Oct 20, 2011

Collaboration stimulates anger, hope

Cynthia E. Griffin | Our Weekly Co-Editor

Still, PST may start the clock ticking on Black arts growth

If nothing else, the region wide arts effort called Pacific Standard Time (PST) has turned the spotlight back on the African American art scene in Los Angeles and is stirring conversations.

Some of those conversations are fueled by anger, some prodded by indignation, while others involve discussions about using PST as a jumping-off point to strengthen the foundation for growing the market for Black art.

Pacific Standard Time is a collaboration among more than 60 arts institutions throughout Southern California, launched about 10 years ago, that is being underwritten and led by the Getty to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force in the art world.

The goal of this six-month endeavor, which officially began this month, is to shed light on the little-known ways that Southern California gave birth to many of today’s most vital artistic trends.

Within the African American arts community, this task has taken on distinctive sociopolitical tones that begin with the people and institutions involved in putting together the exhibitions.

Perusing the PST guide, the first challenge that jumps out is that only two of Southern California’s Black arts institutions are included as exhibit venues—the California African American Art Museum (CAAM) and the Watts Towers Arts Center. Left out are such locations as the Museum of African American Art, Watts Labor Community Action Committee’s (WLCAC) Cecil Fergerson Gallery, and Santa Monica-based M. Hanks Gallery.

The exclusions, which in many ways mirror what has happened with Black artists in L.A. for decades and was the impetus behind the creation of most of the Black venues, is no surprise to Eric Hanks.

“I wasn’t directly invited to participate. . . . the curator over at the Hammer did contact me and ask me questions about some of the artists,” Hanks said. “Exclusion is the history of my gallery, and this is not the first time and probably won’t be the last. I’ve had very challenging and difficult times getting shows at the gallery reviewed by major mainstream newspapers,” said Hanks about his 23-year-old art space.

Rosie Lee Hooks, director of the Watts Towers Arts Center, is insisting that WLCAC be included in her PST programming. The visual part, “Civic Virtues,” opens Dec. 17; a second show, “O Speak, Speak II,” which goes up in January, will feature public art by five women; and then a literary festival hosted by noted spoken-word artist Kamau Daood will take place in January at the WLCAC complex.

And then there is the politics of who exactly is organizing the shows. For example Kellie Jones, who is curating the exhibition at the Hammer Museum (“Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles”) and Pilar Rivas, who organized the Watts Towers Arts Center’s “Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center” are both East Coast based. This is a sore point with some in the Los Angeles Black arts scene because, even though each of these curators found their way to the doorsteps of L.A. Black arts dean Cecil Fergerson, there is the question among some of “why not use L.A.-based curators?”

And Fergerson himself, who first learned about the effort in 2010 when he was approached by Jones about who should be included in the Hammer show, is challenged by the perspective: “They’ve got White institutions speaking for Black people, and that’s not good.”

Charmaine Jefferson, executive director of CAAM, found herself stunned by some of the verbiage written by some of the venues hosting exhibitions of Black artists.

“The title of our show—‘Places of Validation, Art & Progression’—came out of a description I read of the Hammer show (that called it) the first significant show on African American artists in L.A. I went ballistic. Excuse me! How can they say they’re the first show, when people like Samella Lewis and John Outterbridge have previously done such shows.”

Jefferson also questioned what she called LACMA’s “rewriting of history” to claim support and nurturing of the Black Arts Council (BAC) and its activities.

Founded in 1968 by Fergerson and Claude Booker, LACMA writes that BAC was “the driving force behind African American programming at LACMA, and their activities paved the way for the seminal exhibition, ‘Two Centuries of Black American Art,’ organized by the museum in 1976.”

In actuality, the executive director said the activities of BAC were relegated to the basement, and the museum took pains to distance itself.

Those “views” of the Black arts scene from 1945-1980 was the impetus for the CAAM show, which Jefferson said is designed to look at the people and places that facilitated showings of art created by African Americans at a time when major institutions and galleries refused to exhibit their works.

Among other concerns addressed by those in the L.A. Black art world was the fact that the same small group of African-descended artists seemed to be included in all the PST shows.

But Ayndrea Wilson, executive director of the California Artists Coalition of Los Angeles (CACLA), is not necessarily bothered by this apparent lack of diversity, because she believes that PST itself is recognizing Los Angeles artists in a more universal way.

. . . “thousands upon thousands of people will go to the Getty; thousands will go to LACMA, and all of these places have Black art . . . this is certainly not the end-all, be-all. It’s the beginning of the conversation.”

And according to artist, art critic and former gallery director Greg Pitts, the conversation must include planning for and developing an infrastructure for growing the Black art market that includes collectors, museums and galleries, critics and historians, media and auction houses.

“What is going to have to happen is a protracted commitment to the arts in a systemic kind of way. What that means is we need to sit down, take a look and assess what we have; be honest about what we have to bring to the table. Then come up with a course of action to move forward.”

Oct 4, 2011

Call for Writers

Artist Residency at the Annenberg Community Beach House

The City of Santa Monica, Cultural Affairs Division, seeks applications from writers living in Los Angeles County for a residency at the Annenberg Community Beach House. The Artist Residency offers a large private office in the historic Marion Davies Guest House for ten weeks to complete a work in progress.

Residency Description
In celebration of Marion Davies’ support of artists and to further the work of artists in all disciplines, the Division has established an Artist Residency program at the Beach House. The Residency begins Monday, January 16, 2012 and concludes Monday, March 26, 2012 for a total of ten weeks. The Residency offers an ocean front place to work – an upper floor office in the restored Guest House of the former Marion Davies estate.

The City seeks to provide an opportunity to writers who both need a place to write and are interested in sharing aspects of their work for the public’s benefit. This program is best for writers who will be able to use the residency period to finish or make significant progress in their work, and are able to hold weekly office hours and monthly critiques, readings, workshops or conversations with the public. If the applicant wishes to suggest other public activities in lieu of these, proposals are welcome. The City may also require the Resident to represent the Residency to the press.

As an acknowledgment of the public benefit of the Resident to the community, an honorarium of $1500 is offered.

The Residency is non-residential; no room/board is offered. The City will provide a lockable office with desk and chair, wireless internet access, refrigerator/microwave access, and a parking pass for the duration of the residency. No other resources, including computer, printer, phone, or other equipment will be provided.

Annenberg Community Beach House
The Southern California beach occupies a unique place within the physical and cultural landscape of America, and the Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach has quickly become a popular destination for those seeking a quintessential “day at the beach.” Consisting of several structures at the historic site of the Marion Davies estate, the Beach House includes the historic Guest House and Pool, and the new Event House, Pool facility, and outdoor areas.

A public place henceforth, the site at 415 Pacific Coast Highway has seen an evolution from private ownership to public management. Interpretive and cultural projects at the Beach House offer a continuum connecting the past, present and future. For information and images of the site, please visit http://annenbergbeachhouse.com.

The Annenberg Community Beach House is made possible through a generous gift from the Annenberg Foundation at the recommendation of collector and philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, and in partnership with California State Parks and the City of Santa Monica.

Oct 1, 2011


Saturday, 22, October 2011
8:00 pm

Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Three stellar vocalists perform music from three recently passed legends – Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta – along with songs made famous by Billie Holiday and other jazz greats. Don’t miss this unforgettable celebration of the jazz spirit with musical director and drummer Terri Lynn Carrington, pianist Geri Allen, guitarist Romero Lubambo and other star musicians.


Bernard Hoyes

Bernard Stanley Hoyes’ professional artist career began at the early age of nine in his home town of Kingston, Jamaica. Bernard's mother sold his wood carvings and watercolors to visitors at the Jamaica Tourist Board to help maintain the household and support his creative efforts.

I have been a creator of art, symbols of ancestral echoes since a child in Jamaica... The images I convey symbolize a culmination of these ancestral echoes brought to classical form. They are contemporary, eternal in spirit and stand as praise to our existence --past, present and future.

Known for his colorful and rhythmical compositions that reflect his Jamaican heritage, Bernard Stanley Hoyes began his career at the early age of nine in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, by creating wood carvings and watercolors that his mother sold to visitors at the Jamaica Tourist Board. At age 15, he moved to New York to live with his father and began attending evening classes at the Art Students League in the late 1960s, under the apprenticeship of established artists, such as Norman Lewis, Huie Lee Smith and John Torres. His artistic pursuits then took him to the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in painting and design.

After working in San Francisco, he moved to Los Angeles at the end of 1975, where he has worked as a designer, solo artist and muralist. He has worked with the Los Angeles Citywide Murals Programs and has created many murals that reflect social advocacy and the African American and Latino communities, including the "Black Folk Art in America" mural commissioned by the Craft & Folk Art Museum and most recently, the "In the Spirit of Contribution" mural located on LaSalle Street in the Historic West Adams District and commissioned by First A.M.E. Church. He is also a member and active participant in many art organizations, such as LACE, Artist for Economic Action, Artists Equity Association, California Confederation of the Arts, Studio Z, the Graphic Arts Guild and Self-Help Graphics.

For an extensive review and biography, please refer to: Jamaican Sources and African American Visions, The Art of Bernard Hoyes at http://www.nathanielturner.com/artofbernardhoyes.htm


4330 Degnan Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008

The Leimert Park Group is an emerging arts organization with a mission to present and partner with other organizations to bring year-round health, education, arts & literacy programs to the Leimert Park Village and the surrounding area.

We consider and seek to provide support for the local merchants, artists, musicians and residents. Our signature event, The Leimert Park Village African Arts & Music Festival, is FREE to the public takes place every Labor Day Weekend in Histori c Leimert Park Village in Los Angeles, CA. The event features jazz, blues, reggae, r&b, spoken word, comedy, a fine arts and crafts show, and activities for all members of the family.

The Leimert Park Group is the embodiment of our logo. The West African Adrinka Symbol in the center of the design means "BOA ME NA ME MMOA WO", and translates into "Help me and let me help you". It symbolizes cooperation and interdependence

This West African Adrinka Symbol, combined with the powerful image of the Egyptian Pyramid, and the phrase "Each One, Reach One, Teach One", signifies the heart and soul of what our group strives to be and accomplish in all we do.