Artists in Residence, Tacos and a Wedding – Another Typical Weekend @ GCAC

July 22, 2014

At Grand Central Art Center you never know what to expect, especially when you are an artist in residence. The only thing that is certain is fun activities and connecting with great people.

This past week we had Lisa Bielawa back in residence as we prepare for her major opera project Vireo, a project with her long-time collaborator librettist Erik Ehn. It was a week full of meetings with community leadership, potential collaborators, individuals from Cal State Fullerton and key members of our direct community.

We also continue to have in residence curator Regine Basha, here for the month of July working on projects and talking possibilities of future collaborations with GCAC through her Basha Projects initiative.

tacos

But it’s not all work around GCAC, we always find time to walk down to our favorite local tacoria and grab some lunch. Tacos provide a great way for our artists in residence and staff to connect further – just ask Lisa, Regine and GCAC Associate Director Tracey Gayer.

d and g dancing

gustavo rchard delilah

reception1

reception2

richard and delilah

dancing

And what GCAC weekend would be complete without an event on our 2nd Street plaza? This weekend, Delilah Snell (our former GCAC tenant through her Road Less Traveled store, Co-Founder of Patchwork Modern Handmade Festival and Co-Founder of the Craftcation Conference for Creative Makers) and Gustavo Arellano (Editor of OC Weekly, Author of Taco USA, writer of the syndicated column “¡Ask a Mexican!”) celebrated their marriage with a reception on the plaza. Delilah and Gustavo sure know how to throw a party! It was, as they have called it “a street fiesta”, with a great mix of live bands, DJ’s including the world famous Richard Blade (formerly of KROQ and now on SiriusXM 1st Wave), great food and drink, and a wonderful gathering of the Santa Ana community. It also provided the opportunity for some dancing to classic 80s pop, allowing Lisa Bielawa to get in on the festivities and share some moves with GCAC’s Santa Ana Sites Co-Found Allen Moon – a fun time was had by all!

delilah and gustavo

GCAC SENDS OUR CONGRATULATIONS TO DELILAH AND GUSTAVO – SUCH A LOVELY COUPLE! TO A LIFE TIME OF HAPPINESS!!!


Successful Opening Receptions and Neighborhood Mixer @ Grand Central Art Center

June 20, 2014

With all the recent installations, programs and activities, we’ve been a little behind on our posting, so forgive us for this late recap…

zellen2

zellen projection

zellen prints

kao2

Kao

The First Saturday Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk on June 7th marked the opening of two new exhibitions at Grand Central Art Center – Jody Zellen: Time Jitters and Flora Kao: Wind House, Abode That A Breath Effaced. Both artists were in attendance throughout the evening, greeting the 2,700+ who attended the reception. It was another truly successful evening.

cutie boxer

Along with the opening receptions, our current artists in residence, Ingrid Reeve, Barbara Milliorn and Evan Senn, presented a screening of the film Cutie and the Boxer, as a public program for their current project/residency Life of an Artist. The audience loved it!

robb3

robb2

Robb

And we continue the current exhibition/residency Wild Times with artist Susan Robb. Susan continues to send transmissions from her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail, as well images and three-dimensional objects back to GCAC, resulting in an ever-expanding exhibition in the gallery.

correa2

correa

In our GCAC Graduate Studio Spaces, California State University, Fullerton’s Kimberly McKinnis (MA in Exhibition Design) collaborated with Heather Bowling to present artist Taylor Correa. Taylor activated the space, creating work on site and presenting past work on display. Individuals were welcomed into the space for conversation and shared engagement.

mixer5

mixer4

mixer3

mixer2

mixer1

Diegos

boldo

We followed our First Saturday activities with a Downtown Santa Ana Neighborhood Mixer event on the evening of June 11th. Over 100 of our neighbors joined us at GCAC to connect further and meet new friends. It was a solid representation of our business community, our GCAC students who live on sites, and residences who live in the lofts of our downtown. The event included a Bites Battle, with delicious appetizers provided by Downtown restaurants Diego’s and Boldo, as coordinated by Downtown Inc.’s Ryan Smolar. Beverages were provided and served by Alova, through the in-kind generosity of Karen Gonzalez and her team. The amazing Delilah Snell was key to helping making this event a reality. GCAC’s team thanks each and everyone who donated and attended the event. WE LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS!

A few more updates are coming soon, so keep an eye on the blog, or just come over for a visit.


Keeping Busy @ GCAC!

December 3, 2013

It continues to be very active here at Grand Central Art Center, and the last two weeks were no exception…

We were fortunate to welcome the Newport Beach Arts Foundation to downtown Santa Ana for dinner at Memphis, followed by a full tour of GCAC. The tour included: visits to the galleries and studios; a chance to talk with Artists in Residence Vincent Goudreau and Amy Sanchez (Cog•nate Collective); and a look at the upstairs apartment spaces. We would like to thank Ms. Virginia Hayter, a member of the organization, for arranging the visit. What a wonderful and inspiring group of individuals who are truly involved with their community!

nbaf at memphis

NBAF with Amy

nbaf with john

NBAF with Vincent

NBAF Vincent

NBAF apartments

NBAF Group

We are always glad to have Joy Shannon and her students from the Orange County School of the Arts visit GCAC. These students are talented and ask the best questions. During their visit, they spent time with Artists in Residence Vincent Goudreau and Tim Youd, talking about their current projects and discussing the work in detail. Thank you Joy for always including GCAC in your teaching plans!

OCSA with Vincet

ocsa with tim

OCSA lookingh at tims work

Thanks to the outstanding coordination and grace of California State University, Fullerton’s own Frances Teves and Trina Moreno, GCAC hosted the CSUF Philanthropic Foundation Board. This group of 24 alumni and friends of CSUF is truly a powerhouse of knowledge and generosity, helping to support, connect and promote all the positive programs of the CSUF.

The group meet in the education gallery, as President Mildred Garcia and Vice President for University Advancement Greg Saks discussed current university activities and forward vision. The meeting included an outstanding presentation by Mike Weisman, Partner, President and Co-Founder of the Values Institute at DGWB and William Briggs, CSUF Dean of the College of Communications. Mr. Weisman and Mr. Briggs talked about the newly developed Center for Brand Values at CSUF and the vision and importance of this new campus center, a first of its kind in the nation!

csufpf meeting

csufpf mixer

GCAC Director John Spiak concluded the meeting with an update on the recent and upcoming activities of Grand Central Art Center, followed by a full tour of GCAC. Again, we were fortunate to have many of our current Artists in Residence on-hand to directly present their current projects. It was a truly engaging evening!

CSFPF Board Tim 1

CSFPF Board Vincent

Natalie Park, Education Intern at the Orange County Museum of Art, made arrangements for a visit by the museums interns. Joining us on the tour were OCMA’s Kelly Bishop, Public and Community Programs Manager, and Jenni Stenson, School and Tour Programs Manager. It is always a pleasure having OCMA interns visit GCAC, as ideas for collaborative possibilities always arise.

OCMA Interns 2

And no Thanksgiving Day weekend would be complete without the fall version of PATCHWORK! Thanks to Patchwork founders/organizers Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson, along with all the amazing vendors and trusted volunteers. The Santa Ana Patchwork is where it all began and the downtown Santa Ana version is by far the biggest, with over 160 vendors this round. Another GRAND SUCCESS, with over 9,000 in attendance and perfect weather for the day!

Patchwork 2

Patchwork1

Thank you for your continued support in making GCAC and Santa Ana the place where community comes together for positive outcomes!

We look forward to seeing you here this Saturday, December 7 from 7-10pm for Santa Ana’s First Saturday Art Walk.


WE LOVE OUR CSUF AND SANTA ANA COMMUNITIES!

October 9, 2012

Weekends are busy at Grand Central Art Center and we have plans to keep it that way!

This past Saturday, we began our new series of panel and gallery talks to kick-off the Santa Ana Art Walk evenings.  At 5pm, we presented CONVERSATIONS WITH MASTERS: PANEL 1, a series of panels that place current Cal State University Fullerton MFA students working on degrees is specific medium or practice, in conversation with individuals currently successful in that practice, as well as in conversation with individuals who play a role in decision-making within that practice.

The first of this series focused on the practice of painting.  CSUF MFA in Painting, Sara Dehghan, lead the conversation with fellow panelists artist Tony de los Reyes (current GCAC exhibiting artist of Border Theory), and Deb Klowden Mann, owner of Gallery/KM in Santa Monica.  They talked about the current gallery structures, how to and how not to approach galleries in terms of representation, the struggles of post graduation for an artist, and much more.  The speakers were insightful, knowledgable and extremely generous through the conversation, setting the bar extremely high as this series continues.  The next panel is scheduled for Nov. 3 and will focus on the practice of Public Art, an announcement will be coming soon.  Thank you to Sara for preparing such fantastic lead questions and engaged follow-ups.  Thank you Deb and Tony for your time and energy, we know the audience truly felt rewarded.

At 6pm, we followed the panel with a gallery talk by GCAC exhibiting artist Erin Morrison, whose current exhibition Meditative Action is on exhibition in our Education Gallery.  Erin toured patrons through the exhibition, talking about each work in the show and sharing her insights into process, theory and vision for the overall work.  She shared insight into her current status as an MFA candidate at UCLA, her influences from both life and the artistic field, the growth of her current work, and her thoughts as the work moves forward.  A very inspiring talk, so please join us in thanking Erin for this opportunity to engage the work so deeply.

At the conclusion of Erin’s talk, it was time for the Art Walk activities.  The community joined us for the evening and the opportunity to see the exhibitions by Tony de los Reyes, Erin Morrison and the video installation Event Horizon by Constantin Hartenstein.  Many were on hand to see the exhibitions after reading the excellent review of Border Theory in the current edition of the OC Weekly.  We are thankful to Gustavo Arellano for such a positive review.

Along with the openings, we were joined onsite by individuals who are working with us to build an even stronger and healthier arts community.  Rebecca Tuynman and her team from Ryman Arts were on hand with a Wishing Tree drawing activity.  Grand Central Art Center and the CSUF College of the Arts have been in dialogue with Ryman over the past few month in development of a greater project, for which we hope to announce in the coming weeks, so please keep posted.

Claremont Graduate University Arts Management student Alē McGrew was here working on her cap-stone project, a semester long engagement research project involving Grand Central Art Center.  Alē is working with GCAC towards a better understanding of our audience, answering basic questions like:  Who is GCAC’s audience?  How does GCAC monitor and understand our audience behavior?  How does GCAC engage and cultivate their audience?  How can GCAC work to better serve our audience?  To date, the insights she has provided has been invaluable.

Saturday evening also marked opening weekend for this semesters Grand Central Art Center Theatre season.  Managed and programmed by CSUF’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the 85 seat black box theatre presents an outstanding series of programs annually.  The season kicked-off with a sell-out audience to Ordinary Day’s.  The musical will continue to run through October 20, so purchase your tickets now and find out about upcoming Grand Central Art Center Theatre offerings on the Department of Theatre and Dance website: http://www.fullerton.edu/arts/gcac/theatre.html

On Sunday, Grand Central Art Center hosted a Farmers Market community forum, organized and moderated by Delilah Snell of The Road Less Traveled.  A very diverse group of individuals came together to discuss the topic, past farmers markets in Santa Ana, structures that might need to be put into place to organize such a market, community groups whose voice should be at the table and the overall desire to get a Farmers Market in the Santa Ana community as rapidly as possible.  It was clear, there was true knowledge, diverse perspective and passion in the room, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to receive such wonderful insight.  By the end of the meeting it was clear –  if we can all work together to put past issues aside and unite in positive ways, we can collectively create something amazing – that is what we at GCAC would love to see most of all. Then we believe the next step would be, a well organized, well respected, serving everyone, Farmers Market!  Thank you Delilah for making this happen and thank you to everyone who attended and provided feedback.

And throughout the day Monday, the sounds of drumbeats, piano, violin and clarinet are booming from our GCAC Theatre space, as artist in residence Brent Green and his collaborator Mike McGinley of Bitter Tears, work to develop and record the soundtrack for Green’s next feature film.  It is joyous and ambitious energy drifting through our walls, and we are so truly grateful to have these two extremely talented individuals among us.

Brent and Mike, along with Tim Rutili (Califone), Tim Hurley (Califone), Mike McGinley (Bitter Tears), Jacquelyn Gordon (artist), and Jim Skuldt (artist), will be performing the live soundtrack with Green’s feature length Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then this Friday, October 12 at 7pm.  The event is FREE TO ATTEND and is a collaborative presentation with the Orange County School for the Arts.  Complete details can be found on our blog at: https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/brent-green-film-with-live-performed-soundtrack-oct-12-7pm/ 

WE LOVE BEING PART OF OUR CAL STATE UNIVERSITY FULLERTON AND SANTA ANA COMMUNITY!!!


Weekends Are Active @ Grand Central Art Center!

May 29, 2012

February 1st of this year we announced our new tenant/collaborative partner relationship with Delilah Snell, as she opened The Road Less Traveled location in Grand Central Art Center.  We knew this would be a match made in heaven, but we didn’t realize just how heavenly it would truly be.  Delilah is a SUPERSTAR!!!

Delilah Snell of Road Less Traveled & Patchwork

This past Sunday, Delilah presented her Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts Festival here at Grand Central Art Center.  The Patchwork Festival has its roots in Santa Ana, started at the original Road Less Traveled store parking lot off Buffalo Street, but this is the first year it’s been presented in downtown Santa Ana.

Crowd arriving prior to 11 a.m.

Patchwork took over two full downtown city blocks along 2nd Street and Sycamore.  Vendors lined the streets, DJ and live music filled the air, and the community came out in grand support, with estimates of well over 5,000 individuals attending.  And it started early, with many folks arriving even before the 11 a.m. opening time, browsing the booths.

Packed streets during Patchwork @ Grand Central Art Center in Downtown Santa Ana, CA.

By mid-afternoon the streets were packed and the booths brimming with patrons.  Everyone was having a great time and enjoying another wonderful sunny California day.

Gypsy Den, Road Less Traveled and Lola Gaspar overflowing with people during Patchwork @ Grand Central Art Center!

Our neighboring restaurants were pleased as well, they were packed with patrons throughout the day.  In speaking to them, the only issues were the fact that they hadn’t anticipated such a successful event.  We were told that one ran out of some food items and that another was so packed they had to turn people away.  That’s a true sign of success!

Cheers! project by ISM

Grand Central Art Center had patrons visiting our exhibitions, zines designers and GCAC store all afternoon.  Patchwork also provided a booth to ISM as they engage folks for their Cheers! project to be included in the upcoming ISM 10th anniversary exhibition at Grand Central Art Center, opening July 7th.

Millard Sheets Studio, All the Queen’s Men and The Disagreement exhibitions

We thank everyone who attended Patchwork here at Grand Central Art Center and we look forward to having you join us in downtown Santa Ana again this coming Saturday (6/2) from 7-10 p.m. for this months First Saturday Art Walk. Continuing exhibition includes Millard Sheets Studio: The Art of Home Savings & Loan
 curated by Concepción Rodriguez and Wendy Sherman.  Please join us for an evening with Tony Sheets, son of the artist Millard Sheets, and storyteller Jim Cogan beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Plus Naida Osline’s All the Queen’s Men and Camilla Taylor’s The Disagreement, which all are set to close on june 17, so this will be one of your last chances to see these outstanding exhibition.

And if you missed Patchwork in downtown Santa Ana, you have another chance this weekend when Patchwork is presented Sunday in Culver City.

Patchwork @ Grand Central Art will be presented again in the fall, so make sure to sign-up for the Grand Central Art Center email announcements to keep informed of all dates, activities and times.


ROAD LESS TRAVELED with BELLY SPROUT’S – NOW OPEN – FEB 1, 2011

February 2, 2012

Yesterday at 11am, Road Less Traveled with collaborative partner Belly Sprout opened their doors to the public in a beautifully remodeled space of Grand Central Art Center. Here are a few images to entice you. We invite you to visit!


THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED – COLLABORATIVE PARTNER

January 26, 2012

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
A new GCAC collaborative partnership/tenant relationship
http://www.roadlesstraveledstore.com

The Road Less Traveled store is an environmentally and human
conscious store dedicated to bringing alternatives to every aspect of life.

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
February 1st marks the beginning of Grand Central Art Centers new
collaborative partnership/tenant relationship with The Road Less Traveled store . The Road Less Traveled store is an environmentally and human conscious store dedicated to bringing alternatives to every aspect of life.

Delilah Snell has moved everything from her old location on Main Street to the storefront space on our 2nd Street promenade (formerly Watermark Printmaking Workshop). She will be opening the doors (and window blinds) February 1st for a soft opening, before celebrating a major grand opening during the First Saturday Art Walk events in April.

Grand Central Art Center and The Road Less Traveled will be working together to create engaged community programs, expanded partnerships and activities for mutually beneficial outcomes. The initial collaboration will begin with Belly Sprout, which is a natural living store for families in Orange County, from pregnancy through parenthood.

The Road Less Traveled and Belly Sprout are community hubs of resources, information and education, so a natural fit for the Grand Central Art Center.

Keep posted for more details regarding the Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts Festival move to Downtown Santa Ana!
http://www.patchworkshow.com/

In the coming months our outreach activities will continue expanding to include our additional collaborative partnership/tenants The Gypsy Den restaurant, Claudia de la Cruz Flamenco Institute Tierra Flamenca, MASKA Architectural School of Kids and Adults, the 27 MFA students living in apartments of Grand Central Art Center’s upstairs space, as well as businesses, non-profits, NGO’s and individuals throughout Santa Ana and the region.

WEBSITES:
Road Less Traveled:
http://www.roadlesstraveledstore.com
Belly Sprout:
http://www.bellysprout.com/
The Gypsy Den:
http://www.gypsyden.com/
Claudia de la Cruz Flamenco Institute Tierra Flamenca:
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/flamenco.php
MASKA:
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/Education_AfterSchool.php
MFA Apartments:
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/mfa.php


A NEW BEGINNING!

January 5, 2012

We are starting a new Grand Central Art Center blog.

This is the first post – many more to come!

September 6, 2011, just a little over four months ago, I started my new role as Director/Chief Curator of the Grand Central Art Center.  Although born and raised in Orange County, a 1985 graduate of Tustin High School, I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life in Arizona as a member of the curatorial team at Arizona State University Art Museum.

I am honored to be here at the GCAC and in this amazing community of Santa Ana.  I was fortunate to spend much of my youth in this community. My grandparents lived just up the street from the downtown area in Santa Ana’s Washington Square (1954-1998).  My grandfather took me to the 4th street district; he banked down here off Main Street; at family gatherings we ate Koo’s Chinese take-out; played on the fields of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School; went to the Pep Boys on 1st Street to get parts for his cars; shopped at the Montgomery Wards in Horner Plaza; and giggled when we drove by the Mitchell Brothers Theater.  As a member of the Tustin High School marching band, I performed in parades on the streets of this city and during field shows at Santa Ana Stadium.  As I grew older, I took classes at Santa Ana College – my dad, after graduating from Santa Ana High School, began his college career at Santa Ana College as well, before heading off to the University of Arizona to get his degree in civil engineering.

In the late 90s, I watched with anticipation the development of Grand Central Art Center.  As it was being retrofitted and renovated, I was fortunate to receive a preview tour of the facility.  As a curator with a sociology degree, working at a major university art museum with a focus on social engagement, I found the approach Santa Ana, California State University Fullerton and the CSUF College of the Arts was taking extremely innovative.  I met with Mike Mcgee and Don Cribb, the forward thinking minds behind Grand Central, and they shared their vision.

Original Sigalert device from 1955 Photo courtesy of Loyd 'Sig' Sigmon

As the center prepared to open in 1998, Mike approached me with the offer to bring an exhibition I was curating for Arizona State University Art Museum to GCAC, for what would be the second exhibition to be presented within this space.  I accepted, and in the summer of 1999 the exhibition Sig-alert 2, which featured the work of twenty-one Los Angeles area artists, opened in downtown Santa Ana.  I have kept engaged with the institution ever since, seeing the exhibitions of Grand Central every time I was home from Arizona visiting my parents and sisters.

In 2003, I once again had the good fortune of involvement in curating a project at the center, the group video exhibition VJ Johnny D. Presents: Top of the Pops.  After appearing at GCAC, the exhibition traveled back to ASU Art Museum for a one-night screening.

From 2000-2006, the Arizona State University Art Museum Short Film and Video Festival presented a tour version of the festival on the 2nd Street plaza in front of Grand Central, a project realized through the co-organizational efforts of artist/filmmaker Bob Pece.  Bob was a co-founder of the ASU Art Museum Festival, which began in 1997, and had his studio in the Santora building for many years.  The Santora studio was where Bob and I would spend three full days each year, from 9am – 10pm, jurying the ASU festival.

The reason for providing this background information is to let you know how invested I am in the Grand Central Art Center, Downtown Santa Ana, this community and a forward vision.  I LOVE THIS INSTITUTION AND CITY!  It has a mix of everything I desire – the rich cultural diversity and energy that thrives throughout downtown, especially along 4th Street; the creativity and innovation occurring in the Artists Village; the vision and quality of the numerous restaurants in the district; the collaborative partnerships that exist through the City, University, organizations such as Latino Health Access, Downtown Inc., local business owners and residents.   Most of all, what this downtown has that makes it so desirable to me is its authenticity.  That is why I not only work in this city, but chose to live in Santa Ana as well.

My desire for Grand Central Art Center is to be a major contributor to the vision of Santa Ana, working in collaborative, mutually beneficial ways, to engage community through artistic and creative practice.

Over the past four months, I have been adjusting to my role as director and working to reach out to meet new individuals – introducing Grand Central Art Center and downtown Santa Ana to individuals who might not yet be familiar with these jewels of Southern California.  I am beginning to develop partnerships and implement a vision for Grand Central Art Center moving forward.

Following you’ll find a little recap of a few of the activities that have taken place since September…

In November, we opened the hugely successful RIDE exhibition to an opening night crowd of over 2,800.  Curator Elle Seven (Loriann Hernandez), a MFA candidate of Cal State Fullerton’s Exhibition Design/Museum Studies Program, brought a number of the artists, who live nationally, to the opening to enjoy the evening with us.  Members of Apache Skateboard, OC Roller Girls and the curator herself activated the in-gallery, half-pipe skate ramp throughout the evening as DJs rocked the house with music energy.  At the closing reception January 6, over 2,100 people attended as skaters from Element Skateboard’s team activated the half-pipe, exhibition artist Tommii Lim DJed the music and the audience enjoyed art in the exhibitions.  I cannot take credit for this exhibition or it’s success.  The full credit must go to Elle Seven for curating the project, Mike Mcgee for scheduling it here at GCAC, the artists who have work in the exhibition and the dedicated GCAC team I was fortunate to inherit.

For the record, that team includes Tracey Gayer, Matthew W. Miller, Krystal Glasman (who just left us for an amazing opportunity at the Palm Springs Art Museum), Jenny Mikhailik, Angelica Perez and Tony Pedraza.

The solo exhibition of artist Hiromi Takizawa‘s installation work has been on exhibition since November as well.  The artist, a Cal State Fullerton Alum, reflects on connection, the ocean and distance that separates her from her homeland of Japan.  Again, an exhibition that would not have been possible without the hard work, skill sets and intelligence of a team already in place prior to my arrival.

Both exhibition close this Sunday, January 15, so if you haven’t yet seen the exhibitions, this is your last chance.  The center will be open 11am-7pm today (Friday),  11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.

In December, the first of many Dutch Treat Dinners, a gathering of creative and arts professionals, occurred at downtown Santa Ana’s El Curtido Salvadorian Restaurant.  The evening was attended by 78 individuals from the Southern California region, with artists, community members and individuals representing the following institutions: Museum of Contemporary Art, Orange County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, Bowers Museum, UC Riverside’s Sweeny Art Gallery, Orange Coast College’s Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, Coastline Community College Art Gallery, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine Great Park,  Cal State Northridge and of course, Cal State Fullerton.  The evening was followed by an informal tour of the Grand Central Art Center.  It was a great success and the next Dutch Treat Dinner is already in the planning stages.

For the past two months, artist Naida Osline has been Grand Central Art Center’s Artist-in-Residence.  Through her vision for four different bodies of work, Naida has engaged and photographed middle aged men of our community, including individuals of our street community and local business owners; she’s collected stories of individuals past drug use, for which she is currently creating audio files for future projects; and just this week she engaged the local drag queen community, bringing them into our GCAC Theater space for a 10-hour day photo shoot.  Naida has definitely made the most of her time here and taken advantage of a full depth of resources this community has to offer.  Her time here and the success of her residency would not have been possible without the generous support of the Grand Central Art Forum and its board.

January marks the beginning of our new collaborative partnership/tenant relationship with The Road Less Traveled store.  The Road Less Traveled store is an environmentally and human conscious store dedicated to bringing alternatives to every aspect of life.  Delilah Snell has moved everything from her old location on Main Street to the storefront space on our 2nd Street promenade (formerly Watermark Printmaking Workshop). She will be opening the doors (and window blinds) February 1st for a soft opening, before celebrating a major grand opening during the First Saturday Art Walk events in April. Grand Central Art Center and The Road Less Traveled will be working together to create engaged community programs, expanded partnerships and activities for mutually beneficial outcomes.  The initial collaboration will begin with Belly Sprout, which is a natural living store for families in Orange County, from pregnancy through parenthood. The Road Less Traveled and Belly Sprout are community hubs of resources, information and education, so a natural fit for the Grand Central Art Center. In the coming months our outreach activities will continue expanding to include our additional collaborative partnership/tenants The Gypsy Den restaurant, Claudia de la Cruz Flamenco Institute Tierra Flamenca, MASKA architectural school for kids and adults, the 27 MFA student resident apartments of Grand Central Art Center’s upstairs space, as well as businesses, non-profits, NGO’s and individuals throughout Santa Ana and the region.

The coming months will also involve the realizing of exhibitions and a few programs that remain on the schedule set by former directors of Grand Central Art Center.   Projects like The LA Cacophony Society retrospective exhibition opening February 4, organized by former Interim Director and GCAC Founder Mike Mcgee, members of LA’s Cacophony Society and students of Cal State Fullerton’s Exhibition Design/Museum Studies Program.  The exhibition will run through April 15.  The next blog post will include many more details.

With an open time slot in the GCAC Project Room for the same period, February 4 – April 15, we decided to organize an exhibition that creates a dialogue with the work of the Cacophony Society exhibition. Here in Your Space will focus on the work of three artists – Guy Ben-Ner, Christian Jankowski and Gillian Wearing – engaging in private/pubic space.  More information on this exhibition will appear on the blog next week.

In the year to come, you will have the opportunity to meet and engage with visiting artists of the Grand Central Art Center Artist-in-Residence program.  We’ve been in dialogue with artists and are making arrangements for their time here in our downtown Community.   The new emphasis of the residencies will focus on artists working in Social Practice, projects that will look toward collaborating with community.  The artists will be invited to explore the intellectual, cultural and physical resources of our community. GCAC provides each artist an apartment, studio, time and the support to empower their vision, focused toward creating new projects and/or research relevant to their artistic  practice.

Visit our blog, website or sign-up for our email list to keep informed of the visiting artist dates and activities.

In November, you will see the first exhibition scheduled through the new vision for Grand Central Art Center.  Artist Tony de los Reyes will be premiering his new body of work, both in painting and sculpture, that will focus on the US/Mexico border.  A series of programs are being developed to compliment the exhibition, so we will definitely keep you posted as these are scheduled.

As the new Director/Chief Curator, I invite you to join us here at the Grand Central Art Center.  Come visit and share our vision, enjoy our programs, engage with our community and explore all that Grand Central Art Center and Downtown Santa Ana has to offer.

We look forward to collaborating with you!

John D. Spiak
Director/Chief Curator
Grand Central Art Center