Daniel Tucker – The Active Schedule of a GCAC Artist in Residence

April 11, 2014

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You may wonder what an artist in residence at Grand Central Art Center does on a daily bases during their time with us. Besides engaging with the GCAC team, CSUF students, community members and visitors, they stay pretty active.

Here is a quick summary of this week’s meetings and activities current artist in residence Daniel Oliver Tucker has been involved with, in addition to lots of reading and prepping for his installation (and a few unrelated admin and writing gigs related to other stuff he’s got going later in the year).

Upcoming:

As part of his residency, from April 18th-26th, Tucker will be touring California, participating as a visiting artist at College of the Redwoods (Eureka 4/17), Mills College (Oakland 4/24), and giving a lecture at CalArts (4/26 Valencia) as part of the 10th Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Environment, Space, and Place.  At each location he will be sharing information about his new project, Future Perfect – Time Capsules in Reagan County, being developed as artist in residence at GCAC.

He then returns to GCAC where he will continue the research and development stage of this new project.

A portion of his new project will be featured in a group exhibition from May 3-24th at Commonwealth & Council (Opening 5/3 at 3006 W 7th St #220, Los Angeles).

Installation Title: The Preface to Future Perfect – Time Capsules in Reagan County (2014).

Description: Over the course of 2014, Tucker is developing a documentary project entitled Future Perfect – Time Capsules in Reagan County dealing with the legacy of Ronald Reagan and the phenomenon of time capsule burials in southern California. Speculating on the contents of many of these time capsules, Future Perfect considers what Reagan’s science-fiction imagination of the future was and how that vision constituted parts of the political terrain of the present. Presented in Tucker’s first exhibition in LA, The Preface to Future Perfect is a photography installation presenting materials from his ongoing research.

The last portion of his GCAC residency will involve the community engagement phase that is still in the planning. The overall project will evolve into an installation open to the public, taking place in the GCAC Artist in Residence Studio.

We will keep you updated as the plans develop further and dates for activities here at GCAC are set.

We look forward to seeing you here!


Last Night @ GCAC – Joshua Simon + Dutch Treat Dinner

April 9, 2014

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Last evening Grand Central Art Center, in collaboration with Artis, presented a talk by Joshua Simon. Simon is the Director and Chief Curator for The Museums of Bat Yam, a complex of three museums located in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in Israel.

Joshua shared an overview of his institutions mission, including images, video and handed out published materials from recent exhibitions. He provided insight into the engagement with a diverse community that is at the core of his institutions mission.

Through the question and answer session, he field questions on the current political climate, navigating boycotts and the effects and impact of Occupy Wall Street type moments worldwide.

The evening concluded with a Dutch Treat Dinner at Santa Ana’s own TABU, continuing conversation and connections at a more informal level.

A truly informative and enjoyable evening!

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We thank the quality audience in attendance, which included Deans from the Arts programs at Cal State Long Beach and Santa Ana College, Interim Director of the Orange County Museum of Art, Assoc. Prof. of Art History & Museum Studies from Irvine Valley College, Independent Curator and SoCal Curator of the Artist Pension Trust, Director of Marketing from the The Muchenthaler Culture Center, three current GCAC Artists in Residence, local artists and current MFA/MA students from Cal State Fullerton and UCI.

Special thanks to Kris Kuramitsu, Associate Director in Los Angeles of Artis, for making the collaborative program possible.


SANTA ANA PUBLIC LIBRARY/ GCAC COLLABORATION RECEIVES $10,000 CAL HUMANITIES 2013 COMMUNITY STORIES GRANT!

January 14, 2013

Lara Montagne, Marco, GCAC Artist in Residence Jules Rochielle, and Manny Escamilla of the Santa Ana Public Library - planning meeting @ The Grain Project in Jerome Park, Townsend/Raitt neighborhood.

Lara Montagne, Marco, GCAC Artist in Residence Jules Rochielle, and Manny Escamilla of the Santa Ana Public Library – planning meeting @ The Grain Project in Jerome Park, Townsend/Raitt neighborhood.

Cal Humanities has recently announced the 2013 Community Stories grant awardees. The Santa Ana Public Library has been awarded $10,000 for its project entitled The Raitt St. Chronicles: A Survivors Oral History.

Community Stories is a competitive grant program of Cal Humanities. Grants are awarded to projects that give expression to the extraordinary variety of histories and experiences of California’s places and people to ensure that the stories can be shared widely. These narratives help us find our commonalities, appreciate our differences, and learn something new about how to live well together.

To accomplish these goals, the Santa Ana Public Library will partner with California State University Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center, working through GCAC Artist in Residence Jules Rochielle, CSUF American Studies Lecturer Sharon Sekhon and artist/education Christina Sanchez, to train teens to collect oral histories from the Townsend/Raitt neighborhood. An additional academic partner on the project will be Ana Elizabeth Rosas, Assistant Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies, School of Social Sciences, Assistant Professor, History, School of Humanities and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Chicano-Latino Studies at University of California, Irvine. Project mentors will train youth participants to collect, archive, and share the underreported stories of survival from one of Santa Ana’s most at-risk communities. Over the course of 12 months the participants will record video interviews with survivors of violence and make them available on various social media websites. These will serve as the basis of a 15-minute mini-documentary on the history of the neighborhood that will be presented in various local venues as well as online.

“With our state’s incredible diversity, fostering communication and connecting people to a range of ideas is vital for our general welfare,” said Ralph Lewin, president and CEO of Cal Humanities. “Our grant award enables awardees to pursue the important work of engaging new audiences in conversations around stories of significance to Californians.”

Since 2003, Cal Humanities has supported approximately 400 story projects and granted over $2.8 million to enable communities to voice, record, and share histories – many previously untold or little known. Through video, photography, murals, zines, documentary theater, audio projects, and more, these collected stories have been shared with broad audiences, both live and virtual. Cal Humanities is an independent non-profit state partner of the National endowment for the Humanities.

For more information on Cal Humanities, please visit http://www.calhum.org.

THE SANTA ANA PUBLIC LIBRARY IS LOCATED AT: 26 CIVIC CENTER PLAZA (corner of Civic Center and Ross)


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.


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