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…

ariel pic

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


Uniforms Ready, Clubhouse Ready, Teammates Ready, Balls Are Here and Adam Arrives Tomorrow!

June 9, 2012

After a long drive to the Victory Custom Athletic factory and headquarters in Chatsworth, CA, we are proud to announce that the uniforms are now here at Grand Central Art Center – in the clubhouse and ready for the teams arrival.  A big THANK YOU to the team at Victory Custom Athletic, especially Claudette Duggan, for helping us get the uniforms in less than two weeks.  Their factory is amazing, here it is in action.

Meanwhile, back at Grand Central Art Center, our amazing preparator Matthew Miller was putting the finishing touches on the team clubhouse, now located in our GCAC Artist in Residence studio.

And here is what it now looks like in our new team clubhouse for the Cut-Off Men, all ready for the teams arrival!

You’ll have your first chance to meet the team in person this coming Monday night by attending the Dutch Treat Dinner/Ball Signing event at Izalco Restaurant, here in Downtown Santa Ana – balls to the first 50 individuals to arrive.  For details visit: https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/invitation-to-dutch-treat-dinner-ball-signing-june-11-%C2%AD-please-join-us/

We found out that the Major League Baseball tryouts on Tuesday are free and open to spectators, so drive yourself over and join us at the ball park.  Complete details and the address can be found online: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/about_mlb/tryout_us.jsp

Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to Adam’s team!  We are still missing a couple of teammate pictures and are working hard to recruit one last team member, so help spread the word.  Even though each member trys out individually, Adam would still love to have a “team” of nine.

Adam

Abraham

Erik

Justin

Mike

Phil

Steven

Tori

Projects like this, especially on such a short time frame (we just met Adam and heard about his idea for the first time a little over two weeks ago when we agreed to realize it), would not be possible without our own amazing Grand Central Art Center team.  Thanks to their energy over the past two weeks and for all the hard work each has put towards this upcoming artist in residence with Adam.  It was an extremely short timeframe to realize such a project, but their excitement and know how in regards to the elements for such a project helped to make it a reality.  The team includes:  Tracey Gayer, Matthew Miller, Jenny Mikhailik, Angelica Perez, Tony PedrazaMaxwell Rivas and our newest addition, CSUF student intern Ariel Gentalen.

If you still need more information on Adam’s project, or would like to join the team (deadline extended to June 9), visit:  https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/dream-of-playing-in-the-major-leagues-mlb-join-gcac-artist-in-residence-adam-moser-and-tryout/

The Cut-Off Men film can now be viewed online at: https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-cut-off-men-filmdocumentary-now-online-for-viewing/


Open Engagement, AAM, Social Practice and a Forward Vision @ Grand Central Art Center

May 24, 2012

Social Practice is a major focus of our Forward Vision at Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), so we were honored by an invitation to participate in the Open Engagement conference in Portland, Oregon (May 18-20).  GCAC was represented on two panels by Director/Chief Curator John D. Spiak, which included:

René de Guzman, Dominic Willsdon, John D. Spiak, Stephanie Parrish, Allison Agsten

It Turns Out There Is Room For Everyone: Museums and Social Practice – with panelists Dominic Willsdon (SFMOMA), Allison Agsten (Hammer Museum), René de Guzman (Oakland Museum of California), Stephanie Parrish (Portland Art Museum) and John D. Spiak (Grand Central Art Center). Moderated by Harrell Fletcher (Portland State University).

and

Gregory Sale, John D. Spiak, Pete Brook, Julie Perini

Prison Communities: You Can’t Arrest Your Way to a Solution. Social Practice Engaging the Criminal Justice System – with panelists Gregory Sale, John D. Spiak, Pete Brook, Rachel Marie-Crane Williams and Julie Perini.

Bernie Díaz (Faculty @ SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts), Ariel Gentalen, Karla Monterrey, Shannon Jackson (Director of ARC @ UC Berkeley), Carlin Boyle

We were able to encourage, with the help of GCAC Artist in Residence Jules Rochielle, a few California State University Fullerton students, a faculty and staff member to attend the conference.  Those in attendance included: CSUF students Carlin Boyle, Ariel Gentalen, Karla Monterrey; CSUF faculty member Gretchen Potts; and CSUF staff member Mylan Chacon.  The conference allowed the opportunity for these individuals to connect with national figures of the art world, including artists, theorists, educators and curators.  It was clear that these individuals were truly inspired by the experience.  We are sure this will have a major impact on GCAC and the CSUF College of Art, especially starting next semester, as these individuals are playing key roles on the campus community – Karla leading CSUF Arts Week this coming year; Ariel leading the CSUF Arts Inter-Club Council; and Carlin through her Evoke Unity efforts.

Three weeks ago, Spiak also represented GCAC through two panels at the American Association of Museums Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which included:

Getting into the Bones: Museums, Dance and Social Action – with panelists Gregory Sale (Arizona State University), Robin Conrad (Fullerton College), Elizabeth Johnson (Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts) and John D. Spiak (Grand Central Art Center)

and

Kris Morrissey, Robert Garfinkle, John D. Spiak, Emily F. Zimmern, Thomas M. Finkelpearl

New Roles/New Culture: Tackling Tough Topics and Engaging New Audiences – with panelists Thomas M. Finkelpearl (Queens Museum of Art), Emily F. Zimmern (Levine Museum of the New South), Robert Garfinkle (Science Museum of Minnesota) and John D. Spiak (Grand Central Art Center).  Moderated by Kris Morrissey (Director, Museology Program, University of Washington).

The inspiration and knowledge these conferences provided inform this institution as our Forward Vision document develops and becomes more refined.

The in-progress Forward Vision for Grand Central Art Center focuses on the belief that the key to success in Social Practice Residencies is complete honesty, trust and openness by the institution, curator and artist with all potential collaborators and participants. GCAC is open to exploring, through artistic practice and conversation, the complexities of society – acknowledging that we may raise more questions than perhaps answer.  This institution is open to flexibility and adjustment throughout a project/residency as envisioned by the artist, leaving the opportunity for new discoveries to develop – creating the possibilities for even greater, successful and mutually beneficial outcomes for artist, institution and collaborator.  We use the term “successful” loosely, as we acknowledge that failure of a process also brings knowledge.  These rules should apply to any institution exhibition, program or project, but they are even more essential when working with community and artists through Social Practice residence.  Without an honest approach, trust cannot be secured to build connections with diverse individuals through an artist’s vision.

Shannon Jackson (Open Engagement Keynote)

We also acknowledge the kinds of results that often occur at the conclusion of a residency or Social Practice based project are not always easily measured, in the traditional sense.  For example, attendance figures, tour numbers and budgets may not be the most appropriate measures of “success.”  Unfortunately, these are the most common types of statistics that funders and agencies require in grant reports, usually due immediately upon completion of the project.

GCAC understands that many projects in Social Practice should not, and can not, be limited by a set timeline for completion.  Therefore, it is our goal to provide an artist time needed to realize their vision.  Often the first question asked by individuals when inquiring of our Artist in Residence program is “how long is each residency?”  To this we will answer, “we do not know,” as each will be determined by the artist, their project and their collaborators working through GCAC.  We also understand that even though a project might be considered complete, impact of that project, and even the project itself, may continue beyond the artist and institution.

If It Doesn’t It Should (Open Engagement Panel) – Ted Purves, Harrell Fletcher, Cassandra Thornton

GCAC will look at traditional and standard matrix measurements for each project, but we will also measure, validate and share the success, and/or failure, of each Social Practice Residency through the following:  gathering of personal stories and testimonials (artist, institution, organizations, community); presenting at national conferences (American Association of Museums, College Art Association, Open Engagement); creating web and print based documentation (website, blog, catalogues); writing and publishing articles in national journals (Museum and Social Issues, Art Education, Journal of Art for Life); and direct sharing with colleagues of peer institutions and through society itself.

The Social Practice Artist in Residence is just one component of our institution, but the philosophies of this program will guide GCAC in the further development of Forward Vision documents for our exhibitions, education, public programs and outreach.  Their outcomes will be measured in the same fashion and be accountable to our mission as a contemporary art center.  We will raise questions, allow inquire, be open to opposing view points, be challenged and/or criticized, in the hope of understanding greater society, the role of contemporary art and our shared, or unshared, experiences.  It is important for us as a contemporary art center to acknowledge that we may not be able to change lives or minds, but it is our hope to change moments.