by Val Raps, AIR, the Art Ark

San Jose, May 2007

Art Ark is built, the residents have moved in and art is installed! Art Ark, an artisan village just south of downtown San Jose was envisioned as an artists’ enclave; a place to live, work and exhibit. Currently in residence are six Shaolin Monks, professional singer Cheryl Scales and many visual artists. Artist in Residence (AIR), Valerie Raps lives on the property and coordinates art exhibits with the residents to display art in the five common spaces on the property.


Val Raps: Scribe

“My role as Artist in Residence at Art Ark is to coordinate an Arts Council comprised of artist residents who are interested in creating and sustaining a thriving arts community. I hope to put Art Ark on the map as a destination for the arts. My first objective was to get Art Ark involved with Silicon Valley Open Studios (SVOS). Mel Thompson, CEO of SVOS was interested in outreaching to university art departments in Silicon Valley. So I curated a show that included MFA graduate student work from San Jose State University for our first exhibit in the Common House Gallery here at Art Ark. Also on exhibit is the art of eight Art Ark artist residents: Lucy Liew, Eileen Graham, April Gee, Pernilla Andersson, Alex Olivera, John Truong, Jo-Lynn Otto, and Patty Orr, consisting of work in a variety of mediums such as oil and acrylic paintings, photography, and mixed media. The collaboration with San Jose State’s Art Department and Silicon Valley Open Studios has put me in contact with a large community of emerging artists and long time artists who have made art a way of life in the center of San Jose.


Pantea Karimi: As T.S. Elliot Imagined

The show has already been a great success attracting the attention of City Council member Sam Liccardo, members of the Neighborhood Action Coalition (NAC), and art organizers from Movimiento de arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), Works/San Jose Gallery and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) as well as local residents in the Martha Gardens neighborhood. We have received rave feedback on the quality of the art on exhibit, the design of the gallery and the installation of the exhibition. The art by SJSU MFA graduates and students includes encaustic paintings by Sara Cole, works on tar paper by Shelby Smith, watercolors by Christine Canepa, Aluminum sculpture by Julie Jacobson, photography by Julia Bradshaw, ceramic sculpture by Kimberly Cook, Ben Eberle, Gabe Toci and Kristin Schimik, wood and metal sculptures by Ben Hunt, fabricated steel sculpture by Valerie Raps, cast aluminum by Andrew Hedges and Mark Fox-Morgan, prints by Pantea Karimi, and paintings by Ema Sintamarian, Susan Burgers, Jason Adkins and Mike Risch.


Sara Cole: Ten Skin

The exhibition will open its doors to the public during the first weekend of Silicon Valley Opening Studios’ three-weekend event on Saturday May 5th and Sunday, May 6th from 11-5pm at the Common House Gallery located at 1035 South Sixth Street between Bestor Park and Keyes Blvd on the Art Ark Property.

We are all proud of the work that has gone into this first exhibition. We look forward to the next show which will feature art by local artists who work at the Citadel Studios, American Cannery, and San Jose State University Foundry, as well as Art Ark residents and artists living in the surrounding Martha Gardens neighborhood.”


Ben Eberle: The Impossible Series #3

Ark Art was designed by David Neal of CORE companies and managed during its creation by Martha Putnam who has made this vision a reality. David Neal saw the need to retain and support San Jose’s artist population, so he designed a living space targeting the needs of an artist population. The property is nestled in the Martha Gardens neighborhood, which has been designated as an arts neighborhood by the city.

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