Monday, July 19, 2021

Making Visual Music at Lux Art Institute

 By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt.

Before the “visual music” concert, Guillermo Galindo posed with Ojo (Eye), one of his sonic devices, a theremin created from a crushed bicycle wheel, wood, steel, and an amplifier. On the wall behind him is Guilt, a patchwork quilt he made for an exhibition in Athens in 2015, after visiting the old airport, where immigrants were held, and finding bits of clothes and fabric that had been left behind. He explained the title: “When the exhibit was over, I got a phone call: ‘Come pick up your guilt,’ they said. So I called it that.” 

Can music be visual, and convey social and political messages along with heart-stirring sounds?

According to Guillermo Galindo, this month's resident artist at Lux Art Institute, it can, as was recently proved at a sonically magical and visually fascinating concert on the evening of July 16th, which happens to be the date of the first atomic bomb test in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, 76 years ago. 

Galindo calls himself an experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist and visual media artist, and for years, he has been turning the discarded objects of immigrants and refugees into sonic art. "We do not hear their voices, but we can hear their sounds," he said.

The concert, performed in the Gallery by star percussionists Fiona Digney and Michael Jones, was a revelation of what gifted musicians can do with unusual instruments under the guidance of an unusually inventive composer.  Both performers are part of the dynamic Art of Elan team dedicated to enriching our cultural life with musical collaborations.

Before the concert, Fiona and Michael posed with Llantambores (Tire Drums), made of PVC pipes, immigrants’ tire tubes, wood, cloth booties, and barbed wire.

It started out with some "rock music"- as the barefoot musicians entered, tapping out rhythmic patterns with small rocks in their hands. Then they went on to explore all the sonic sculptures on display, sometimes soloing, sometimes duetting on a single instrument. The music they made was always surprising, often thrilling, winning the audience's passionate applause at the end. 

Fiona and Michael in performance.

Closeup of the performers working their magic on LISTO/Ready to Go, made of a crushed immigrant bicycle and a border patrol chair.

After the concert, attendees strolled down to the Education Pavilion for the artist’s talk, illustrated with slides from various phases of his impressive career. “All borders are open tonight,” Galindo said. “We are all together because of what has happened and what is coming.”

The talk was enlightening, but the real joy of the evening was the concert—a fabulous opportunity to see and hear Galindo’s sculptures come alive.

Guillermo Gallindo will be in studio at Lux through July 31. His artworks will be on view through August 7. 

Lux Art Institute
1550 S. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
www. luxartinstitute. org 

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

See also: Guillermo Galindo at Lux Art Institute soon to be ICA North by Patricia Frischer

Thursday, July 15, 2021

California Arts Council Funding Update: July 2021

 By Patricia Frischer

Julie Baker hosted this meeting for the California Arts Council CAC

First to speak was Jason Schmelzer, lobbyist who gave us an overview. Covid and the pandemic gave a strong focus for the need for an increased budget. People had to get out of their silos and come together to make an effective case for arts and culture. Finances at this time in CA are in good shape, because tech did well during Covid and CA has lots of tech. CAC was on a slow steady climb to raise its funding. But this normal path could be escalated due to COVID. They decided to aim big for a billion dollars and was aggressive. So far they have reached $600 million, none of which is yet available, as it was just singed on July 13, 2021. This is a very changing year for the arts and the crisis and push for funding is not over. This is not a one and done. There are still endless letters and contacting of officials for advocacy yet to be done and policies for application and follow up documentation have to be written and approved and put in place.  

Julie Baker pointed out there is still the challenge of changing from contract employees to part and full time employers and they are looking for centralized payroll system for those to more easily comply with new laws. 

Celeste deWald, CA Assoc. Of Museums   and Julie Fearing of Fearless Advocacy represents their 200 member institutions who are focusing now on recover resilience. Most of their funding is through the CA Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE )  In the past they funded capitol projects totaling $921 million. Now they are concentrating on the  under-represented  and under-served sectors with $50 million going to 180 funded in total but this is only one quarter of those submitting application.  They asked for $125 M for climate change to protect those institution. Climate resilience funding might come in other ways. Some museums have fixed seating and can get funds available for performing arts.

Casey Lowdermilk SF Venue Association was the self -tarter who helped bring together a branch of the National Independent Venue Assoc.  for California. CA NIVA There are 660 venues here and they estimate that $12 is generated for each $1 spent on a venue. They are looking for 45% of the budget for 2019 which was lost revenue in 2020. They got $250 million.  Each venue’s ask is capped at $250 thousand.  This does not include museums unless they have fixed seating, movie theaters or organizations that have 5 or more multi-state locations.

The Venue community really came together for the first time. Casey emphasized the need to have a seat at the table and how that needs to be ongoing. Clear communication and the need to continue to sponsor new bills like an ABC liquor license especially for arts venues. The hiring of lobbyist has been essential.

Alex Torres, Director of Government Strategies worked with Casey and reported on the importance of personal stories to join the economic impact. These stories are the ones that wins over officials so that have to be able to relate to them. He pointed out that they will use the federal application as a starting place. But they want to prevent fraudulent application while making them easier. Most venues need to get rid of debt and need help in re-hiring. He is hoping for a a swift roll out of the application process. Details of Venues Grant Program can be found in Section 16 of SB151

The following is a deeper dive into  where the $600 million dollars is going to go. 

Creative Youth Development (CYD)  funding is there not to school but through non-profits. (for example, Arts a Reason to Survive) who serve those up to age 24. You can find more details about Creative Youth Development at this website:

Julie Baker urged all to use your county funds as well as other government department like Clean CA $1.1 Billion through the department of Transportation by Jan 2023

To access data on who got an award through the CA Small Business C-19 Relief Grant Program, go to this website and click on the program tab. The numbers of awards to nonprofits are low, and CAC are fighting to increase them and improve the application process for nonprofits:

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

An Artful Night Out: SD Practice at SDAI and Bread & Salt

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt. 

At SDAI, a pair of art-lovers admire Internal Voids and External Bridges by Marisol Rendon.  (Charcoal on paper)

Saturday evening July 10th was a great time to be out and about again. It was the first time since early March 2020 that my husband and I actually went to an art opening—an opening that started in late afternoon and included not just one but two venues: SanDiego Art Institute (SDAI) in Balboa Park and Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan. 

This special event should have had a more exciting name than SD Practice. A sampling of the diverse practices of artists on both sides of the border, it featured almost 100 artworks purchased by the City of San Diego in the past year to help support regional artmakers during the pandemic. What enabled the purchases and the Practice was a generous $500,000 gift from the estate of the late Thomas O. Rasmussen, a devoted collector of contemporary art.

It was a thrill—kind of a scary one, initially—to be surrounded by art lovers and artists, hear the buzz of opening-night conversations and see familiar faces—most of them unmasked—that we hadn’t seen in a long, long time.

Here’s a look at a few of the almost 50 pieces at SDAI, where the evening began—with some of their creators posing beside them. 

Marianela de la Hoz, with The Absent Presence of Always. (Egg tempera on board) 

Hugo Crosthwaite, with White Dress. (Pencil, charcoal and acrylic on paper) 

Claudia Cano, with Rosa’s Cleaning Brushes. (Silkscreen on paper)

Excavated World 1 by Doris Bittar. (Hand-cut collages, archival map)

San Diego Art Institute 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park.
The exhibit will remain on view through September 5, 

And here are a few of the almost 50 pieces at Bread & Salt, where the evening continued.

Inverse Bowee, a wire sculpture by Ann Mudge. 

Ninguna Ballena Es Una Isla (No Whale Is an Island), a photograph by Angelica Escoto.

One thing I did miss at both venues was signage—almost none of the artworks were shown with their titles or the names of the artists who created them. In a way, it was interesting to see how you thought and felt about each piece without any prior knowledge, but not so helpful if you’re trying to write about them. There were QR codes you could access on your cell phones, but we couldn’t always locate them. 

One of the pieces that did have a title was La Sangre Se Limpia Con Sangre (Blood Cleans Itself with Blood)—a wishing-well/pond full of dark reddish liquid into which visitors were invited to toss coins.


La Sangre Se Limpia Con Sangre (Blood Cleans Itself with Water), an installation by Cristobal Gracia.

I watched people tossing their coins in and heard the glop as each coin hit the viscous water, and my husband noticed that the dirtier a coin looked, the more bubbles came up after it sank.

The artist just happened to be standing right by me when I was ready with questions. He told me the liquid was salsa—specifically, Valentina hot sauce. In Mexico, it seems, they clean statues with Valentina, which works very well, but while the work is in process, the statue looks like it’s bleeding. “I’m playing with the idea of cleaning money,” he said.

His name is Cristobal Gracia, he’s from Mexico City and he’s currently pursuing an MFA in sculpture at Yale. La Sangre was originally exhibited in Mexico City, but this is its first appearance in the U.S. It has already been sold to a collector in Mexico—something like one of the NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) we’ve all been hearing about. This means the buyer now owns detailed instructions on how to build his own coin-cleaning pond. I’m not sure Mexico City or New Haven are part of our region exactly, but Gracia’s installation looks quite at home at Bread & Salt.

Bread & Salt 1955 Julian Avenue, San Diego CA 92123
The exhibit here will remain on view through September 12, and they’ll be hosting a panel with several of the artists that evening, at 7 p.m.

A fun thing we did after Bread & Salt was walk over the freeway bridge to Logan Avenue, where we enjoyed some of the Barrio’s street-side murals and a lowrider parade. Here are two sights that seemed like a perfect addition to our artful night.

A neighborhood mural La Vida Es Un Sueno (Life is a Dream)

A welcome sign of Hope. 

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

Friday, July 9, 2021

Author and Audience: Oceanside Museum of Art curates Hotel Art

 by Patricia Frischer

Oceanside Museum of Art co-curator Rebecca Webb was in conversation with Annalise Neil, Margaret Noble and Einar de la Torre about the work they created for The Mission Pacific Hotel and The Seabird Resort in downtown Oceanside.  Watch the  whole conversation on utube

After each artist made a quick presentation of current and past work, Rebecca Webb asked a series of questions; about their relationship with the audience for the work, the use of any private messages in the art, how the title guides the audience into the work and how they felt about the hotel as a museum venue.

Annalise Neil  (work displayed in the hotel spa)

Often people comment, “I don’t understand this art.” But Neil believes that art does not exist until someone notices it. She actually wants people to be confused so that they have look harder and think. Sometimes she uses subversions or visual tricks within the art to discover more layers of meaning on the micro level. All the objects she portrays with the cyanotype process (images developed by the sun’s interaction with chemicals) are object found in Oceanside.  We can appreciate these objects if we are very present and notice details.  She said it was thrilling to make such a large work and happy to have so many eye balls on her creations. The publicness of the space which for these works is on permanent display, creates opportunities to see them over time. 

Margaret Noble (work displayed in the hotel lobby)

Noble knows you can’t control how the audience perceives the work. Her art is about time and memory. She has an interest in writing code for algorithms. This adds an element of symmetric perfection to the found images.  The title is the shortest way to get people connected using text. Since the work is curated it is different than “typical” hotel art which is  sometimes decorative and not challenging. Noble is known for sound art but this work has no sound element but there is a sort of lyrical repetition in the lines. 

Einar de la Torre for The de la Torre Brothers (work displayed in the hotel elevator)

Artist wants to hear as many comments about their work as possible. The audience always thinks the artist knows exactly what the work is about, so it is not possible to ask the audience directly. Instead,  de la Torre says they need to eavesdrop on the visitor to discover a whole sets of other meanings other than their own. As maximalist artists, there is a huge amount of details that can be discovered over and over with each trip in the elevator. Their works are like are fractals, with things layered inside of other things. The audience at the hotels will be speaking different languages, a connection to why this work is themed to The Tower of Babel. The brothers choose titles that are humorous, even puns as a hook to draw people into the art. Making good public art is the goal even with a client setting parameters. They seek to convert people to  become art enthusiast by making them comfortable with seeing art in everyday settings. 

This is part of 3 of a 3-part series. Part 1 Art in Private Places: Oceanside Museum of Art curates Hotel Art

Rebecca Webb was in conversation with Annalise NeilEinar de la Torre  and Margaret Noble 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

PHES Gallery: A North County Gift to the Community

By Patricia Frischer

William Leslie: Ner Tamid

Paul Henry and Ellen Speert are giving a fabulous gift to the arts community. PHES Gallery: Fine Art and Craft is now open at 2633 State Street, Carlsbad Village, CA 92008 three days a week on Thur - Sat from 2-7 pm. The grand opening is on Friday, July 16, from 6-9 p.m. More info: /760-696-3022 

Paul Henry is a well know furniture designer, who taught for 20 years at Palomar College. Ellen Speert is an art therapist  at their California Center for Creative Renewal in Encinitas. The property in the heart of Carlsbad Village has been in the family since Paul opened his studio there in the large warehouse like space in the rear of the courtyard. The front 5 rooms have been completely renovated to a perfect white well-lit space perfect for displaying fine art.  They will be holding 4 to 6 shows a year and may be looking for curators eventually, but for now the space reflected their taste. In this first show they invited  some of their personal friends who are professional artists. The quality of the work is very high and although this is not a thematic show, it is one with something to interest almost everyone. 

A gallery is more than walls. It is a place you want to come and expand your imagination. There is a charming front garden, not a surprise since their Encinitas property is one of the most gloriously landscaped homes you could ever visit. They discovered some original beams and raised the ceiling in the main gallery, but it is the delightful front porch where you will probably fine Paul charming guests and Ellen making them feel comfortable. 

A small sample of the works on view are featured here. Please don't miss the entire display by Ann Mudge, small and perfectly formed hanging sculptures. The trip to Paul's back studio was spectacular. With a huge array of tools, works in progress, and rescued artifacts.  There will be demonstration by William Leslie on his lighted paper works. Becky Cohen will speak about her  latest work.  More info online: /760-696-3022

Front Garden

New exposed beams and raised ceiling

Paul Henry: Siblings Cabinet

Ellen Speert: Buddha Vessel #2

Cheryl Tall: The White Rabbit

Becky Cohen: Moon Flood Trance

Bruce Munter: Moonhouse

Bruce Munter: Crayola Graph XII

Ann Mudge: Array

Composite view of Paul Henry's studio space

Paul Henry, Darwin Slindee and Ellen Speert enjoying the front porch.