SERVING STUDENTS OF OUR CAL STATE UNIVERSITY FULLERTON COMMUNITY

November 8, 2012

Grand Central Art Center takes great pride in being a unit of the Cal State University Fullerton College of the Arts. This relationship allows us to engage our students in meaningful ways. GCAC works to enhance the educational experience through visiting artists in residence and programs that place our students into direct conversation and experience outside the classroom and studio.

This past week was packed with such opportunities.

Artist in Residence Brent Green traveled to CSUF main campus two days last week to visit with students in both the Advance Character Animation and Short Filmmaking classes taught by Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Entertainment Art/Animation, Chuck Grieb. Brent screened past works for the students, shared his background and a few of his past experiences, including: presenting his work six times at the Sundance Film Festival; installation projects at such venues as the UCLA Hammer, SITE Santa Fe and Berkeley Art Museum; and performances at venues including MOMA, Walker Art Center and EMPAC in Troy, NY. It was a lively presentation, with Brent sharing his passion, drive and creative energy. Brent is scheduled to speak to a few more classes in the coming weeks and will be working on the installation of his upcoming exhibition, To Many Men Strange Fates Art Given, which will open on Saturday, December 1st in the main gallery at Grand Central Art Center. We thank Chuck for allowing us to take over two days of classes and thank Brent for his continued inspiration!

Julie Orser, Assistant Professor in Creative Photograph at CSUF, brought her class over for a sneak preview and conversation with artist Sean C. Flaherty. Sean’s video installation, An Overture in Parts, installed in the GCAC Project Space, opened to the public with a reception this past Saturday. The previous week, our Director/Chief Curator John Spiak, spoke to Orser’s class on the topic of video art and the practice of showing work in this medium. The visit with Sean provided the opportunity to have a more direct conversation with a young artist working in video and installation. He was able to provide quality insight; on his own practice and desires, as well as knowledge he has obtained while working as a studio assist for artist Julian Hoeber. Sean talked about the three works in the current exhibition, how they were first developed, the actual creation process and his family’s reaction to their involvement, and the installation decisions and process. The exchange was energized and conversation quality. Thank you Sean for taking the time and sharing your knowledge with our Students, and Julie, we are so happy you are now part of the CSUF family!

Our First Saturday Art Walk evening began with CONVERSATIONS #2: PUBLIC ART, the second in our series of panels that place current CSUF MFA students working on degrees in specific practice, in conversation with individuals currently successful in that medium, in conversation with individuals who play a role in decision-making within that field. The panel, focused on Public Art, was lead by Kevin Stewart-Magee, current CSUF MFA Student, Painting and Drawing, with panelists Kent Twitchell, Artist/Muralist, and
 Margaret Bruning, Director of Civic Art, LA County Arts Commission. We had a great turnout and Kevin led an informative conversation. The focus was on current policies in public art, structure and best approaches for pursuing projects, and upcoming projects each individual was working towards. Our sincere gratitude to Kevin, Kent and Margaret, you started the evening off right, sharing your knowledge and expertise, it was extremely appreciated.

The next in our series, CONVERSATION #3: SOCIAL PRACTICE is set to occur on the evening of Thursday, November 15 beginning at 7pm. The panel will include artist Sarah Luther, Artist/Educator/Director of MKE<–>LAX Sara Daleiden, current CSUF MFA Student in Exhibition and Design Cassandra Erb, and current CSUF student in Exhibition and Design Kimberly McKinnis. The panel will be in association with the exhibition INTERSTICE: NEW ECONOMIES for CREATIVE COMMUNITIES, curated by Cassandra and Kimberly at the CSUF Begovich Gallery on main campus (800 N. State College Blvd, Fullerton), set to open November 10 from 5-8pm.

We invite you to join us immediately following the panel for a GCAC Dutch Treat Dinner at Izalco Salvadorian Cuisine. There is no pressure – you eat and drink what you order and can afford. And as a special bonus, our artists in residence Brent Green will also be joining us.

Following the panel Saturday evening, artist Tony de los Reyes presented a gallery talk for his current main gallery exhibition Border Theory. The exhibition has received excellent critical review, with outstanding writing by Gustavo Arellano in the OC Weekly, an article by Liz Goldner in ArtScene, and an ArtForum Critics’ Pick by Micol Hebron. Tony provided very in-depth insight into his current body of works, shared his process of the development of the series, and the route his work took to get to where he is today in his thinking. A personal, brilliant and generous talk, as the artist allowed the audience to engage throughout with direct questions and exchange. We are truly honored to have the privilege of premiering this new body of work and give our sincere thanks to Tony for allowing us this opportunity. We have extended the exhibition through November 18th, so you still have time to see the exhibition in person.

Saturday also marked the opening reception of two new exhibitions, the previously mentioned An Overture in Parts by artist Sean C. Flaherty, and the CSUF Student Glass and Ceramics Exhibition and Sale. Organized through the collaborative efforts of CSUF School of Art Associate Professor Nobuhito (Nobu) Nishigawara and Professor and Glass Program Coordinator John Leighton, the exhibition included outstanding quality works in both medium and was extremely well received by our audience. Thank you to the student artists for their hard work and amazing pieces, and thanks to Nobu and John for making this exhibition a reality.

A visit from Skirball Cultural Center, Marketing and Social Media Manager, Lisa Delgin kicked off this week’s activity. Lisa visited Grand Central Art Center to speak with students enrolled in the CSUF Exhibition and Design program with Mike McGee, Professor and Museum Studies Coordinator, Exhibition Design and Museum Studies. She shared her incredible knowledge of current marketing practices within cultural institutions, including the use of print materials (both internal and external), social media approaches, audience survey gathering, event based outreach, and partnering with media outlets. Lisa provided amazing insight and the students were engaged in the conversation, a true benefit for all who attended. Thank you Lisa for taking time out of your busy schedule, making the drive down from LA, and most of all for the energy and inspiration you provided to our CSUF students.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sometimes support of our community neighbors leads to surprising student engagement. Last week we hosted a team meeting for the regional managers of Starbucks Coffee. The team arrived for an early meeting and as we had informal conversations, we discovered that many of the individuals attending the meeting were current CSUF students and alumni. It allowed us to share our current series of exhibitions and talk about opportunities for collaborative efforts and mutually beneficial exchange. A quality group of folks to share our morning.

It is always wonderful to have the opportunity to connect with members of our CSUF Titan family!


What a Weekend @ Grand Central Art Center!

May 7, 2012

We kicked off this past weekend on Friday, by engaging with Social Practice collaborative artists Owen Driggs, through their Performing Public Space Loitering Project.  Invited as part of Jules Rochielle’s Artist in Residence at GCAC, Janet Owen and Matt Driggs took visiting artists Jules Rochielle, Maria Del Carmen Montoya, Christina Sanchez, Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, and Cypress College art professor Ed Giardina and his students Brian Yellowshirt McNamara and Luis Munoz-Najar, on a loitering adventure of Downtown Santa Ana.  Owen Driggs and Maria Del Carmen Montoya were exploring the area in preparation of future visits and activities in associating with Rochielle’s GCAC Artist in Residence throughout the summer and fall.

 

Saturday’s activities started with an outstanding talk by author Gustavo Arellano.  He shared with those in attendance the history of Mexican food in the US, through stories from research for his latest book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.   Following the talk, Gustavo graciously signed copies of the book for those in attendance.  Thank you to Rueben Martinez of Libreia Martinez Book and Art Gallery for providing the publications for the event.  Thank you as well to Gustavo for allowing us this opportunity – sharing your knowledge and providing engaged insights, all with such humor and grace!

 

It was the monthly First Saturday Art Walk in Downtown Santa Ana, as well as Cinco de Mayo, so that could only mean a joyous night of opening receptions and cultural activities throughout the city.

Grand Central Art Center opened three new exhibitions to a very large and receptive audience.  The artists, curators and GCAC team did the center proud, with top quality exhibitions throughout, so we thank them all for their hard work, passion and talent.

The exhibitions included:

Naida Osline: All the Queen’s Men

 

Millard Sheets Studio: The Art of Home Savings and Loan

Curated by Concepcion Rodriguez and Wendy Sherman

 

Camilla Taylor: The Disagreement

Curated by Yevgeniya Mikhailik

 

Along with Saturday’s three opening receptions, California State University, Fullerton’s student project Evoke Unity engaged with Jules Rocheille’s What is Democracy?, creating an interactive/participatory installation in the GCAC AIR studio space.  Thank you to our outstanding CSUF students for their hard work, dedication and engaged approach to art making.  Many of these students, along with the artists who participated in the loitering of Downtown Santa Ana, will be joining us at the Open Engagement conference in Portland, OR, May 18-20.

 

And what celebration would be complete without some traditional Lucha Libre on the front 2nd Street promenade?  What power, what force, what energy – truly entertaining!

 

Sunday afternoon provided the opportunity for an educated conversation on the work of Millard Sheets and his studio.  The lively and informative panel, Dr. Adam Arenson, Alan Hess, Mike McGee, provide outstanding perspective and historic background to the work of this artist, designer and architect.  They shared their knowledge and research on the importance of the masterful artist and the impact he, along with Howard Ahmanson and Home Savings and Loan, played on the landscape, history and vision of Southern California.

 

And to round out the weekend activities, members of Southern California Artists (SCA) joined GCAC Director/Chief Curator John D. Spiak for an evening of conversation at the center.  The group discussed the current series of exhibitions, the future vision and residency programs of GCAC, and shared views on Social Practice.

Thank you to all that continue to participate and contribute to the programming of Grand Central Art Center, we truly appreciate your support, enthusiasm and insights!


Openings, Social Practice, Book Signing, Lucha Libre, More – Cinco de Mayo (5/5) @ GCAC

April 23, 2012

CINCO DE MAYO WEEKEND
IN DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA!!!!!

Please join us for First Saturday, May 5
and Sunday, May 6!

OPENING RECEPTIONS @ GCAC, 7-10PM:
Naida Osline: All The Queens Men
Millard Sheets Studio: The Art of Home Savings and Loan
Camilla Taylor: The Disagreement

SOCIAL PRACTICE ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, MAY 2-5
Jules Rochielle: What is Democracy?
with additional invited artist in residence Carmen Montoya

TALK/BOOK SIGNING @ GCAC – May 5, 1-5PM:
Gustavo Arellano: Taco USA

ADDITIONAL DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA ART OPENINGS:
Random Acts of Time @ Orange County Center for Contemporary Art
The Knights Debut @ Grand Opening of Q Art Salon Space
Group Exhibition @ GCS Santa Ana
Open Studios and Galleries @ Santora Building

LUCHA LIBRE: WORLD POWER WRESTLING
Full Ring Wrestling @ GCAC 2nd Street Promenade

CALLE CUATRO: OC’s LARGEST CINCO DE MAYO
Activities Throughout Downtown Santa Ana, May 5 & 6

MILLARD SHEETS EXHIBITION PANEL @ GCAC – MAY 6, 2PM:
Dr. Adam Arenson, Alan Hess, Mike McGee

See details below for a complete list of all the activities
occurring throughout the day…

Dany (Royalty Series), 2012. Courtesy of the Artist

Naida Osline: All the Queen’s Men
May 5 – June 17, 2012
Main Gallery
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/ArtGallery_gcartgallery.php

Naida Osline: All the Queen’s Men presents two separate, but
related, bodies of photo-based work from the artist’s residency
at Grand Central Art Center from November 2011 through
January 2012.

The two series consists of formal portraits of subjects who are
photographed in the studio against a neutral backdrop, mostly
members of the Santa Ana community. One series models are
middle-aged men; the other of women and men dressed in drag.
Each series bring up ideas about identity, power, representation,
gender, fame, beauty, aging and fashion.

Millard Sheets, Home Savings and Loan Mosaic Mural. Image credit, M.O. Quinn

Millard Sheets Studio: The Art of Home Savings & Loan
Curated by Concepción Rodriguez and Wendy Sherman
May 5 – June 17, 2012
Project Gallery
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/ArtGallery_Project.php

Millard Sheets: The Art of Home Savings & Loan creates a renewed
awareness of the Home Savings & Loan mosaic murals located
throughout Southern California, originally designed by the Millard
Sheets Studio. Included in the exhibition are images of the mosaics,
original works of art, sketches, supporting documentation and
images of the restoration process of the Rolling Hills Estates mural.
The exhibition focuses on five of the mosaic murals located in the
communities of Temple City, Rolling Hills Estates, Anaheim, Pomona
and Santa Ana.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Sunday, May 6th, 2012 at 2pm
Panel will primarily address the Millard Sheets Studio, which included
Millard Sheets, SueHertel, Denis O’Connor, and others who contributed
to the Home Savings & Loan project.

Confirmed participants include: Dr. Adam Arenson – Assistant Professor
of History at the University of Texas, El Paso. Is currently completing
research for abookon the art and architecture of Home Savings & Loan.
Alan Hess – Architecture critic and historian, with a particular emphasis
on mid century modernism. Mike McGee – Gallery Director of the
Begovich Gallery, Professor and ProgramDirector of Exhibition Design
and Museum Studies at California State University, Fullerton.

But I Didn’t Know, 2012. Courtesy of the Artist.

Camilla Taylor: The Disagreement
May 5 – June 24, 2012
Education Gallery
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/ArtGallery_Rental.php

Comprised of two-dimensional and three-dimensional prints, generated
through relief printing, Camilla Taylor’s work explores the concepts of
narrative, repetition and what has been referred to as “otherness.”
The artist references the capacity people have to project onto, or
empathize, with objects that have similarities to humans.

Young Women Think-Tank, with Teen Space of the Santa Ana Public Library

Jules Rochielle: Social Practice Artist in Residence
Through May 2012
https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/field-report-from-artist-residence-jules-rochielle/

Meet Jules Rochielle, our current GCAC Artist in Residence, and
engage with her project What is Democracy?. Jules will continue to be in
residence through the end of May, then return in the fall for the second
part of her residency.

May 2nd- May 5th: Jules Rochielle has invited artist Carmen Montoya
for a short residency here at GCAC, in hopes of running a set of
community art making workshops. Carmen has been actively engaged
with a group known as Pineros y Camesinos Unidos del Noroeste
(Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), which is Oregon’s
union of farmworkers, nursery, and reforestation workers, and Oregon’s
largest Latino organization.Jules will work with Carmen and the community
to create a set of powerful images to take back to the Pineros y
Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste.

A complete list of activities for the last week of April and beginning of May
can be found at the Field Report: Blog Posting by Jules Rochielle:
https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/field-report-from-artist-residence-jules-rochielle/

Talk/Book Signing
Gustavo Arellano: Taco USA
1pm talk, followed by book signing
Grand Central Art Center Theater
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2012/03/gustavo_arellano_s_taco_usa_reviewed_.html

Nationally syndicated columnist and bestselling author of ¡Ask a Mexican!
Gustavo Arellano presents an entertaining, tasty trip through the history
and culture of Mexican food in this country, uncovering great stories and
charting the cuisine’s tremendous popularity in el Norte. In the tradition of
Bill Buford’s Heat and Calvin Trillin’s The Tummy Trilogy, Arellano’s
fascinating narrative combines history, cultural criticism, personal
anecdotes, and Jesus on a tortilla.

ADDITIONAL DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA ART OPENINGS:


Random Acts of Time
@ Orange County Center for Contemporary Art
Juror/Curated by William Moreno
http://www.occca.org/index.html

The Knights Debut
@ Grand Opening of Q Art Salon Space
http://www.qartsalon.com/

Group Exhibition
@ GCS Santa Ana
http://www.gcssantaana.com/blog/

Open Studios and Galleries
@ Santora Building
http://www.aplaceforart.org/galleries/santora

ADDITIONAL DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA ACTIVITIES:

LUCHA LIBRE: WORLD POWER WRESTLING
Full Ring Wrestling @ GCAC 2nd Street Promenade
Presented by Downtown Inc.
http://www.downtown-santaana.com/Event/first_saturdays_art_walk_-_may_5th_2012

CALLE CUATRO: OC’s LARGEST CINCO DE MAYO
@ Downtown Santa Ana, May 5 & 6:
http://callecuatro.com/

PARKING:
Car Parking on 3rd Street (structure @ Sycamore) / Bike Parking on 2nd
Additional Structures @ 4th St. & Spurgeon and 3rd St. & Birch St.
Surface Lot @ 3rd St. & Bush St.

GALLERY HOURS:
Closed Mondays and Holidays
Tuesdays – Sundays 11.00 am – 4.00 pm.
Extended hours: Friday & Saturday 11.00am – 7.00 pm.
(First Saturday of the month galleries are open until 10.00 pm)
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/maps.php

We look forward to having you join us!

GRAND CENTRAL ART CENTER
a unit of Cal State University Fullerton’s College of the Arts
125 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
t. 714.567.7233
w. http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com
Blog. https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com
fb. https://www.facebook.com/pages/CSUF-Grand-Central-Art-Center/44510429914


THE CACOPHONY SOCIETY ZONE SHOW

January 18, 2012

THE CACOPHONY SOCIETY ZONE SHOW:
YOU MAY ALREADY BE A MEMBER

February 4 – April 15, 2012

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH EVENTS:
OPENING RECEPTION:

7:00-10:00 p.m. (GCAC – Free)

COCKTAIL RECEPTION:
3:00-4:00 p.m. (Yost Theater – Ticketed Event)

FILM BENEFIT SCREENING:
4:00 p.m. (Yost Theater – Ticketed Event)

Q&A
MODERATED BY MARK FRAUNFELDER 
(boingboing.net):
5:30 p.m. (Yost Theater – Ticketed Event)

BLOCK PARTY:
6:30-11:00 p.m. (2nd Street – Free)

THE CACOPHONY SOCIETY ZONE SHOW:
YOU MAY ALREADY BE A MEMBER

February 4 – April 15, 2012
http://www.grandcentralartcenter.com/ArtGallery_gcartgallery.php

EXHIBITION:
The Cacophony Society Zone Show is a retrospective look at the
Cacophony Society, a national collective of guerrilla artists, dada
pranksters and various eccentrics pursuing “experiences beyond
the mainstream.” Dedicated to activities mocking societal
expectations, sacred cows and good taste, The Cacophony
Society evolved from the San Francisco Suicide Club and its
members were chief organizers of the Burning Man Festival
in Northern Nevada. The Society’s pranking served as inspiration
for the activities of Project Mayhem in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.
The exhibition transforms the museums main gallery into a wildly
immersive environment filled with photos, graphics, video, props,
costumes, and original art from Society events.

BLOCK PARTY:
The Feburary 4th opening will be celebrated with a block party
featuring carnivalesque music and performance from Fancy
Space People, Clowns & Fetuses, Bieno Svengali, Eric Cash
and other artists associated with the Society.

COCKTAIL RECEPTION, FILM BENEFIT SCREENING AND Q&A
(*Ticketed Events):
This benefit preview screening of the documentary Into the Zone:
The Story of the Cacophony Society will be held at the historic
Yost Theater, only a few blocks from the Grand Central Art Center.
From 3-4pm, a cocktail reception will be held at the theater’s bar,
followed by screening and Q&A with Mark Fraunfelder (boingboing.net)
interviewing filmmaker Jon Alloway and Cacophony instigators
John Law, Danger Ranger, Chuckles Klown, and Reverend Al.
The film features extensive rarely seen footage as well exclusive
interview of Chuck Palahniuk on his experiences with the Society.

(ABOUT THE YOST: Recently re-opened, this 100-year-old theater
formerly served the area in a dual capacity: vaudeville palace upstairs
and basement holding cells dedicated to Orange County drunks and
criminals.)

*Advance tickets recommended:
http://www.yosttheater.com/calendar/2011/into-the-zone-the-story-of-the-cacophony-society-benefit-preview-screening/

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
In-Kind support of this exhibition and programs provided by:
Yost Theater
Media support provided by:
Juxtapoz Magazine

CURATORS:
This exhibition was organized by former Grand Central Art Center
Interim Director Mike Mcgee, members of the LA Cacophony Society
and students of Cal State Fullerton’s Exhibition Design/Museum
Studies Program.


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