Blog Posts for California

Shepherding Public Art: The 2011 Public Art Network Year in Review

Posted by Liesel Fenner, Jul 13, 2011 0 comments

Public art sheep takes a coffee break (Photo by Jed Berk)

You’re walking to your morning coffee shop passing by the regulars sitting at outdoor tables reading and sipping coffee. But wait, something is different. A guy is seated at a table with a sheep. Not a live sheep, but a white fluffy sculptural object placed on the chair next to him. Huh?

Ahhh...the beauty, surprise, and often, humor of temporary public art in spaces where one wouldn’t normally encounter art.

Who was behind this sheep ‘spotting’ moment? The City of San Jose Public Art program - the 2011 Public Art Network Year in Review Program of the Year!

A Champion Flock of Weed Eaters created by artist Jed Berk was reported and digitally recorded  being spotted around the city of San Jose. A temporary public art project for the San Fernando light rail corridor, it was a partnership between the city and the 01SJ Biennial.

Weed Eaters was an anchor artwork on the front lawn of the Diridon Station where a makeshift ‘barn’ housed the flock of sheep and their ewe, a four foot tall ‘Mother Sheep’ complete with an internal computer sculpturally placed in her ‘belly’.

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Arts Education Advocacy Success in Sunny San Diego

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Jun 30, 2011 1 comment

Tim Mikulski

Tim Mikulski

For those of you who were able to attend our local arts education advocacy session at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, you know all about the work of the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education.

For those that couldn't make it to San Diego a few weeks ago, the Alliance was created as part of a statewide effort by the California Alliance for Arts Education to launch local advocacy groups.

Led by Americans for the Arts' Arts Education Council Chair Victoria Plettner-Saunders, the group has recently been attempting to restore funding to the San Diego Unified School District's (SDUSD) Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA). (You can read more about their efforts in an earlier post from ARTSblog or by purchasing our full slate of sessions on our Convention On-Demand site and viewing the local arts education advocacy session).

On June 21, all of their relationship-building and advocacy efforts led to a unanimous vote by the board of education that restored full funding to arts education programs for the 2011-2012 school year.

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50 Ways to Love Your Conference

Posted by Hoong Yee Krakauer, Jun 29, 2011 0 comments

Danielle Brazell & Ramona Baker

I like to think I am a better person, smarter, my head filled with new ways of thinking, and ready to rock and roll after being surrounded by people who love and respect the power of the arts to change the world.

The truth is, I am probably heavier after all of the dine-arounds and dinners out. My card case will explode with all of the business cards I collected. My eyes glaze over thinking about where to start first.

My mother, the evolved Buddhist from Bayside, did not achieve her state of grace without believing in some basic universal truths. She would say, "Get over yourself. You are just a speck in the grand scheme of things so relax. Take one step at a time."

Thanks, Mom.

I know she meant to say something like "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," but after living in Queens you start to sound like a local.

Anyway, here are some of my impressions and images from this year's American For the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego:

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My Two Years with Americans for the Arts

Posted by Rich Mintz, Jun 16, 2011 0 comments

Rich Mintz

I’m in San Diego this week for the Americans for the Arts Convention, which kicked off at noon today with a welcome by president Bob Lynch and a keynote address by California social-activist legend Bobby Shriver.

This is my fourth Americans for the Arts event in two years. Heading for my first (the 2009 National Arts Marketing Project conference in Providence), I was afraid I’d feel out of place. If you know me, you know I’m not exactly shy, but I’ve always been a little scared of arts people. They tend to be so sure of themselves, and bubbling over with ideas, and I’m just, you know, a businessman—on the creative end of the spectrum for a businessman, to be sure, but nevertheless…But I had no reason to worry.

One thing about arts people is that they love talking about ideas. And the ideas that might help them get more people to experience and enjoy art, or advocate for arts funding and education, or donate to support the arts in their own communities—well, those are the ideas they love talking about most of all. And it just so happens that those are the kinds of ideas we at Blue State Digital trade in, so everything worked out fine. 

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Bringing Arts Education Home – San Diego Style

Posted by Victoria Plettner-Saunders, Jun 10, 2011 2 comments

Victoria Plettner-Saunders

Just as I’m preparing for a convention session about how attendees can create their own local arts education advocacy networks based on a model we’ve been using in San Diego and throughout California, I get word from a key district decision maker about their need for some information that may help them take some critical steps to avoid big cuts to the visual and performing arts department budget.

This is a milestone for our newly formed San Diego Alliance for Arts Education. We are being recognized by district decision makers for our ability to help them make more informed decisions to keep arts education in San Diego schools. While we’re not out of the woods yet, I certainly feel a victory for the role that the Alliance’s carefully planned advocacy is playing.

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We’ve Got a Hotbed to Harness Here

Posted by Letitia Fernandez Ivins, Apr 13, 2011 2 comments

Leticia Fernandez Ivins

Southern California is dense with MFA programs – so dense that these artists are a cornerstone of the creative economy and help define the creative capitol that is Los Angeles.

Then, why am I not working with more (any, frankly) of this fresh post-grad crop of creative thinkers?

This is not out of ageism (and I adore the artists that I work with today), but yesterday I started to wonder how the 50+ public art programs in the region might better harness this concentration of creative talent in our own backyard?

Though graduate-level curriculum tends to be concept-based, some art professors have cleverly inserted the “art of business” into the MFA formula.

Yesterday, I lectured for an MFA course called, Graduate Professional Development.

This is the second course that I have instructed on the topic of public art history and practice to fine arts students.

To start the class, I asked everyone to state their name, current media, and either talk about a public artwork that they created or to relay a powerful public art encounter.  

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