Sunday, February 8, 2009

It takes an Artists Village

The blustery weather broke just in time for me to make my way over the the Santa Ana Artists Village for two gallery openings last night, but I didn't want to be the first to arrive so I ducked into an interesting looking bar with no name for a drink. Well, it does have a name: Lola Gaspar; just no sign outside. And hipness was evident in its decor, staff, music and food--a watering hole well-suited for this street of contemporary art.

Being the first Saturday of the month, this evening turned out also to be the Santa Ana Art Walk.

Heading to the Grand Central Art Center across the pedestrian-only block, I was detoured by a charming young woman with a table and a well-rehearsed pitch for the Western Service Workers Association who handed me a colorful wall calendar filled with labor-celebrating art reminiscent of the WPA.

Once inside the Grand Central, which houses Cal State Fullerton's off-campus gallery, I was greeted by an eclectic show celebrating its 10th anniversary. The remarkable quality of much of the work on exhibit suggests that Fullerton's art department is rich with creativity and skill. (In fact, my recent visit to @Space Gallery in Santa Ana reported on here also featured two Cal State Fullerton graduates.) Even at the early hour I visited, there was quite a crowd exploring the gallery.

OCCCA's "The Art of Imaging" exhibition opening was also well-populated with attendees eager to see how more than a score of different artists seized the opportunity to invent new ways to contextualize x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, mammograms and MRIs (thanks to some help from Mission Hospital). The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art's executive director Jeffrey Crussell reminded me that they've been around now for nearly 30 years as a successful artists collective. "Success" may be a relative term, but "red dots" were evident on a number of descriptive placards, indicating works that had already been sold, and artist Pamela Grau Twena sold both of her sizable paintings to a single collector last night, including "Considering Flight," seen above.

The crisp-but-not-cold night air walk to my car was invigorating as I marveled at experiencing a small taste of some of Orange County's vibrant contemporary art scene.

1 comment:

Jeffrey Crussell said...

Hi Rick
Thanks for dropping by and your nice comments.
Jeffrey Crussell
OCCCA