Visits to Cemeteries, Mortuaries and Crematorium – GCAC Artist in Residence Adriana Salazar

May 24, 2013

Adriana Salazar is the current GCAC Artist in Residence, visiting us from Bogota, Colombia.  Her residency is a collaborative effort for GCAC with the Orange County Museum of Art.  Adriana will be a part of the upcoming OCMA California-Pacific Triennial, curated by Dan Cameron.  GCAC has partnered with OCMA to be a host venue for the Triennial, so Adriana will be developing a major installation in the Main Gallery that will open at the end of June, as well as an installation work that will be in the galleries of the Orange County Museum of Art.

Adriana is researching the concepts of life and death, and the spaces that perhaps exist in between.  Over the past two weeks, she has been visiting cemeteries, mortuaries and crematorium with our Director/Chief Curator, John Spiak.  In the coming weeks, there are plans to visit grave stone makers, casket builders and a boat trip to experience the spreading of ashes at sea.  The work is part of her ongoing investigation, that began with her series The Life of Dead Things, for which she has realized projects for in Bogota and Mexico City.   The ideas of the final GCAC installation are being developed, so please stay tuned and plan to join us on July 6th for the public opening reception.

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We would like to thank the following individuals for the generosity, openness and knowledge with Adriana’s research to date:

Tim Deutsch – Orange County Cemetery District
Neil P. O’Connor – O’Connor Mortuary
Chris Macera – Macera Crematorium
Julio Amarillas – Santa Ana Cemetery
Joel Torres – Anaheim Cemetery
George E. Lopez – Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary


Adriana has also spent time down at the Orange County Museum of Art for site visits with Dan Cameron, OCMA Curatorial Associate Johnny Sampson (who also happens to be a Cal State University, Fullerton Alum) and their preparator team, talking out the details for the on-site sculptural installation to take place there.

As part of the collaboration, GCAC will also be hosting a kick-off event for the Triennial here in Santa Ana on June 26th, taking place at our collaborative community partner location of The Yost Theater.

Here are the details and know that you are all invited – if the installation is close to complete, we will open GCAC after the panel for a sneak preview of Adriana’s installation:

California-Pacific Triennial Artists Panel
Thursday, June 27th, 7-9 pm
Yost Theater, Santa Ana

Please join us for an early glimpse of the Triennial with a panel discussion in Spanish (with English Translation), moderated by Alma Ruiz featuring artists from Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Colombia. This program will take place in partnership with Grand Central Art Center and the historic Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana.

Darío Escobar
Adriana Salazar
Adán Vallecillo
Sebastián Preece
Yoshua Okón
Hugo Crosthwaite
Moderator Alma Ruiz – Senior Curator @ Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Mobility Device: Carmen Papalia Performance with Century HS Marching Band @ GCAC

May 13, 2013

Mobility Device
A Performance by Carmen Papalia
with accompaniment of The Great Centurion Marching Band from Century High School, Santa Ana

Saturday, June 1, 2013
Begins 6PM @ Grand Central Art Center

carmen-marching-band-2Carmen Papalia image credit:  Jordan Reznick

Excerpt from A New Model for Access in the Museum

In my second year of college I really started to care about access—my own access in particular. It was hard not to care. I was coming to terms with a progressive vision loss that made it difficult for me to read printed text—which, at the time, I had to do quite a lot since I was an English student and a magazine editor. I remember giving myself a headache every time I struggled to focus on a poem, and, more often than not, stressing over more editing work than I could manage. I privileged my access to the visual world so much that it was bad for me.

I eventually chose to rely on the accessibility accommodations that were available to me as a full-fledged disabled person, but it soon became clear, even while accommodated, that my access was vastly different from that of my peers. Shopping for groceries with an assistant was weird. The audio description for movies sucked. I couldn’t walk into a library, select a book and start reading. I constantly felt limited by the systems that I had chose to rely on because I hadn’t yet claimed agency and established a system for my own access.

In one of my first published poems about blindness (West Coast Line, 2010), I wrote a list of synonyms for the word “blind”. It’s a pretty accurate reflection of how I was feeling at the time:

I am: careless, heedless (ran into a pole), ignorant, imperceptive, inattentive (don’t look directly), inconsiderate (don’t look directly), indifferent, indiscriminate (can’t judge by appearance), injudicious, insensitive (have hurt the feelings of others), myopic, nearsighted (used to be), neglectful, oblivious (addressed an inanimate object), thoughtless, unaware (impeded on a bike lane), unconscious, undiscerning, unmindful, unobservant (especially of visual cues), unperceiving, unreasoning, unseeing (sometimes).  I am: hasty (I often cross too early), heedless, impetuous, inconsiderate (I often cut off buggies and the elderly), irrational, mindless, rash, reckless (I have walked without a cane), senseless (I have driven a motor vehicle), shortsighted, thoughtless, unseeing, unthinking, violent, wild (I have driven a motor vehicle), I am: blocked, closed, closed at one end, concealed, dark, a dead-end, dim, disguised, impassable, leading nowhere, obscured, obstructed, secluded, unmarked, without exit.

Feeling all of these things, I started to use a white cane—a symbol that I felt good and bad about. On one hand, it was a tool that promoted my access and mobility. It showed me things and made my map a whole lot bigger. On the other hand, it institutionalized me. It was a symbol that was connected to an institution that wanted me to be a certain kind of blind person—the kind with huge sunglasses, the kind that was either a piano tuner or a masseuse, the kind that walks a certain way on a predetermined route, and that talks a certain way about his blindness. The kind that you never saw but which you knew existed.

Mobility Device is a performance in which artist Carmen Papalia is accompanied by a marching band that replaces his white cane as his primary means of gathering information about his surroundings. As part of this site specific performance of Mobility Device for the Grand Central Art Center, Papalia will explore downtown Santa Ana while The Great Centurion Marching Band from Century High School in Santa Ana provides musical cues indicating objects, obstacles and other information that might be relevant to the artist on his journey. As a piece of music, Mobility Device is an extension of the musicality of the white cane—bringing attention to the things that the white cane, on any occasion, might touch into sound. With Mobility Device, fixtures such as curbs, lampposts and sandwich boards become notes in the soundscape of a place. Alternately, Mobility Device proposes the possibility of user-generated, creative process-based systems of access. It represents a non-institutional (and non-institutionalizing) temporary solution for the problem that is the white cane.  The community is invited to join the performance.

The Great Centurion Marching Band from Century High School in Santa Ana is in its second year under the direction of R. Scott Devoe. They perform during football game halftime shows, community events and parades. The Marching Band is seeking sponsorships and donations to help fund various activities and operations costs. Please contact the director at for more information.

Grand Central Art Center thanks KCET’s ARTBOUND and writer Carolina A. Miranda for the outstanding preview article on Carmen’s performance.  You can find the article at the following link:

A video documentary of the performance, by filmmaker Mickey Fisher, is being created, so keep checking the GCAC Blog for its completion.

GCAC Intern Off to Grad School @ School of the Art Institute Chicago!

May 11, 2013

In the words of GCAC intern Ariel Gentalen as she completes her internship and heads to Chicago for grad school…

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The first word that comes to mind while reflecting on my year as an intern at Grand Central Art Center is community. It is John Spiak’s unflinching commitment to partnerships and involvement that created a beneficial learning environment to expand my understanding of the inner workings of the art world. I was also fortunate to be working with the supportive and welcoming staff that makes Grand Central such a lovely place to be on a day-to-day basis.

My time at Grand Central began after a last minute, and insane, road trip to Portland, OR to attend Open Engagement 2012 conference. It was ultimately an adventure that developed into one of the most important experiences of my undergraduate career. I say adventure, because CSUF Professor Gretchen Potts drove myself and two other art students 16 hours in a rented Prius, to attend. At the time it didn’t seem like a flawed plan, but upon our arrival, as we sat across from each other at lunch as speechless zombies from exhaustion, we realized flying there might have been easier. After a quick nap, we attended panel discussions focused on integrating social practice into museums, outlining successful education programs in museums and galleries, as well as creating alternative spaces for creativity where established institutions have none. I met and conversed with individuals who were responsible for creating dynamic public programming and working directly with communities. These meetings helped me conclude that this must be my career path, not only to fulfill my own passions, but also to guide others in a similar fashion. Connecting with John at the conference and seeing him speak on the “It Turns our There is Room for Everyone: Museums and Social Practice” panel, I knew that I wanted to work with someone so devoted to the tide of Social Practice art and how it benefits surrounding communities. One week after the conference, I began my GCAC internship.

Over the course of the summer and the following year, I was lucky enough to work with an amazing list of artists in residence, assisting in the realization of projects – from contacting surrounding Santa Ana organizations trying to recruit baseball players for Adam Moser’s MLB project; to sitting on the floor of the AIR apartment with Lisa Bielawa conversing about art and music culture in Orange County; to sharing mouthwatering arepa cooked by current GCAC Project Room exhibiting artist Saskia Jorda. As an Art History major, you spend the majority of your time studying flashcards, reading verbose art theory and attempting to comprehend what the omnipresent art world is – and how you eventually want to fit into it. It is a testament to the power of informal learning experiences – being a fly on the wall during meetings or grant writing discussions –which provided the opportunity for a demystification of what it means to operate in the art world. Grand Central also connected me to Project Access, through an opportunity to produce and run a workshop in partnership with their teen program hosted at Santa Ana Community College. Throughout my year here, there has been nothing but support, whether it comes in the form of pitch meetings for public programming. allowing for time off during grad school application panic, or other on campus leadership duties. It has been a truly rewarding and informative year in how to operate as an advocate of the arts.

Next week, I will be flying (we learned our lesson – no more road trips) out to Portland with fellow student and friend Karla Monterrey to attend Open Engagement once again. It may be painfully cliché, but I embrace the cyclical journey this past year at Grand Central has provided me. I am so excited to be critically engaged for three days of intense art focused discussion, this time with a well-rested and attentive brain. Karla and I are committed to taking and applying all of the conversations at Open Engagement with us to graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is my hope to engage communities the way John and the Grand Central Art Center has done with CSUF and Santa Ana, as well as nurture a future generation of critical citizens.

Ariel Gentalen
CSUF, BA in Art History, Minor in Women’s Studies, ‘13

Artist in Residence, Adriana Salazar from Bogota, Colombia – GCAC Collaboration with OCMA for 2013 California-Pacific Triennial

May 10, 2013


Grand Central Art Center is proud to announce the arrival of Artist in Residence, Adriana Salazar from Bogota, Colombia.  Adriana will be in residence for the next two months as she develops two major site-specific installation – one in our main gallery and one that will take place at the Orange County Museum of Art.  Both projects are part of the upcoming 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, being curated by Dan Cameron of OCMA.  GCAC is proud to be a collaborate partner on this inaugural Triennial – part of our continued efforts to build community relationships and partnerships for mutually beneficial outcomes.

As part of the collaboration, GCAC will also host a kick-off Artists Panel at downtown Santa Ana’s Yost Theater on July 27 from 7-9pm.  The evening will provide an early glimpse of the Triennial with a panel discussion in Spanish, moderated by MoCA Curator Alma Ruiz featuring artists from Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Colombia.   Artists scheduled to participate include: Darío Escobar, Adriana Salazar, Adán Vallecillo, Sebastián Preece, Yoshua Okón, Hugo Crosthwaite.

New Exhibitions, President Garcia Visit, MFA Open Studios – Kick-Off May @ Grand Central Art Center

May 9, 2013

This past Saturday, Grand Central Art Center celebrated the opening reception of our new exhibitions – Divested Interest: Exchange Dialogues with Cog•nate Collective & Ramiro Gomez, curated by California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) College of the Arts graduate students Emily D. A. Tyler and Martha Rocha of the Exhibition Design program, and artist Saskia Jorda’s solo project Unraveling Tradition.

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The night kicked off with CONVERSATION #4, Community Exchange, GCACs ongoing series that provides the opportunity for current CSUF students to lead conversation with creative individuals active in the field.  The conversation was led by the two curators of Divested Interest, Emily Tyler and Martha Rocha, and included on the panel Cog•nate Collective (artists Misael Diaz and Amy Sanchez) and artist Ramiro Gomez.  It was a great conversation about the development of the exhibition and the artist’s interactions with the downtown Santa Ana community over the past month and a half as the three artists popped in for artist residencies.  It provided great insight and the audience of over 90 individuals – a great mix of local community, CSUF faculty and staff, local merchants and art world visitors – engaged in the dialogue with outstanding questions for the artists and curators.

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Following CONVERSATION #4, we opened our three galleries to the public and were visited by CSUF President Mildred Garcia and her Chief of Staff Ann Camp.  GCAC Director/Chief Curator John D. Spiak led Ms. Garcia and Ms. Camp on a full tour of the exhibitions, introducing them to the artists, curators, key GCAC supporters and the works in the exhibitions.

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Saturday also marked the MFA Open Studios night for our CSUF GCAC resident artists who live and work here on site.  With President Garcia visiting, the evening provided the perfect opportunity for her to be exposed to the work of these outstanding artists.  The President was truly gracious with her time, talking with each student about his or her work, which was on display in the studios.

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During a two-month artist in residency at GCAC, creating her Unraveling Tradition exhibition, Saskia Jorda developed an outstanding relationship with Quinceanera Magazine.  We were fortunate to be joined Saturday evening by representatives of Quinceanera Magazine, including Jenny Razo (Miss Cover Girl, January 2013) and Flor Garcia (Miss Cover Girl, May 2013).  The magazine set-up their pink carpet and backdrop, inviting our patrons to join the cover girls for photos.  A truly enjoyable experience – GCAC and the artist would like to thank Quinceanera Magazine and especially Norma Capitanachi for all her support and assistance over the past few months in helping to realize successful outcomes.

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We were also fortunate to be joined during the evening by the great folks of the Pacific Symphony.  Through GCACs collaborative partnership with the Pacific Symphony, we presented the Rite of Spring Video Booth in our Artist in Residence Studio.  Created by UC Irvine associate professor of dance and media art John Crawford, the video booth allowed participants to choose sections from the ballet The Rite of Spring, capture their own movement in a green screen environment and combine it with Crawford’s artistic video content.  The booth generated a great energy with our audience and those who participated directly within the booth.

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Along with all the new projects, we also celebrated the ongoing GCAC exhibitions Monique Leyton and Brad Kuhl: Elite Deviance and Ryman Arts Fullerton Exhibition, the work of Orange County based high school students who participated in the CSUF/Ryman Art program throughout the Spring semester.


Grand Central Art Center thanks all of the 2,200+ individuals who were in attendance Saturday evening, those who couldn’t join us that evening but contributed significantly to the success of the current exhibitions and programs, and those individuals who have continued to support GCAC throughout the years.  Through this generous support, Grand Central Art Center continues to serve and engage our direct community, contribute to the educational process and greater success of our CSUF students, inspire through the would of visual art and creative outlets, and be responsible neighbors and friends open to dialogue and inquiry from all perspectives.