Lisa Bielawa – Artist in Residence – Site Visit #1 @ Grand Central Art Center

June 30, 2012

It’s been an exciting week, with Grand Central Art Center having been extremely fortunate to host artist/composer/vocalist Lisa Bielawa as a visiting Artist in Residence.  This was Lisa’s first site visit to Downtown Santa Ana, as she begins the process of developing a larger project and an extended residency.

We worked to introduce Lisa to individuals in our community and sites around Orange County of possible interest.  The visit allowed her to experience our community, this region and to begin developing ideas for projects that could be realized through her artistic vision.

Tom Burke, Flying Bull, Inc. and a Special Events Consultant, provided a tour of the airstrips of the former Marine Corp Air Station El Toro in Irvine, now part of the development in process of the expanding Orange County Great Park.  Lisa was interested in visiting the site as she is currently developing projects on former runways as part of her upcoming Tempelhof Broadcast.  the Tempelhof Broadcast will be performed on the Tempelhof Airport runway in Berlin, and in development for performance on Crissy Field, San Francisco.  Tom shared brief histories of the site and recent activities, as we walked the runways and Lisa tested the sites sound qualities at distances.  It was a clear morning and the songbirds in the adjoining fields were clearly happy.

Lisa met with Allen Moon, of the David Lieberman Artists’ Representative, as they discussed the current international creative scene and the many individual acquaintances and friends they had in common.  Allen shared his perspectives of Downtown Santa Ana, along with his vast knowledge of the greater Orange County community and the individuals here for whom Lisa would benefit by meeting.

Dr. Pamela Madsen, composer, performer and scholar, California State University, Fullerton’s Music Department, met with Lisa at the recommendation of Allen.  She shared information on her role as director of CSUF’s New Music Festival, including her vision for the 2013 festival.  They talked about the current voice, music and composer communities of Southern California, including individuals involved with our colleague SoCal universities of CSU Long Beach, Chapman University, University of California Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego, and the possibilities for collaboration.

Dennis Lluy, owner of Downtown Santa Ana’s Yost Theater, connected with us for even more inspirational conversation.  For a bit of background, the Yost Theater it the oldest theater in Orange County, originally built in 1912 during the Vaudeville movement.  Dennis has spent the past five years renovating the theater to an original feel and passionate authenticity.  Dennis is an amazing thinker and long-term generous supporter of Grand Central Art Center, as well as the OC Arts community in general.  After grabbing a bite to eat at Chapter One restaurant, we walked over to the Yost to spend some more time in the venue.  Lisa visited the site on the first day of her residency, but this return visit provided her the opportunity to wander through the space and test the theaters natural acoustics.  The space is amazingly live, with a hammered tin ceiling that helps to project a voice throughout, engulfing the site with beauty!

Along with the individuals from our direct community, we were also able to engage Lisa with artists currently connected with Grand Central Art Center.  We attended the UCLA Hammer Museum Yearbook Signing Party hosted by the Hammer for artists Adam Moser and Harrell Fletcher.  You probably recognize Adam’s name, since he just completed his Artist in Residence project here at GCAC, The Cut-Off Men.  At the event, Lisa was able to engage a bit with the Hammer‘s Curator of Public Engagement Allison Agsten and Senior Curator Anne Ellegood. She was able to have extended conversation regarding Social Practice, recent projects and the contemporary art scene of Southern California with Adam, Andrew Douglas of the Metabolic Studio, and Contemporary Art Curator Cassandra Coblentz (full disclosure, Cassandra is married to John Spiak, GCAC Director/Chief Curator).

We were fortunate to also have back at GCAC artist in residence Jules Rochielle.  She is here for another site visit, as she continues to connect with our community and further develop her project – meeting with individuals from El Centro and the Santa Ana Public Library.  Jules visit provided the opportunity to gather a few other Southern California artists for conversation and a quick breakfast gathering.  Joining us were recent OTIS MFA in Public Practice graduate Christina Sanchez and Los Angeles based artist Nancy Popp, who was recently named InterArts Chair at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

More site visits were worked into the schedule, and through the recommendation of Jules, Lisa toured the Santa Ana River, which stretches 29 miles from Huntington Beach to Corona, and is located a couple of blocks from GCAC.  Walking the bike path, she explored the space and considered its concrete valley and closed railroad bridges as possible project sites.

Wednesday afternoon, Lisa hopped on the train at our local Santa Ana Train Station (again, a few short block from GCAC) and made the quick one-hour trip down to San Diego.  Once there, she first met with Steven Schick, Conductor of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus.  She shared with him her experiences as artist in residence at Grand Central Art Center and her current thoughts related to project ideas.  They were able to brainstorm together and consider collaborative possibilities.  In the evening, she connected with Jim Rosenfield, President of the Mata Festival Board.  Lisa is actually one of the co-founder of the Mata Festival, with Philip Glass and Eleonor Sandresky.  Lisa had the opportunity to share more information regarding Grand Central Art Center’s vision with Mr. Rosenfield and talk about concepts for her project to be realized through our institution.

Thursday, before departing for the airport, Lisa met with Cathi Douglas, Editor of CSUF’s Titan Magazine.  The Titan Magazine team is working on an article about GCAC.  Lisa sat down with their team for a photo shoot, before meeting with Cathi for an interview at the Gypsy Den Grand Central Cafe.  Make sure to keep any eye out for an article on GCAC in an upcoming issue of Titan Magazine!

And with a packed schedule, somehow Lisa still found some quiet time throughout the week to sit within our GCAC Black Box Theatre, at the piano, working to compose new work for additional upcoming projects in her life.

Yes, another extremely successful visit by an outstanding artist who we are excited to have back in the very near future.  We’ll keep you posted as the project continues to develop and we will let you know dates for Lisa’s return when they are official.


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.