Wednesday, March 3, 2021

San Diego Art Prize 2021 Recipients Preview | RAVE San Diego

Watch the full interview with the 2021 SD Art Prize recipients on Friday March 5 starting at 4 pm!

Recipients of the 2021 SD Art PrizeBeliz Iristay, Hugo Crosthwaite, PANCA, Perry Vasquez

 2021 SD Art Prize launches at  RAVE | Focus San DiegoArtists interviews broadcasting Friday, March 5 from 4 pm. This virtual art experience put on by the same people who bring you Art San Diego, The Redwood Art Group. March 4 to 7 from 4 pm to 5 pm each day. More info Linda Mariano 408 718 3730

Get Free Tickets Here

The San Diego Art Prize this year is dedicated to the memory of Larry Baza, chair of the California Arts Council and devoted supporter.

Each of these artists speak to the binational experience from very different lives lived an of the arts and the SD Art Prize.d have worked tirelessly (or exhaustively!) to bring their creativity and passion for their art to the SD arts community!

Exhibition opens Oct. 9th-Dec. 31st at Bread & Salt and Oct 1 to oct 3 at Art San Diego 

  • Belize Iristay is a ceramicist and mix-media artist, born in Izmir, Turkey, and lives as a “border artist” between Baja California and San Diego my first meeting with Belize she was dressed in a burka, head to toe black with just a slit for the eyes. She dresses me the same way and I was able to understand how it might feel to be a walking but anonymous thing. My friends saw me and the look in their eyes said I was an alien, even an intruder.  She uses all sort of Turkish traditional history references, blue tile colors, calligraphy and patterns. The works is attractive but political at the same time…a fine line to walk. The concepts she expresses here would not be allowed right now in Turkey

Compulsive Obsessive is one of my favorite qualities in an artist! Sometimes these rituals are what keep us sane during a pandemic

  • Perry Vasquez’s father was born in East Chicago into a family of Mexican migrant workers. His mother was born in West Virginia, as a coal miner’s daughter. Vásquez is co-creator of the Keep on Crossin'. Driving down a highway lined with palm can be boring until you see one on fire. That takes the palm from tourist symbol to something completely different. Perry has that compulsive obsessive nature of an artist when he paints palm trees over and over.  But the works are full of change. No two are the same. Change is threatening but there is something comforting in this series even with the threat of fire. These palm trees root back to the landscapes in an earlier part of Perry’s career and that is why they are so authentic for him.

  •  Hugo Crosthwaite, now an American citizen but born in Tijuana,  has that same compulsive obsessive need to fill in his quarantine diary every day and he draws, draws, draws like the ink flows from his fingers. He is expressing his pandemic thoughts through a sort of meditation process without worrying about what the work is about, but as a survival technique.  The stop animation work that comes from these diaries is not just the finished page, but many stages on the way to filling each sheet. These tiny books will eventually be filling walls like videos in a security surveillance office. We are the voyeurs in Crosthwaite’s world.  Hugo Crosthwaite was the 2019 winner of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition

  • PANCA was born in Chula Vista, CA, to Mexican parents, and is an Illustrator-Painter-Muralist- Installation artist  who works with symbolism. During the pandemic, besides her own work, she has been commissioned by the New Children’s Museum to create positive, colorful, light hearted art for children. This was actually opposite to the feelings caused by the pandemic of isolation with anxiety and a dark mood, even an artist’s block.  This is an intense time of survival  for her, but she credits having to make this work for children and looking forward to seeing them at the museum for pulling her out of the worst of her despair.    

Friday, February 26, 2021

San Diego County Winter Regional Conversation and California Arts Council Creative Corp Report

One of my favorite photos of Larry Baza in a sea of diverse faces. 

By Patricia Frischer

I don’t blame you if you don’t want to spend hours and hours at meetings about the arts for the county of San Diego and State of California. I don’t always attend these meeting myself but the last two days I binged for 6 hours instead of Netflix entertainment. I can’t possibly fill you in on everything that was discussed but there are links in case you want to listen to these yourself. If not, here is my cheat sheet.

In both meetings the Passing of Larry Baza was highlighted with many participants paying tribute to this man with words such as bridge builder, listener, risk taker, readiness to work, desire to give and serve, an inspiration, sweet and gentle, a guide, a true leader, a trusted visionary, pillar of the arts community. It was noted how excited he was to become the chair of the California Arts Council and the staff were said to be working through their tears. Most believed that we should pay it forward and continue in the direction that was set by this exceptional man.

Vice Chair’s Report from Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez (now chair)
Colleagues, it is with a heavy heart that we move forward today with the loss of our friend and fellow council member, Chairman Larry Baza. Today I step up as Chair to continue the work of the Council in his absence. Larry was deliberate in his work, he demonstrated a commitment to the Arts Community in his every action as Chairman, and his legacy will be pronounced in our ability to emulate his leadership and continue to act on behalf of ALL Californians to provide opportunity in, and access to, the arts.

There is no greater legacy than that of a life well lived and inclusion of a commitment to the wellbeing of others; Larry left that kind of legacy. As we continue, let us remember Larry’s kind demeanor, his willingness to stand up for what he knew to be right and his respectful interaction with everyone that came before this Council.

Anne Bown-Crawford, executive director CAC
First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the tremendous sense of loss and grieving that surrounds this meeting: the passing of Larry Baza. Larry was a very very dear friend to many of us, including myself. For me he was also a guide and mentor, full of joy, empathy and patience. Larry led with his heart. He was above all else respectful, believing in his bones that every voice matters. He was the very definition of servant leader, and I shall always feel him walking beside me as we move through this work that we are so privileged to be able to do at the California Arts Council.

On Feb 24, Matt Carney of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition guided us through the San Diego County Winter Regional Conversation and the star turn was by Julie Baker of Californians for the Arts for a Winter Regional conversation. We all know that the Arts have been disproportionately hit from the pandemic. Two thirds of jobs have been lost and 63% of artist are still unemployed. Californians for the Arts is the advocacy group that has made sure that there was an assembly hearing just for the arts. In about 5 weeks, $50M should be coming the way of non-profit arts organizations. These will be distributed in grants of max $25,000 and are earmarked to help for basic survival i.e. food, rent/mortgage, mental and physical health care, etc. The case was made that the arts is a work horse for our economy and needs to be supported. Special attention will be made for racial equity practices. Of course, re-opening guidelines are a priority and money will be there for ventilation systems and testing supplies, etc.  There is a push to increase the money spent per person in California from the puny 70 cents to a minimum of $1. Many states spend much, much more than this and California really lags.

To justify that raise, the Arts have to be seen as part of the solution and people have to be encourage to people have come back to the arts. Advocacy for this to happen is a long game. Federal funding might be needed to replace the short term loss in TOT for cities like San Diego which rely on those funds for grants.

We hear time and time again that collaborations have to start happening cross industry and it seems like the new Creative Corp will be pushing to make that happen. The meeting on Feb 25 was a California Arts Council meeting to discuss how this program might move forward.  The Creative Corp is all about Public Health Messaging This pilot funded over two year for $15M is a concept designed to mobilize artists and the arts sector for “effective hyper-local, micro-targeted public communication and to help people connect, cope and be well now and in the long term.” In other words, they are mobilizing artists to work with the health industry to get out messages important for survival and eventually to thrive for those in the most at risk and underserved communities. These grants calling for matching funds (perhaps in-kind) will entail some capital investment and infra structure to create jobs. This could come on a federal level or the private sector.

Grants will be given out with small budgets organization equalized to get a fairer share. These small organization make up 60% of the industry but don’t usually get 60% of the grant money. There will be a new tiered system with those above and below $250,000 so this can be tracked. The organizations are also rated but it is yet to be decided if this will be administered through the Regional/State-Local/ partnerships, directly by CAC or from a third-party professional body. The general consensus seemed to be that it should be a combination of all three and that should be a requirement to have multiple participants in the grants. Remember this is a pilot with $5M the first year and $10M the second but possibly more long term funds to be forthcoming. Besides grants for health messaging, there is money set aside for professional training and for PR and marketing.  

The BIG Question remains - What are the creative and appropriate health messages and who should make them and how are they seen and believed by those in need? 

Finally to go back briefly to the San Diego County meeting. Jonathon Glus spoke about a mapping project that identified county wide effects of the arts funded by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Felica Shaw, one of the newest members of SDRACC, has been tasked with expanding this advocacy group to include the whole county. To that end, by-laws are being written even though SDRACC is not an official 501 (c) 3 non-profit. They will be working to be more diverse and inclusive. Tara Graviss White is responsible for this second of 4 town halls and notes that the election advocacy work will continue.  There will be an April Arts Advocacy promotion. I know I will be sending them information about the new virtual arts page from San Diego Visual Arts Network as well as Encinitas Friends of the Arts thank you to front line workers banners AND the more than $70,000 given out by Synergy Arts Foundation for those artist impacted by the pandemic in 2020. San Diego Stay Strong!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

In Conversation: Manuelita Brown and Dr. Denise Rogers. at Oceanside Museum of Art


by Patricia Frischer

Twenty Women Artists: NOW is a show opening in March at OMA and this interview with Manuelita Brown by Dr. Denise Rogers was introduced by the curator of the exhibition Alessandra Moctezuma

I live in Cardiff by the Sea and for years I attended weekly yoga classes by a lovely local instructor Emmy Garnica. Manuelita Brown and her husband were often fellow movers and stretchers along with a hardy group of Silver Agers. Of course I know of Manuelita’s work and have visited her studio/home on more than one occasion when it was open to the public. But it was educational to see her work presented in this slide show which put more context to a life-time of work in response to personal experiences.

It was also fun to see some personal family photos and a very early painting on a glass bottle that survived from 1949!

Interesting side by side with one of Manuelita's idols, Elizabeth Catlett

Another side by side with one of Manuelita's idols, Elizabeth Catlett, this time using her own son as America's Son

Online Lecture: Great Women Artists, Then And Now
Part Two: Thursday, March 11, 7:00–8:30pm

members free, visitors $5 per lecture

In association with the upcoming Twenty Women Artists: NOW exhibition at OMA, join Robin Douglas for a riveting two-part series highlighting the powerful contributions of women artists throughout the ages, from ancient creators to the Renaissance to the groundbreaking geniuses of the 20th and 21st centuries. Join for one or both parts and hear their stories, discover their artwork, and enjoy hidden treasures along the way. Connect with us via your computer or personal device as we celebrate the ever-evolving legacy of women in the arts working at the highest level of professional creativity.

Click here to select and register for this virtual lecture.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Art of Elan Brings Virtual Wonderland to San Diego Museum of Art

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Screenshots from “Abstraction and Allegory” images by Maurice Hewitt.

Andrea Isabel Gonzalez’s Jabberwocky

San Diego Museum of Art may be closed due to Covid restrictions, but Virtual SDMA is alive and well, thanks to Art of Elan, which is currently presenting a delightful 15-minute multimedia program called Abstraction and Allegory that can be viewed at your leisure below. 

Now in their 14th season of offering musical events at the museum, Art of Elan’s 2020-2021 theme “Transformations” seems particularly appropriate for these unsettling times in which we all find ourselves going through many ch-ch-ch-changes of our own. Their presentation of a pair of videos inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous pair of Alice books—"Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”—is just what we need to bring some unusual sounds, visuals and levity into our lives. 

Kate Hatmaker, Art of Elan’s Executive/Artistic Director, says she got the idea for the program from one of the themes of the Museum’s exhibition Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection—"Manipulating Reality: Abstraction and Allegory.” 

“I thought that sounded like a good place to start,” she said. “We had already contacted Unsuk Chin, a South Korean composer who’s based in Berlin, about doing a piece from her opera “Alice in Wonderland,” which premiered in Munich in 2007 and I don’t think has ever been seen in this country. We love the idea of introducing new artists and sounds to San Diego, and “Advice from a Caterpillar” is a pretty theatrical piece, with the composer including written text in the score, since she wants to encourage the musician to follow the contour of the words with his playing and let the audience experience the written lines too.” 

Joshua Rubin in Advice from a Caterpillar

Advice from a Caterpillar

When Hatmaker invited L.A.-based clarinetist Joshua Rubin to perform in “Caterpillar,” he not only agreed, but began creating a video for it in his home studio, inspired by two striking images from Hungarian-born photographer Andre Kertesz (1894-1985) that he’d seen in the Garner Collection. He also suggested that Art of Elan might want to commission a companion piece by a Mexican composer he’d been exchanging emails with who liked to create visual worlds of abstractions—Andrea Isabel Gonzalez.

Andrea Isabel Gonzalez’s Jabberwocky

Hatmaker agreed to it all. “We really believe in trusting artists and giving them a lot of artistic liberty,” she said. “So we end up with a gorgeous multimedia work and a big collaboration with people we’ve never met in person.”

And Gonzalez created “Jabberwocky”—based on the poem full of invented words (including its title) that Alice finds written backwards in “Through the Looking Glass.” (A tip from the Author’s Preface to the 1896 edition: “Pronounce slithy [from the poem’s opening line: “‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe”] as if it were the two words sly, the.”) 

If this puts you in the mood for more Alice, try re-reading the books, unforgettably illustrated by Victorian political cartoonist Sir John Tenniel—and/or watch Unsuk Chin’s “Alice in Wonderland” opera—originally staged at the National Theater of Munich, with life-size puppets, and an English libretto by Chin and David Henry Hwang, best known for his play “M. Butterfly.” You can see it on 

And even though SDMA is closed, you can take a Virtual Tour of Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection, which features over 100 notable works created in the past 100 years, on Tuesday, March 2, from noon to 1 pm. Reservations are required and space is limited. Reserve at:

You can also watch a solo dancer interacting with pictures from the exhibition in Virtual SDMA + Disco Riot March 9 at 6 p.m. on SDMA’s YouTube channel. 

Art of Elan’s next Virtual SDMA program—Open Air—will be filmed in the museum’s Sculpture Garden, and available to viewers starting March 16. To access their programs, go to: 

March is full of virtual surprises. Here’s hoping you get to enjoy some of them for yourself! 

Abstraction and Allegory 

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Carlsbad Family Open Studios with Anne Mudge

by Patricia Frischer

I am a self proclaimed huge fan of Anne Mudge’s.  I have followed her career for years, seen most of her exhibitions and installations, and cheered her on as a SD Art Prize recipient.

I like how straightforward she is when she speaks about her art. She is a process artist which means that she doesn’t preconceive the finished product, but instead collaborates with her materials. Wire is her main medium, but the real style is drawing in air. The wires are lines in space. When you move or the work moves it changes. It is affected by the light and therefore the shadows it cast as well.

The works can take up lots of space but they are lightweight and resilient. Her plyers and wire cutters supplement her hands as vital tools. I was not surprised to learn that two of her favorite artists are also mine: Eva Hesse who works with wire and cloth and sees the world in terms of her materials and Giorgio Morandi whose fascination with simple shapes and shades of grey shares a silence with Anne Mudge’s creations.

The interview of Mudge was handled by Michelle Kaskovich. Then a very short presentation of the history of wire art works was presented by Lisa Naugler. This included illustration of wire kitchen tools, barb wire fences and works by Alexander Calder.  Finally, the demonstration of the art making workshop on wire sculpture was conducted by Tey Lin.

Michelle Kaskovich and Anne Mudge

The following works by Anne Mudge are on view in the Four Vision exhibition at the William D. Cannon Art Gallery in Carlsbad on Dove Lane.  This exhibition of four women artists commemorates the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Artists are Anne Mudge (sculpture), Kline Swonger (mixed-media and sculpture), Bianca Juarez (ceramics) and Marisol Rendón (drawing).

Tey Lin explains the free supplies for this workshop available to the public. She gave some simple instructions for bending the wire, attaching beads and joining the wire shapes to a central structure for hanging. Families were encouraged to work together and make the final work an expression of the family dynamic. 

The lesson plan and an archived version of the workshop, interview and history lesson will be posted on the City of Carlsbad Cultural Arts website


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Upon Closer Inspection with Adama Delphine Fawundu, Phung Huynh, and Claire A. Warden

 By Patricia Frischer

I joined into a virtual exhibition walk-through of Upon Closer Inspection Virtual Exhibition Tour with Adama Delphine Fawundu, Phung Huynh, and Claire A. Warden. Each artist talked about the selection of artwork included in the exhibition, followed by a conversation with Galleries and Exhibitions Coordinator, Chantel Paul and a Q&A with the audience presented by University Art Gallery in the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University.

Dec 10 to March 31st with a virtual exhibition and an online catalog.
For more information about the exhibition or events, please email:
Watch the archived discussion (with captions)

There is no doubt that Chantal Paul had a vision of how all three of these diverse artists could relate and she is the one that gets credit for putting them together. Because this zoom discussion was so frank and they were so generous and articulate with their thoughts, it has not only enriched my view of their work, but exposed me to so much more about multi-cultural ways of seeing. Now they are all friends and it was a joy to watch them bond.

Although at first glance these are very different women, they share so many aspects of their personal lives and their art making goals. For all of them family is central and they all have a multi-cultural experience of colonialism. They are all exploring aspects of identity. All their works are layered, with explorations of language and multi-faceted mediums. They are fearless and break rules and are “de-colonizing” their minds.

All three see W.E.B. Du Bois statement pertinent i.e. Looking at yourself through the eyes of other as well as your own eyes.

These ladies are looking to see themselves reflected in the American society and if that view is not there, they will create that vision themselves.

Adama Delphine Fawundu was born and lives in Brooklyn with a heritage of Sierra Leon with memories of her grandmother working with fabrics. She has become a shape shifter, covering and uncovering but always with a respect for heritage as she travels as a being in-between. She searches and finds the sweet spot where she can define herself using her own likeness as a universal symbol. She is proud to break the chains and not carry the political burden of oppression. 

Adama Delphine Fawundu, Passageways #3, Secrets, Traditions, Spoken and Unspoken Truths or Not, 2017; archival pigment print in cotton fiber paper; 30 x 20 inches; courtesy of the artist

Adama Delphine Fawundu, Body Vernacular #6, 2017; archival pigment print in cotton fiber paper; 30 x 20 inches; courtesy of the artist

Phung Huynh grew up mostly in LA from a Cambodian heritage where she managed to develop both a cultural resistance and resilience. From a society with bound feet, she tries to give women back their power while finding visions of her own self reflection among the everyday objects of America. A set of cross stitched license plates bear the names she knows and the faces she admires fill the lids of pink donut shop boxes. These include Mr. Roberts with his idea of a welcoming neighborhood and the lovely donut shop princess who continued a franchise of donut shops that employ Cambodian immigrants.  

Phung Huynh, 2019 – 2020; graphite on pink donut box; 25 x 30 ½ inches; courtesy of the artist

Phung Huynh,2019-2020; embroidery thread on cotton (cross-stitch); 10 x 13 ¼ inches; courtesy of the artist

Claire A. Warden is multi-lingual with a father from India and English mother. She had to translate from French when first arriving from Montreal.  When confronted by the question, What are you?” it took some time to learn that meant how do you identity? For example a make-up consultant at a department store asked if she was Indian. She pointed out that other Indians she had met also had dark circles under their eyes. She proceeded to treat these as imperfections that needed to be covered up. Warden struggled with who gets to ask these questions? Which questions does she want to answer? Which are inappropriate? She uses no human images in her work but they do contain her DNA in the form of saliva as part of the mark making which leaves silver tracing from her photo process. She has an acute awareness of being seen and that informed the works at every stage. Dark circles abound and are glorified.  

Claire A. Warden, No. 15 (Genetics), 2016; Piezography pigment print; 36 x 28 inches; courtesy of the artist

Claire A. Warden, No. 42 (Emphasis), 2016; Piezography pigment print; 36 x 60 inches; courtesy of the artist