Wild Times Continue with Susan Robb @ GCAC!

August 8, 2014

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If you’ve been to Grand Central Art Center over the past few months, then you know just how “wild” it’s been, following artist Susan Robb on her journey to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) through her Wild Times project.

Susan began her trek in Campo, Mexico in April, recently passing the half way mark and today is making camp in Ashland, OR, on her way to the finishing mark of Manning BC, Canada.

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You can follow her travel through the “transmissions” on the Wild Times website and by visiting GCAC to see the 2D, 3D and written transmissions in person.

More details on the project at GCAC can be found on our blog at:
https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/susan-robb-wild-times-opening-reception-53-gcac/

Wild Times is a project of Creative Capital and is supported by Grand Central Art Center, Palm Springs Art Museum, 826 Valencia, Tacoma Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, and the Henry Art Gallery.

Generous in-kind support has been provided by MakerBot, Microsoft, Projecteo, Washington Trails Association, and Whole Foods Market.

We look forward to having you join us!


GCAC Intern Off to Grad School @ School of the Art Institute Chicago!

May 11, 2013

In the words of GCAC intern Ariel Gentalen as she completes her internship and heads to Chicago for grad school…

ariel pic

The first word that comes to mind while reflecting on my year as an intern at Grand Central Art Center is community. It is John Spiak’s unflinching commitment to partnerships and involvement that created a beneficial learning environment to expand my understanding of the inner workings of the art world. I was also fortunate to be working with the supportive and welcoming staff that makes Grand Central such a lovely place to be on a day-to-day basis.

My time at Grand Central began after a last minute, and insane, road trip to Portland, OR to attend Open Engagement 2012 conference. It was ultimately an adventure that developed into one of the most important experiences of my undergraduate career. I say adventure, because CSUF Professor Gretchen Potts drove myself and two other art students 16 hours in a rented Prius, to attend. At the time it didn’t seem like a flawed plan, but upon our arrival, as we sat across from each other at lunch as speechless zombies from exhaustion, we realized flying there might have been easier. After a quick nap, we attended panel discussions focused on integrating social practice into museums, outlining successful education programs in museums and galleries, as well as creating alternative spaces for creativity where established institutions have none. I met and conversed with individuals who were responsible for creating dynamic public programming and working directly with communities. These meetings helped me conclude that this must be my career path, not only to fulfill my own passions, but also to guide others in a similar fashion. Connecting with John at the conference and seeing him speak on the “It Turns our There is Room for Everyone: Museums and Social Practice” panel, I knew that I wanted to work with someone so devoted to the tide of Social Practice art and how it benefits surrounding communities. One week after the conference, I began my GCAC internship.

Over the course of the summer and the following year, I was lucky enough to work with an amazing list of artists in residence, assisting in the realization of projects – from contacting surrounding Santa Ana organizations trying to recruit baseball players for Adam Moser’s MLB project; to sitting on the floor of the AIR apartment with Lisa Bielawa conversing about art and music culture in Orange County; to sharing mouthwatering arepa cooked by current GCAC Project Room exhibiting artist Saskia Jorda. As an Art History major, you spend the majority of your time studying flashcards, reading verbose art theory and attempting to comprehend what the omnipresent art world is – and how you eventually want to fit into it. It is a testament to the power of informal learning experiences – being a fly on the wall during meetings or grant writing discussions –which provided the opportunity for a demystification of what it means to operate in the art world. Grand Central also connected me to Project Access, through an opportunity to produce and run a workshop in partnership with their teen program hosted at Santa Ana Community College. Throughout my year here, there has been nothing but support, whether it comes in the form of pitch meetings for public programming. allowing for time off during grad school application panic, or other on campus leadership duties. It has been a truly rewarding and informative year in how to operate as an advocate of the arts.

Next week, I will be flying (we learned our lesson – no more road trips) out to Portland with fellow student and friend Karla Monterrey to attend Open Engagement once again. It may be painfully cliché, but I embrace the cyclical journey this past year at Grand Central has provided me. I am so excited to be critically engaged for three days of intense art focused discussion, this time with a well-rested and attentive brain. Karla and I are committed to taking and applying all of the conversations at Open Engagement with us to graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is my hope to engage communities the way John and the Grand Central Art Center has done with CSUF and Santa Ana, as well as nurture a future generation of critical citizens.

Ariel Gentalen
CSUF, BA in Art History, Minor in Women’s Studies, ‘13


Dream of Playing in the Major Leagues (MLB)? – Join GCAC Artist in Residence Adam Moser and Tryout!

May 30, 2012

Grand Central Art Center is pleased to announce our next Social Practice Artist in Residence – Portland, OR based artist and athlete Adam Moser.  
 

Moser will realize his lifelong dream of playing in the big leagues by trying out for Major League Baseball (MLB). Recognizing he is not alone in this dream, Moser is looking for individuals of our GCAC community in order to form a 9-member tryout team, the Cut-Off Men. 

Team members must be in good physical shape, available to attend events the evening of June 11 and available the complete day of tryouts on June 12 from 6am-10pm. Team members must also be 25 years or older and will be required to sign both the MLB and Grand Central Art Center release of liability forms. Team members must supply their own cleats, gloves, bats and equipment.  GCAC will be supplying team jerseys.  

The public is invited to a free ball signing event and Dutch Treat Dinner on June 11. The first 50 people will receive an autographed baseball, signed by the entire team. 

Details on the dinner can be found at: https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/invitation-to-dutch-treat-dinner-ball-signing-june-11-%C2%AD-please-join-us/

The next morning, June 12, the nine members will load into the team van and make their way to the official 2012 Major League Scouting Bureau U.S. Tryout Camp in Compton, CA. 

The complete team will show off their skills for the scouts and stay for the entire day, before returning that evening for an official team press conference to be held in our GCAC AIR clubhouse. 

If you are interested in joining Adam’s team and trying our for Major League Baseball, please sign-up in person at Grand Central Art Center or by sending an email to gcacmlb@gmail.com 

Adam will be selecting his teammates if more than eight individuals sign-up.

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


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

May 24, 2012

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

Shannon Jackson (Open Engagement Keynote)

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

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

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

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

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


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!