The 2008 ARTSHIFT Awards Celebrate a Total of Fifteen Individuals and Institutions in the Visual Arts in Silicon Valley, with Two Cash Award Winners! By Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

From a slate of fifteen nominees (both individuals and organizations or institutions) , Juror JoAnne Northrup, recently promoted Chief Curator of the San Jose Museum of Art, chose the unconventional, iconoclastic gallery, Anno Domini, and the highly spirited and immensely talented artist, Ema Harris Sintanmarian to receive cash awards.

Impish Ema drew laughs with her comments at acceptance of the Artshift Award.

Northrup spoke to the process of selecting the winners in consultation with a committee from the Advisory Board of ARTSHIFT. She confessed she had not taken the art community of the South Bay seriously when she first arrived in Silicon Valley. A measure of her change of heart is that she has moved from San Francisco to the South Bay to totally immerse herself in this growing art community. Supporting her discovery of riches in the South Bay, she read a long list of galleries and exhibition spaces where viewers can see great art in the area currently.

The back doors or Anno Domini are a fusion of youthful painting styles.

Over 150 people attended the awards ceremony to hear profiles and see projected visuals of the nominees and their accomplishments. The list of individuals and organizations, their achievements, and the great variety of their fields of endeavor were impressive and spoke to this vibrant visual arts scene. Arts schools and arts educators, gallery directors, art collectors, artist advocates and activists, and individual artists were all part of the list of honored nominees. Kerry Adams Hapner, Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of San Jose, announced the awards and made the presentations. She noted that given the wealth of talent represented by the nominations, it would have been impossible to make just one award.

The following are brief profiles of the nominees for the 2008 ARTSHIFT Awards, beginning with our winners:

The colorful murals of Anno Domini draw viewers into downtown San Jose.

CHERRI LAKEY AND BRIAN EDER, of ANNO DOMINI GALLERY present exhibitions in an urban aesthetic that is youthful and “counter-culture”. The Gallery, with its brightly painted, merging murals on the exterior walls is a colorful beacon in Downtown San Jose. To further enliven a struggling downtown, Lakey and Eder initiated the Phantom Galleries in empty storefronts and First Friday’s – the evening gallery openings throughout the Sofa District on First Fridays of the month. They manage Kaleid Gallery on Fourth Street. As fierce advocates for cutting edge and risky artforms, and for the visual arts in general, Lakey and Eder are celebrated for “shaking it up” and “thinking out of the box”.

Clasped hands in a maelstrom of line, texture, shape and color are Sintamarian’s actors in this painting on paper.

EMA HARRIS SINTAMARIAN is a recent MFA graduate of the San Jose State School of Art and Design, who now teaches at the University. She maintains her studio in the Citadel in Martha Gardens. She provides a role model and artistic example for her students in terms of her work ethic, inventive use of drawing and prolific output. A colleague describes her as “dedicated and inspired by the transformative power of art.” Sintamarian’s paintings and drawings draw heavily on the obsessive development of line that transforms into pattern, texture, shape, abstract form, architectural diagrams and figurative actors. Her quirky style is original, sassy and sometimes satirical.

Ben Alexy presents a compassionate realism within his abstracted and mysterious contexts.

BEN ALEXY is a recent BFA grad of the SJSU School of Art and Design. He paints in his Citadel studio in Martha Gardens as part of a rigorous artist’s routine. He paints enormous canvases that reinvigorate figurative painting — compassionate portrayals of friends, children and animals are in symbolic fields of diaristic notations.

Both children and adults benefit from the extensive CSMA educational programs.

The COMMUNITY SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND ARTS at Finn Center is a school for the arts and all ages, taught by professionals, reaching 40,000 individuals annually. Classes in music and visual arts are tied to State of California standards & classroom curriculum and occur in more than 25 Santa Clara County schools and at the new CSMA Center. Art students learn skills, critical thinking, problem solving, and show their work. Free exhibitions and concerts are offered to the community in the Mohr Gallery and Tateuchi Hall at Finn Center. CSMA offers mentorship programs, scholarships and an artist-in-residence program.

The Ant Farm Theater was one of many participants in Interruption of Hierarchies

SHELBY GRAHAM is an art educator, photographer and director of the Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery at UC Santa Cruz. As curator of the exhibition Interruption of Hierarchies, and as an organizer of the Spring 2008 UCSC festival, Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice, Graham wove together a complex program of community events and performances, interrelated exhibitions in other institutions, speakers and workshops around the Bay Area. The event piqued our consciences, and generated a buzz around the Bay

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Easter Street by Miriam Hitchcock was seen in exhibition recently in Santa Cruz.

MIRIAM HITCHCOCK is a painter whose sensitive responses to her everyday environment make us reexamine the ordinary, much as does a poet. Her art is very much about a about a sense of Place! She is also a respected art educator.

Cathy Kimball has brought the San Jose ICA to a permanent home on South First Street.

CATHY KIMBALL, Director of the San Jose institute of Contemporary Art, has brought this exhibition space from a series of rented spaces to a permanent home, on South First Street at Reed. Kimball has led a multi-million dollar fundraising effort for the ICA, created the C3 support group, greatly improved and expanded the facilities, including the exhibition spaces, Print Center, Reading Room and office and preparation areas for the growing staff. Night Moves and Talking Art are also Kimball additions to the ICA profile. One Bay Area artist says, “Her enthusiasm is contagious and her support for artists is over the top”.

Kent Manske, top left, with Foothill College print students

KENT MANSKE, is an MFA graduate of the Chicago Art Institute. The “generous and indefatigable” Manske teaches graphic design, printmaking, book arts and illustration at Foothill College. Manske is the coordinator of Bay Area Book Artists, contributing annually to the Foothill College Book Arts Jam. In his book arts classes he steers his students toward concepts and critical thinking. Manske participates in the ICA Monotype Marathon and lends the Foothill print studio to that fundraising effort. Manske’s own art speaks to struggles for survival, and divine intervention in times of crisis, in a figurative style that is simple, graphic, and even light-hearted.

Chalice by Ken Matsumoto was seen recently at the Triton Museum of Art/

KEN MATSUMOTO is the founder of Art Object Gallery in San Jose’s Japan Town: an exhibition space that is designed and curated with meticulous care, showing a stable of local artists alongside guest artists. Matsumoto maintains his own studio adjacent to the gallery. In a recent exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art, Matsumoto demonstrated his versatility in use of materials, with vessels created out of stone and brick, and on to illusionary vessels within glass. With a devoted community offering encouragement, Matsumoto has reopened the Art Object Gallery after a devastating fire, acknowledging that galleries are scarce in San Jose.

Students learned symbolism, installation and spontaneous discovery in the process of creativity, in their Montalvo-DCP collaboration.

The MONTALVO TEACHING ARTIST FELLOWSHIP at DOWNTOWN COLLEGE PREP was a collaborative project mounted in the 2007-2008 academic year. This project linked professional artists in the performing and visual arts to high schools students. They studied symbolism and created symbols for historic heroes out of aluminum foil. Students explored risk-taking and creativity without rules by digging holes in the school garden that molded their “We Vessels” – constructed from yarn, string, plastic and miscellaneous materials. The stunning results were exhibited both at DCP and Montalvo.

Fawn Powers and Roger Poyner are collectors and patrons of the visual arts.

FAWN POWERS and ROGER POYNER have been active art collectors of South Bay Artists’ work for more than twenty years. They have lent their expertise and energy to fostering growth of the South Bay arts scene by service on many non-profit boards and committees. Further they have contributed generously to the financial stability of many museums, nonprofit arts organizations, galleries and individual artists. Beneficiaries of their expertise and patronage include the San Jose Museum of Art, Triton Museum of Art, Los Gatos Museum of Art, MACLA, Works, ARTSHIFT and the San Jose ICA (where both served on the Board of Directors).

Anne Sconberg and Mark Henderson have created a unique “art party” that is a one evening exhibition on a grand scale and with grand style.

ANNE SCONBERG and MARK HENDERSON are a force for inventively celebrating the arts of the South Bay and Santa Cruz area. Mark is a ceramics artist in his own right. Their art parties take months in planning: selecting art, hiring an installer, catering, music, car parking and inviting friends (old and new) to see art installed throughout their home(s) and spilling out in to the yards and street. Hundreds of artists and art lovers attend. One local artist states, “I was introduced to slew of new artists in all media and in all stages of their careers.”

Listening Post at the San Jose Museum of Art, one of many digital works of art drawing crowds to downtown San Jose during Zero1, a major project of Joel Slayton

JOEL SLAYTON, a respected Professor of Art at SJSU where he built the Cadre Program (Computers in Art, Design and Education) is the new Director of Zero1, San Jose’s festival of “art on the edge”. This appointment follows Slayton’s years of extensive behind-the-scenes work in creating this collaboration between SJSU, the city of San Jose, Silicon Valley corporate electronics interests, and local arts institutions. Zero one has brought a prominent and excellent biennial event to San Jose, galvanized the larger art community behind it, and created networking opportunities for many institutions and individual artists.

Students learn skills and visit the Triton Museum exhibitions as part of the educational programs offered.

The TRITON MUSEUM OF ART EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, under the direction of Esther Fernandez are a series of classes for both children and adults. The KidStudio classes reach out to students age 3 -12, and their parents. The Pre-K component is taught in both Spanish and English and draws families that are usually not seen in museums into art experiences. During the summer, 40% of the students in the KidStudio attend on needs-based scholarships. ArtReach After School does outreach to low income, multi-lingual schools, and to Lucile Packard Hospital. Adult studio classes in drawing in varied media, and watercolor, and in art history are so popular they have wait-lists.

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