Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Monday, December 24, 2012

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Interview with Constance White, Public Art Manager, San Diego International Airport

I was fortunate to meet Constance White a few years ago when my work was selected for a solo exhibition, ‘Floating in Space’ at Terminal 2.  White is the Art Program Manager for the San Diego International Airport. On the morning of our interview, she rushed in a few minutes late, understandably because of the many commitments she has to her work as well as to her family in Texas who she visits regularly.

White grew up in Avinger, Texas, a town of a few hundred people in the eastern part of the state. She talked about walking to elementary school down a dirt road, and spending her free time playing with the ten children she shared a home with as she was raised by her grandparents. It was there she began drawing with crayons and making things out of whatever objects or things were lying around, never really thinking about them as “art” per se. Many of the children in her home were boys so she played a lot of sports and this influence saw her through fourteen years of playing softball. When she graduated high school, White moved to Dallas.

White attended Dallas County Community College where she earned an Associates Degree in Arts and Sciences.  While at college, she took art history classes with Gordon Young, an instructor who became her mentor and friend. There, she was also introduced to arts and culture as a whole, as well as taking drawing, design and other studio art classes. After completing her Associates Degree, Constance went on to Southern Methodist University where she first majored in Journalism but felt a stronger pull to art.  She studied Art History and that became her major, and English her minor. Together with school and working to pay for all her expenses, Constance was a single mom of a daughter, Asia. Still, in spite of  these challenges, she successfully completed her BFA in Art History.
White describes herself as a very spiritual person and talked about a woman who she met in a statistics class who became her close friend as well as a pivotal person in setting the course of her career. Matilda Robinson was an older affluent woman who was involved in the arts and culture of Dallas who took Constance under her wing, thinking of her as her daughter. Robinson knew the Director of Cultural Affairs in Dallas and introduced White to her. She interviewed with Margie Johnson Reese, and was hired as Public Art Assistant where she remained for a year. She was then promoted to Public Art Coordinator, a job she worked in for eight years. There, Constance managed projects with a budget ranging from $3,000 - over $1 million, many of which were design team collaborations resulting in integration of public art into the city's infrastructure. Arts-based community development and community partnerships were important to the success of the many projects she managed.

When talking about her career goals, White stated “I wanted to do something to impact the place I live.” And that, she definitely has accomplished. Since obtaining her position as Art Program Manager in July 2006, she has successfully completed the Airport Art Master Plan which included formalizing the framework and guidelines for the three components of the Airport Art Program: Temporary and Rotating Exhibits, Performing Arts and Public Art.  In addition to overseeing renovations on existing faciilites, Constance manages public art projects for the “Green Build”, the airport master plan for adding ten additional gates, and other improvements. When working with the many artists, engineers, committees, etc., White asks folks to not bring any preconceived notions to the table, but asks them to “imagine the possibilities”.
Managing multi-million dollar public art projects simultaneously, White says that her biggest challenge is in navigating the many committees, public relations, marketing, engineering, maintenance and other departments involved in the highly complex universe of the San Diego International Airport. We look forward to seeing the fully realized installations coming in the years ahead.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cathy Breslaw, Grant Received for Solo Exhibition',Luminosity' opening February 8th

CCAI receives grant for Breslaw exhibit

The Capital City Arts Ini tiative in Carson City is among more than 150 organizations nationwide to receive grants announced Saturday by the National Endowment for the Arts.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said CCAI is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant, with the CCAI amount $10,000.

The Carson City arts group was recommended for the grant to support the up coming exhibit called “Luminosity,” which features the work of artist Cathy Breslaw.

In the Fiscal Year 2013 funding round, the NEA received 393 applications for such grants, with more than $3.9 million sought. Track grants totaling $1.53 million were awarded.

“CCAI is thrilled to receive the endowment's support,” said Glenn Clemmer, president of the Carson City arts group. “This grant reinforces our work to enhance arts and culture in Carson City.”

The exhibit “Luminosity” will open at the CCAI Court house Gallery, 885 E. Musser St., in the capital city's courthouse on Friday, Feb. 8, next year. A reception for Breslaw is set for 5-7 p.m. that afternoon and evening.

CCAI is funded in part by NEA, John Ben Snow Mem orial Trust, Nevada Arts Council, Nevada Humanities and the National Endow ment for the Humanities, Carson City government, and the John and Grace Nau mann Foundation. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Interview with Vivienne Esrig, Deputy Director, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Vivienne Esrig joined the staff of the Museum of Photographic Arts in July, 2012.  In our interview I learned about what has driven her career and what eventually brought her to relocate from Boston to San Diego.
Vivienne Esrig

Esrig was born and raised in the Boston area but she has spent considerable amounts of time in Calfornia. In the 1980’s, she moved with her parents to the Bay Area where she received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and a minor, in Arts Management from San Jose State University.  Esrig explained that she originally wanted to become an artist but because of the practicalities of earning a living, her parents urged her to focus on business.  While in college, Esrig interned at the San Jose Museum of Art where she was able to observe how museums operate. After working in the administrative offices of the museum and being mentored by the Executive Director at the time, she was hired part time as Assistant Director to run the capital campaign to raise money. Simultaneously,  Esrig attended Golden Gate University where she received an MBA in Arts Managment, - her masters thesis centered around evaluating the museum and developing a structured plan for operations.  After  completing her MBA, and missing the east coast where she was raised, Esrig decided to move back to Boston where she was hired as the Arts Administrator at the Harvard Art Museums. 

Mopa Current Exhibition:Strange Beauty,
Ruud van Empel
After a few years employed by the museum, Esrig moved over to work at Harvard Medical School,’s Department of Psychiatry where she felt there were more opportunities.  She ran the department of Psychiatry for several years and was subsequently hired to be the Director of Administration and Operations at Harvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center. She also served as the Director of Finance and worked in the same capacity for the Massachusetts Mental Health Center of Boston.

During her years in Boston, Esrig developed a strong passion for political activism. She was Treasurer for 20 years for the National Organization for Women and was involved in many womens rights issues, among them, the struggles at the time to keep womens’ clinics open. She commented on her sadness that there are no longer any womens clinics in Boston.  On the personal side, Esrig is the primary caregiver to an unwell spouse and her parents are Holocaust survivors.  Perhaps these factors fueled her commitment to pursuing a job with a social justice component. After 20 years as an administrator in the medical field, Esrig wanted a change. Eager to work for a mission driven organization that would need a strong business person, Esrig set out to find a position where her strong finance background would help provide services to those in need and one where her museum management skills would come into play. Through a colleague at Harvard, Esrig found the opening at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Mopa Summer Photography Camps for Children
Esrig explained that when she was interviewed at MOPA, she was “blown away” because the job offered a synergy she felt between her business skills, museum background and the fact that the museum itself offers several programs that serve the community. The Museum of Photographic Arts offers a program called “Exposure”that goes into Title 1 schools where they teach photography,  and another program called “Sepia” provides staff that visit senior centers, serving especially those with severe Dementia and Alzheimers and teaches them photography as well. Other programs include childrens' summer photography camps.

Esrig commented that MOPA, as many museums today, are struggling with financial issues and it is her primary job to run the fiscal aspects of the museum.  She is currently working with the San Diego County Fair, the Photo Video Expo West and other events in the San Diego area to build more exposure and outreach for the museum.  Despite all the challenges, it is clear that Vivienne Esrig’s passion for the museum and its community programs, together with her business acumen, will result in success for the San Diego community and the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fascinating Ted Talk on "Creativity"

The subject of "creativity" has seemingly been beaten to death by a multitude of people in a ton of books, etc... However this link to a recent Ted Talk is really interesting!
Here is the link:

Julie Burstein: 4 lessons in creativity

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Ed Fosmire, Deputy Director, Laguna Museum of Art, Laguna Beach,CA

Ed Fosmire is Deputy Director of Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California. I first met Ed while he was Executive Director at the Oceanside Museum of Art and I was installing my exhibition there in the fall of 2011. My impression was that he had his hand in all aspects of the life of the museum, and I wanted to learn more about what led him to this point in his career.

Fosmire was born and raised in southern California. His parents owned and operated a restaurant where they spent long hours, often leaving Ed and his twin brother home with what he described as lots of time to create and make things out of art materials. They painted, and drew comic strips, created characters and re-created scenes from movies. Fosmire describes his aunt who collected Native American art, as having been a huge influence on his interest in the arts. Over the years, she often took he and his brother to museums. He reported that his big moment of “falling in love with museums” came in 1977, when his aunt took them to see the King Tut exhibition at LACMA.  Only 10 yrs. old at the time, he saw the long lines around the block and wondered why everyone was standing and waiting to see a museum but once inside he was completely mesmerized by the objects in the exhibition. Though he enjoyed making art as a kid, he knew this wasn’t the path he wanted to take. Fosmire attended Cal State, Long Beach where he studied art history and while he didn’t know which direction he wanted to take, he met Professor Ingrid Aall from Norway, who taught his classes in Asian Art History. He became fascinated with Asian art.  He eventually took an interest in Indian art and after he received his BA in Art History, he travelled to India to study further. Fosmire then decided to study for his MA in Art History and Professor Aall continued on as his graduate school advisor.
Low Rider exhibition, Oceanside Museum of Art
 After receiving his masters degree, Fosmire was offered a teaching position at Santa Ana College as an
Asian Art History instructor. He then went on to head up educational programming, hiring and administration at the Irvine Fine Art Center. Simultaneously, he worked at Orange County Museum of Art handling educational projects including the training and supervising of docents, as well as fundraising and writing grants. Following this experience, Fosmire worked for the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles and headed up their educational programming.  He was later asked to head up the Arts Council in Long Beach, which gave grants to organizations and artists and subsequently was hired to work at the Long Beach Museum of Art, where he was primarily involved in marketing, development and fundraising. 

Having received training and experience in marketing, administration, fundraising, grant writing and educational programming, together with his experience as a college instructor in Art History, Fosmire became the top choice for Executive Director at the Oceanside Museum of Art. During his two year stint at OMA, Fosmire is most proud of an educational program called “Art Quest” which he pioneered there.  This program, which is part of a four year grant, brings all fifth grade Oceanside students to the museum for a tour, a pre and post visit and hands on activity, all of which meets the guidelines of the state’s curriculum. Fosmire was also heavily involved in bringing both the “Low Rider” and “Facing West/Looking East” exhibitions to the museum. He collaborated with curator Richard Turner, a colleague at Chapman University, in reviewing and selecting artists for Facing West/Looking East.
Facing West/Looking East, Oceanside Museum of Art

Due to family considerations, Fosmire reluctantly decided not to renew his contract at OMA and took a position as Deputy Director of Laguna Beach Art Museum. In his short time at this museum, Fosmire says his focus is on fundraising, building memberships, educational programming and reaching out to the community.  He also informed me about the Edward H. and Evan J. Boseker Fund, which are funds recently received by the museum for framing and conservation efforts for the permanent collection which houses a great deal of early California art. In addition to Deputy Director, Fosmire continues teaching Asian Art Studies at Chapman University.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Behind the Scenes Conversations: Interview with Derrick R. Cartwright

Derrick Cartwright

I recently met with Derrick Cartwright at his office on campus at the University of San Diego’s Founders Hall. Along with its offices, Founders Hall houses the Robert and Karen Hoehn Family Galleries and the Hoehn Print Room.  Derrick divides his time between the responsibilities as Director of University Galleries and Professor of Practice – teaching art history students about art objects and the growth of art collections, as well as collaborating in their participation in curating exhibitions. Derrick’s career story has been a path guided by academic scholarly research and stints as executive director of museums. It has also been a journey woven with a network of strongly developed relationships with former mentors and professors - and those who recognized and admired his skills and abilities and his potential for leadership.

Derrick Cartwright’s story begins with having been born and raised in San Francisco.  He described his parents as creative people who also collected art. His father painted and sculpted in his spare time and his mother, a psychologist, also painted.  Having grown up with an appreciation for the visual arts, Derrick went to UC, Berkeley where he received his AB degree in Art History. At Berkeley, an important mentor and professor was Peter Selz, who Derrick credits as having helped deepen his excitement and interest in American 20th century modern art.  Selz who had been curator of painting and sculpture at MOMA in New York, also had personal relationships with famous
artists like DuChamp, Christo, Rothko and deKooning and brought these admired artists and their work to life for Derrick.  

Not quite sure of his next move after college, Derrick worked as Assistant to the Director of a commercial art gallery in San Francisco. Though he was “turned off” to the idea of art as a commodity, Derrick felt he learned a great deal by observing the Gallery Director as he managed all the challenges of running the gallery from handling the art, setting up exhibitions to other duties. After this experience, Derrick decided to attend graduate school for an MA in Art History at UCLA where he studied early 20th century American Art under the tutelage of Jim Cuno. Cuno, who is currently CEO and Director of the J.Paul Getty Trust encouraged Derrick to investigate museums as a career consideration but also guided him to studying for a Ph.D in Art History. Prior to continuing on with his education, Derrick received an NEA internship at the De Young Museum in San Francisco where he spent a year and curated a small exhibition of American artists.  He attributes this experience to having taught him about how museums operate including how collections are developed, and the process of creating and installing exhibitions.
Musee D'Art American, Giverny, France

Having completed his internship at the DeYoung, Derrick selected the University of Michigan to study for his Ph.D.  There, he studied under his teacher and mentor, art historian David Huntington. While Derrick was completing his dissertation at Michigan, Harrington passed away and Derrick was offered an Assistant Professorship at USD in San Diego. Derrick was at USD from 1992-1998, during which time he was a lecturer and taught several art history courses.  At about the end of his time at USD, a former professor at Berkeley was leaving and asked Derrick to replace her.  While teaching art history courses at Berkeley, Derrick received a call from a trustee at the Musee D’Art American in Giverny, France who offerred Derrick  the  position as Director of the museum. Derrick describes this as having been a wonderful adventure for he and his family. After two years of running this museum of American artists, his mentor and teacher Jim Cuno recommended him for the position as Director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. The museum, which houses 65,000 art objects, and has several curators, also served as a teaching opportunity for Derrick to share his knowledge with students about how to negotiate the purchase of art objects and to de-mystify what museums are all about.

Seattle Art Museum, Picasso Exhibition
In 2004, Derrick was offered the position as Director of the San Diego Museum of Fine Art. During his five years at the museum, Derrick believes the museum made some great strides.  He hired some top curators from Yale and other places, and importantly, extended the scope of the museum by partnering with museums in India, Japan, Mexico, China and other countries. The SDMFA exchanged collections, staff, and exhibitions which was a tremendous growth experience for everyone involved. In 2009, Derrick was offered the position of Director at Seattle Art Museum where he worked for two years and was a consultant for an additional year. His timing was not perfect, as during those years museums and the country were bridled by an economic crisis not seen since the great Depression. Spending much of his time dealing with budget crisis and taking steps to re-stabilize the museum was a huge challenge. Nevertheless, Derrick was very proud to have been able to bring a large Picasso exhibition  to Seattle from the Musee National Picasso which brought in 400,000 visitors in a single year. At that point, Derrick felt that he and his family were ready to return to California to be near friends and family and for Derrick, to USD, where he had first taught, and had such fond memories.

'Night Shadows', Edward Hopper(1921)
I believe Derrick Cartwright has come full circle. Hearing about his plans for the galleries and students at USD, it is clear that he has a deep commitment to the students, their families, and the community.  His future plan is to create connecting exhibitions among the four galleries on campus by focusing the art on prints at the Hoehn Family Galleries, artwork that features issues related to social justice at the Joan Kroc Institute for Social Justice, artwork that connects with Native American Cultures at the David W. May American Indian Collection and Gallery and the Hoehn Print Study Room that is a “hands-on” opportunity to view works by master printmakers including Goya, Dürer, Callot, Rouault, and Rembrandt. San Diego is fortunate to welcome the return of a passionate teacher and curator, and someone who will work to foster relationships between the University of San Diego and the many museums, galleries, visual art institutions and other art entities in the county.