the community, draw crowds which draw new businesses. Then property prices go up and the artists can no longer afford to live in that community and have to move on.

Naomi Nussbaum of
The Synergy Art Foundation, and Mario Torero, a Chicano Park artist could see this pattern repeating it self and decided to form a project BL./EV (for Barrio Logan/East Village and pronounced as Believe) to try to build up this area for artists and make sure that when they succeeded in creating a new art district, artist might remain long term. Cheryl Nickel joined the group as an artist also passionate about this cause.

Earlier this year this core group joined with the North Park and El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement/Arts Districts who are also interested in affordable artist and arts organization space. With funding from the
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) the fee was paid for ArtSpace, a non-profit property development organization out of Philadelphia to speak about their organization. Many ideas were generated at this meeting and although ArtSpace is a rather expensive choice for property development, their format for encouraging creative centers could be adapted for San Diego.

The BL/EV group wants to take a lead in creating permanent, affordable artist live/work space to attract and keep artists in their downtowns. There are a variety of ways this can happen and each would evolve organically and in accordance with the needs of the artists involved.:

  • Fixed lower rents subsidized by city, state, federal (tax credit not taken advantage of yet in our county), and private funds.
  • Lease to own options for those wanting to invest and reap the benefits,
  • Family options and Cooperatives

    Beyond work/live space there could be other facilities including the following examples:
  • An exhibition space, a performance space, perhaps even a community organic garden.
  • A community center or even a specialized museum to acknowledge the cultural heritage of the community.
  • Artists' support services such as . printing facilities, recording studios, framing shop, etc.
  • Other creative enterprises which support local small-scale economic development, mass transit, and emphasizing local character.
  • Affordable low-income housing would be part of the centers, thus helping retain the socioeconomic and ethnic character.

    Although the initial focus is the Barrio Logan East Village district, those nearby urban areas such as North Park, El Cajon Blvd., City Heights are all areas where these plans could be seeded. Elsewhere in the county, for example El Cajon, San Ysidro, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, there is also an interest in creating arts districts.

    The results of these creative centers would be increased community pride and economic growth. For poorer neighborhoods, this means artists need an opportunity to grow economically with the creative businesses in their neighborhoods. For more affluent areas, artists can help to renew creative elements in neighborhoods, bring appreciation of local character and culture, assure aesthetic quality, support economic development and aid with arts education. These are all core needs of the creative class (as described by Richard Florida), which comprises about one-third of the work force in the most successful cities and is the sector that will define successful, dynamic cities of the future,

    Our biggest challenge is the high cost to rent or purchase space together with the limits spent on art in San Diego, which help support artists with sales of art. San Diego government and civic leaders must realize that the best investments in the future are not giant ballparks, but are the much less costly, much more cost effective investments in supporting the creative economy.