Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Artists, Scientists and Educators Collaborate: "DNA of Creativity" Exhibition at OMA Shares Their Work

Michelle Kurtis Cole "Fragiles"  kiln casted and hand carved transparent glass   2014
DNA of Creativity
Collaborative Project
Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside CA
Article written by Cathy Breslaw

The DNA of Creativity exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art is the result of an approximately three year collaboration between forty artists, scientists and educators. Spearheaded by the San Diego Visual Arts Network and the recipient of grant money for this project, it was designed to examine the connections between art and science and to enhance the understanding of the general public about these topics. During the development of this project, four teams emerged, each group focusing on separate initiatives.  The teams include: Sea Changes:ACT, Urban Succession, PolyAesthetic Mapping: The Muses, and SD View Art Now.  The project Sea Changes:ACT brings awareness to critical ocean changes, climate change, plastic pollution and over-fishing through their display of coral-like glass art pieces, sculptures, video and a virtual underwater installation - all of which were designed to promote community action around these issues.  The Urban Succession team worked collaboratively to design, fabricate and install a series of organically shaped sculptural homes for urban organisms specific to San Diego. This team asked the question: “What if we embraced the organisms(spiders, possums,  lizards, skunks, raccoons, crickets, etc) as equal citizens of the earth and shared the space with them?” Their exhibited sculptures all have practical application to actual physical sites in the San Diego area, designed to help equalize our ecosystem. The team PolyAesthetic Mapping: The Muses investigated the relationship between the concepts of ‘aesthetics’  and ‘mapping’, in an effort to make sense out of our expressions of human emotional experience and a mathematical model was designed to help explain it.  They also devised nine ‘muses’ in an effort to create categories  of an aesthetic  experience, further helping us to understand how we navigate between ‘thinking’ and a ‘sensory experience’. Lastly, SD View Art Now created a way to locate current accurate information about visual arts events taking place in San Diego county through the use of the latest technology linking the San Diego Visual Arts Network calendar events with mobile and home devices. Information is keyed into the user’s current location using GPS and can be accessed by either residents or visitors in this geographical area.  This exhibition is packed with art gleaned from long term collaborations related to the results of the four teams. This show is a complex yet intriguing intellectually and visually stimulating experience. There are hands on educational opportunities as well as panel discussions planned throughout the life of this exhibition which ends August 3rd. Further information can be gained by visiting each team’s websites:

Sea Changes: ACT,
Urban Succession,  www.urban
PolyAesthetic Mapping: The Muses(PAMM),
SD View Art Now,

Vicki Leon   Photoscopia   2009 - 2014   metal,glass,acrylic

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Deborah DeLisi and One Minute Mandalas at SDVAN sponsored Mission Federal ArtWalk

Deborah DeLisi presented her One-Minute Mandalas in the SDVAN sponsored Mission Federal ArtWalk participation booth on Sat/Sun, April 26/27 from 11am – 6 pm on India at Cedar. The weather was a challenge but the crowds were huge, friendly and happy.  We are very grateful to Deborah and all the volunteers that helped her. Contact Deborah for more information on these workshops. Below you can read her report on the event in her own words, followed by an appreciation from Sandi Cottrell who is the managing director of the Art Walk organization.

Deborah DeLisi:
I estimate that during Mission Federal ArtWalk we inspired about 800-900 artists who stopped by the SDVAN booth to create a unique mandala. We were paid in priceless smiles, and I know at least one little girl who is going to decorate her bedroom with the mandalas she made. She is Taylor, the daughter of Angie from Mission Federal, who was on two local morning TV shows with me last week. Taylor made about 5-6 mandalas and so did her brother Cody. They were my best 'customers' and a delight.

During ArtWalk, I recognized some kids who came by BOTH days, and that was nice to see that they enjoyed it so much they wanted to do it again. What I love about this project is that EVERYONE SUCCEEDS at it. There are no mistakes, and everyone is amazed at what they can create, and the simplicity of the process. Seeing the reaction of the attendees as they unfolded their paper and watched their art develop was something of which I never tired.  

One attendee was a grandpa who was looking for something to do when he watches his grandkids. He loved making his mandala, and can't wait to do it with his family. I had at least a dozen art teachers, school teachers and art enthusiasts who volunteered for after-school enrichment programs for kids. I spent a bit more time with them, going over the steps, telling them where to buy the stencils and bling, and why this is a great activity for kids. One teacher was so excited after making her mandala that she is going to have her class make them for Mother's Day gifts. One young girl is going to make the folded-paper mandalas with her friends at her birthday party. How fun! My booth helpers all said they had so much fun too. 

I want to THANK each of my volunteers so very, very much for giving up their time, energy, and coming to Little Italy, to pitch in for non-stop art activities with kids of all ages. There were fewer breaks than I had hoped for, and any lunch breaks we had were later than I wanted them and shorter too. But my amazing volunteers rolled with it, and gave 1000% and I appreciate it so much. I'd like to personally thank: Destiny, Vicki, Olaf, Hector, Steve, Dani (Danielle), and Carmen. They were AMAZING, ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. 

Sandi, thank you for responding to all my texts and calls when I needed things at the booth. My calls for help came fast and it was much appreciated and made things flow smoothly. I'd like Angie at Mission Federal to know that the sponsorship of ArtWalk created so much joy for others. I hope ALL the artists did well. I didn't get to walk around but what little I saw was inspiring. 

Patricia, thank you for approaching me last year with the idea to lead this activity at the SDVAN booth this year. I had a blast. It reminded me how much I enjoy working with kids. I was 11 years old when I started a business I called "Art School". I wrote advertisements on pieces of paper and placed them in the mailboxes of parents on my street that had young kids. I didn't like babysitting, but I liked doing things with kids (it was more fun.) I charged $1 an hour per child, and I supplied all the materials. We sat around a picnic table in my basement and made things with popsicle sticks, paper plates, and other kid-friendly materials. Until this weekend, I forgot how much fun I had with "Art School".
Thank you for giving me the opportunity for such fun and joy during ArtWalk. 

PS- there were plenty of leftover materials for many, many Art Reach projects. 

Sandi Cottrell, Managing Director, ArtWalk San Diego to Deb DeLisi

The weekend got off to such a rocky start.  Having said that…your area was AMAZING!  I saw so many happy people walking away with their artwork, and you had it beautifully organized. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making this happen. From the beginning you were so organized and professional, I can’t imagine a better project or more lovely person to lead the project.  I greatly appreciate the countless hours you spent on this. 

Deb DeLisi

Sand Mandalas

Deb DeLisi photo by Rosemary KimBal

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Peter Frank: The Art of Jurying, The Art of Curating - Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?

by Patricia Frischer and Joe Nalven

"Judging an exhibition is not the same process as is curating one. In many ways, in fact, it is the opposite. A curator deduces an exhibition theme or subject from prior observation and then goes out into the field to search for and secure artists and artworks appropriate to the theme or subject. Curating is proactive. A judge is present[ed with] so many artworks submitted by so many artists and culls from that roster of submissions.... Judging is, at least initially, passive. But one process feeds the other:  curatorial experience enhances the ability to shape a competitive show from its givens, and judging exposes the judge to previously unknown artworks, and artists, a few of whom might be appropriate for down the line curated exhibitions."  Peter Frank  

[Read more of the juror statement and see the award winners and several of the accepted art at the online catalog for the San Diego Art Institute’s 2014 Southern California / Baja Norte Juried Exhibition.]

Peter Frank juried the San Diego Art Institute's 2014 Southern California / Baja Norte Exhibition. He gave a talk at SDAI - actually more of a Q & A that illuminated his decisions about curating and jurying generally and more specifically about jurying this exhibition. 

The overriding commentary was one of his openness to the range of entries - of artist styles, media, and the like, that had been viewed essentially as online jpegs. Jurying is becoming more and more of an online submission process, leaving room for concern regarding surface texture, scale and how accurate the digital representation of the actual artwork is (unless that artwork is digital). 

Peter Frank, An Explanation                                         Image Credit: Joe Nalven

Peter Frank touched on many topics during this exchange. The following is a summary of his responses:

1. He is fond of both curated and juried shows. They offer him different experiences.
2. He included one work only by each artist in order to have as many artists included and filled to the higher allotment of 103 works instead of at the low of 75.  He said he did not give a preference to artists who submitted one image versus one that might have submitted a dozen images, but he liked to see more than one work to help him make the decision.
3. He chooses work that surprised and stimulated him.
4. He purposely did not think of how the show would look.
5. He does not think of himself as a professional juror but instead uses his professional experience to make decisions about the quality of the work. There are always personal preferences, but he tries not to let that influence him.
6. He  is freelance and does not work in any one space.  He prefers to leave it to the director and  installers  to best hang the space for maximum effect.
7. Although size and texture are limitations of seeing work online, there were few surprises of images not looking as good as they did online, and several actually looked better than they did online.
8. He values and respects each artist and considers it a privilege to see the work.
9. He does not like to jury themed exhibits since artists often put in 'anything' when they couldn't find something that meshed with the theme. His approach is to dismiss the theme and continue to choose what he thinks are the best works.
10. He, at first, did not admit to much of a bias (perhaps a preference for line), but at the  end of the talk he spoke of preferring the cacophony of the art exhibit to the bass beat/cacophony of what was outside the gallery. Was he referring to the vast world of commercial imagery or to the chaos of imagery assaulting us from every direction in today's world?
12.  He said that he didn't see much difference in the type (or quality?) of art being shown in San Diego versus New York or elsewhere. He added that curated shows work to find 'schools or art'  or at least a commonality of works.
13. He said he was open to digital media which provided artists with new tools to explore their subjects.

Apropos of such experimentation, here is Joe's other favorite from last night. The lighting from above gave the image an eerie touch.

Peter Frank, A Second Explanation                             Image Credit:  Joe Nalven
One question that surfaced is whether you choose the best works; or do you qualify that selection in some way so that you choose the works that make the best show. To the extent that the difference is one of forcing a curatorial overlay, the result might be a better show, which would raise the reputation of the exhibiting venue in the community and thus get more viewers eager to see the exhibit. In effect: The needs of the many would outweigh the needs of the few.

Or, arguing the contrary, is any overlay beyond the best artworks too ambitious for a juror?

Bhavna Mehta / Losing is an Art                      (Juror's Choice)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DNA of Creativity at Oceanside Musuem of Art

Introduction by Patricia Frischer, coordinator, San Diego Visual arts Network

DNA of Creativity at the Oceanside Museum of Art (The Groves Gallery and Auditorium, 704 Pier View Way Oceanside, 92054) features work completed by the grant recipients SD View Art Now (a smart phone app to locate local arts events near you), Sea Changes: Act (project featuring ways to save our ocean), Urban Succession (preserving wild life in urban settings), PAMM - PolyAesthetic Mapping: The Muses (ways to think about the collaborations that artists and scientist experience). Worksare on exhibition from Sat April 12 to Aug 4, 2014, More info Patricia Frischer 760.943.0148: Danielle Susalla 760.435.3721DNA of Creativity Workshops and seminars:
Sea Changes: Act - Sunday, April 27, 1 to 5 pm, Interactive art project during the for
Earth Day Festival/Oceanside Days of Art
Pamm Art and Science - Tuesday, June 17, 7- 8:30pm, DNA of Creativity PechaKucha Lecture with 1-2 artists from each team. The lecture will begin and end with a
PAMM microtonal performance with poetry and Photoscopia demonstration.
Urban Succession Family Art Day - Sunday, August 3, 1- 4pm, Free Art & Science themed interactive workshops

The DNA of Creativity was initiated in 2011 to put together teams of artists and scientists. We had very high goals. We hoped to make the complexities of art and science accessible while showcasing the aesthetics of both. We intended to enhance the viewing public’s perception of creativity and its role in our lives as thriving, positive, empowered and fun. We wanted to re-enforce the idea of San Diego as an Art and Science destination. Invigorating students of all ages to support the arts and sciences either as participants or beneficiaries was essential.

We had a stellar selection committee who chose the four grant recipients: Harvey Seifter - Art of Science Learning Director producing the nationwide Innovation Incubator. Ron Newby - Bronowski Art and Science Forum and Ruth West Research Associate, UCSD Research in Computing and the Arts and now Associate Professor and Director, xREZ lab at University of North Texas.

When you take on projects that take over three years to produce, you know you have to have a passion for the subject. My first reason for calling together teams, with both artists and scientists, was very simple and quite selfish. I am an artist and my husband Darwin Slindee is a physicist. I wanted to make sure we could spend time together. But my passion turned into my privilege. I have learned so much from the more than 50 participants that crossed the finish line and are showing, have shown and will continue to show the results of their investigations.

The Pezzoli family lost their daughter Alyssa  last year in a terrible surfing tragedy.  Her mother Marjorie who is part of the Sea Changes: Act team said, “It really hit me tonight why jellyfish will always be important to me...I was thinking about Alyssa, tears streaming down my face, I looked up at the lights, the distortion caused the sight of a jellyfish. They are an indicator of climate change and plastic pollution. The ocean and the beaches have always been playground of Alyssa's, that's why I want to protect them for all generations.”

This strong belief in the value of being connected is a theme that runs through all the teams. Jason Rogalsk, leader of the Urban Succession team, realized that his project to shine a light on urban wildlife by providing artist made homes for them was not just about the wild creatures living amongst us, it  was about ecosystems.  David Lipson thought that debris from gutters was probably toxic waste, but found that within Jeremy Gercke’s inventive Soil Blind sculpture it is a rich source of life.

Both projects go further than just using art to make people care or to illustrate scientific facts. They worked on the Inner-connectivity of art and science. As a result artists increasingly became more scientific, while the scientists embraced art.  This is nowhere more clear than in the PolyAethestic Mapping: The Muses.  The DNA of Creativity changed lives. Kaz Maslanka through hours and hours of team work discovered the muses which made his very abstract process of exploration of complex concept more accessible. He says, “ It was as if all I had done was throw a bucket of paint into the air and the muses just appeared.”  Vicki Leon has embraced the muses which came out of the polyaesthetic system. She says that their influence has expanded her areas of focus and allowed her to call upon their creative inspiration to explore new territory.

Yes, there are challenges of managing large teams. Meetings over time helped members to gain respect for each other and eventually become friends. Groups had to be flexible in order to  expand their ideas, Everyone learned new facts like how photographer’s strobe lights hurt live coral  and ultimately how to make what was examined safe from direct human contact. Michelle Kurtis Cole’s experiments using glass instead of other coral as a substrate to regenerate coral could change the way the ocean is being helped to help itself.

Working together as a team with personal passion for the subject and some financial support had advantages.   These included greater production rates, opportunities to work on a larger scale, gaining new audience and learning and using new techniques. Team members could learn as they go and were fearless once they trusted that they could make mistakes and still move forward.   Jeremy Gerecke said he found, “…an artistic direction that incorporates more that pure aesthetics.  Work that can have a life after being on display, it can be studied and have a life of its own.” 
In many cultures that we admire, art and culture are woven into the everyday fabric of life. This manages to happen without the art losing it status, power or affect. We are grateful to the Oceanside Museum of Art and our curator Danielle Susalla Deery and the Museum of Monterey for acknowledging this merging of art and science on a scale equal to the efforts of our DNA of Creativity team members. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DNA of Creativitty at Oceanside Museum of Art

Grant RecipientsSD View Art Now (a smart phone app to locate local arts events near you) Patricia Frischer, Emily Kay, Denise Bonaimo Sarram, Alison Renshaw
Sea Changes: Act (a project featuring  plastic pollution) Michelle Kurtis Cole, Kira Carrillo Corser, Lauren Carrera, 
Dale Sweetnam, Caitlan B. Whalen, Debb Solan, Marjorie Pezzoli.   Urban Succession (preserving wildlife in urban settings) Jason Rogalski, Jean Tsau, Dr. David Lipson, Jeremy Gercke, Jonathan AustinPAMM - PolyAesthetic Mapping: The Muses (ways to think about the collaborations that artists and scientist experience) Kaz Maslanka, Vicki Leon,Microtonal music by Jonathan Glasier, Joe Monzo, Arthur Frick, AntiQuark and poetry by Ted Washington,  Jeffery Haynes, Brianna DelGuidice
704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, 92054
More info: 760.943.0148 or OMA 760-435-3721
Opening Reception and the events below are Free for OMA members and $10 for nonmembers
  • Sunday, April 27 from 1- 5 p.m. – Sea Changes: ACT will run an interactive art project during the Free Family Art Day/Oceanside Days of Art and North County Earth Festival, and will include making fish masks, recording fish tales and re-purposing t-shirts into recycled shopping bags.  (Please donate heavy weight t-shirts by bringing them to the OMA opening on April 12!)
  • Tuesday, June 17  from 7- 8:30 p.m. – PAMM and Art and Science Evening featuring DNA of Creativity team members in a PechaKucha-style lecture. It will begin and end with a PAMM microtonal music and poetry performance and Photoscopia demonstration.
  • Sunday, Aug. 3 from 1- 4 p.m. – Urban Succession Family Art Day including free art and science-themed workshops including learning to use a light microscope, basics about arachnids and how to weave your own web.
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
Free admission the first Sunday of every month, general admission $8, seniors $5, and free for students and members of the military.
P.S. Don't forget Sat April 26, 7 pm when we are making a DNA of Creativity presentation before the performance of RED at the San Diego REPertory Theatre  in Horton Plaza. This is a FREE event or you can stay and see the play about Mark Rothko and if you buy tickets, $10 goes to SDVAN if you use code SDVAN.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Collaborative Art Making: Live Arts Festival and Visualizing the Dance

by Joe Nalven

The San Diego Dance Theater under the leadership of Jean Isaacs continues to amuse, enchant, and otherwise provoke the avid consumer of the arts. Yes, many in San Diego pay attention to sports, movies and the beaches; but when the spinning worlds of recreation slows to an appreciation of the moving arts, the attentive find themselves in Jean Isaacs' programming. 

The sultry tango / practice session with students of Colette Hebert

bkSOUL / Collective Purpose Love H.E.R. practice session, April 15, 2014 - a synthesis of the spoken word poetry and dance
Led by Grace Shinhae Jun, bkSOUL embraces several movement 
and oral traditions and redefining hip hop in the process.
From Half & Half / practice session

From withviv practice session

How does Jean Isaacs see these new works in the context of the type of dance theater she's espoused and developed:

Jean Isaacs:  This festival is for niche audiences, those that want innovative programming, not more of the same. The idea is one of attending the show with a sense of adventure: What will I see tonight?

In general, the Live Arts Fest dances attracts a more youthful audience; however, the Aging Creatively evening on April 16 features our seniors and  they will fill the house to support programming that showcases folks that look like them. 

Here are some of the many live arts being offered: The first evening features bkSOUL's Love H.E.R.; it has spoken word poetry, hip hop, and modern dance. Other, compelling performances -- all of them are really compelling, but there are those that give one pause: The Animal Cracker Conspiracy features puppets for adult audiences (not pornography, but adult -- we struggle with language at times); this performance is by two of San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst artists, Bridget Rountree and Ian Gunn.

bkSOUL / Collective Purpose Love H.E.R. practice session, April 15, 2014 at White Box venue

From withviv practice session
Who is viv with viv?

We're heading into unknown territory here....
Can we make excellent dance through joy and collaboration?
We're hungry to find out.

vîv began as eight artists rethinking
how we practice and train together
how we create work together
how we build community

We've started PEER Practices, a new kind of dance class.
We've taken action and commissioned OUROBOROS, the work that we want to perform.

We're building new ways of making a life in dance.

Carlos Villatoro / practice session / flamenco
Carlos Villatoro with dance group / Flamenco / White Box
There are also two Latino-inspired performances, the Latino evening features flamenco, tango, and salsa dance in a party atmosphere; also, Grupo Minerva Tapia will be joining us from Tijuana. 

Charles Weidman's Lynchtown is a classic modern dance piece from the 30s. There are so many good things to see.

You really need to see the entire list of performances:  

The Live Arts Festival. starts Tuesday, April 15th and runs through Sunday, April 27th. 

The performances will be at White Box, Liberty Station2590 Truxtun Road, Studio 205, in Point Loma, San Diego, 92106.  

April 15: "Love H.E.R." - bkSOUL (grace shinhae jun) and Collective Purpose

April 16: "Things Lost" - San Diego Dance Theater

April 17: “Latin Night” - Medley of Latin Dance Artists

April 18: “The Collector” - Animal Cracker Conspiracy

April 19: "Half & Half" - Minaqua McPherson & Vivana Alcazar-Haynes

April 23: "Ouroboros(6) and other works" - vîv, San Francisco, CA.

April 24: "Push Process" - Lavina Rich

April 25: "Seeing Through" - Terry Wilson & Sadie Weinberg

April 26: "Indivisible" - Anjanette Maraya-Ramey

April 27: “In Proceso, Lynchtown, and Aura” - Minerva Tapia Dance Group

bkSOUL  / Collective Purpose Love H.E.R. practice session, Singing the song

From Half & Half / practice session

Learning Salsa / Latin Night / White Box

From Half & Half / practice session
Reflections of a Visual Artist

There are so many interesting ways to capture movement, especially dance. The advance of camera technology and related software adds to the 'ways of image capture and its transformation.'  Even photorealistic images are transformations despite the illusion that we are see the 'real' thing in such photographs.  Of course, as one moves along the continuum towards abstraction (or a scaled view of a photorealistic image that seems like an abstraction), we pass through a variety of stylizations.  Software and camera apps make an easy (or, at least, an easier) jump in this direction.

The images I've selected originate either in my Nikon D50 converted infrared camera or my Samsung ST200F point and shoot.  The latter has painting apps built into the camera.  So much technology for so minimal a cost.  Selections of more expensive cameras bring hardly noticeable lag time in image capture as well as being able to stop the action in low light with little noise. Being aware of what one wants in an image helps determine which camera (and at what cost) to use. Image editing programs compensate in crafting image making in ways not doable inside a camera or as easily or as well (or perhaps the watchword is 'not yet.' 

Jean Isaacs Trolley Dances offer a different set of challenges than performances at White Box. Environmental context (in and out of doors) vs. a theater setting; performances often within a surrounding audience vs. audience set apart in a theater setting; lighting characteristics of outdoor settings as well as indoors vs. spot lighting crafted by theater technicians. 

San Diego image makers, if they so choose, are lucky to find collaborative image sources in the Jean Isaacs/SDDT performances.  These are the moveable feasts of the visual artist.

from withviv practice session

And, of course, there are any number of ways to further explore the imagery with collage/montage.

Same window / Different dancers                                          Joe Nalven