LIttle & Large Introductions by Patricia Frischer
The San Diego Visual Arts Network in a joint collaboration of 41 venues from Fallbrook to Coronado has challenged almost 100 local artists, both sculptors and jewelers, to work in both mediums in homage to Alexander Calder. When I heard the announcement about Calder Jewelry, the light bulb went on almost immediately as I thought about how this artist had created his stunning sculptures but also made over 1800 pieces of jewelry. Why not ask local sculptors to make a piece of jewelry? Then naturally, we must give that same chance to local jewelers by asking them to create a sculpture. I had no idea this seemingly simple concept would be so embraced by the art community.
We have asked each artist (either a sculptor or a jeweler) to make both a work of sculpture and a piece of jewelry just like Alexander Calder made both jewelry and sculpture. We have asked each to write a few words about that relationship. We are giving artists the opportunity and challenge to work in another medium, if they are not already doing so. The artists are not partnered together...they all work independently and they show their two works side by side. Some artists have been asked to show a number of these combinations at their venues and a few are showing at more than one place.
As coordinator of the SDVAN I saw many immediate benefits for our organization. It is our first county wide promotion, thus giving us wider exposure than ever before. We made collaborations with a new set of volunteers, artists, art galleries, and museum shops. We also received masses of new listings on the site from those resources as well as on our mailing list. We are asking for a 5% voluntary donation for any work sold during the promotion to help raise funds for our future projects.
“Many artists are delighted to have found new venues for their work to help boost their careers and hopefully their pocketbooks” as stated by our La Jolla coordinator Lisa Van Herik. Some of the jewelers are being validated as artists as this is the first show for them in art galleries and not shops. The sculptors are getting a chance to create jewelry which might possibly have a better market than larger works during the current economic market. We have found that many sculptors are welcoming this opportunity to make smaller wearable works at this time when large pieces are more challenging to place. Also jewelers are embracing the idea of making larger works which don't need to be wearable; thereby helping them cross over and break down the boundaries between art and craft.
The venues are being exposed to new artists and by joining such a large collaboration are getting greater exposure and the possibility of a new audience. This is an opportunity to come together and present a united front and draw more attention to the visual arts. Besides the official launch at the Se Hotel at least four major areas of town ( El Cajon, North Park, Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, and La Jolla) are able to feature these artists during their monthly Art Walks. Many are having private openings as well as giving up to three special evenings to celebrate and promote themselves and the artists. That makes over 50 opportunities to gather and network. SDVAN with its 3-4000 visitors a month and over one million hits a year gives tremendous coverage to these events.
I hope we are giving the art patrons who might be happy to buy a piece of jewelry a way to relate to sculpture and to expand their concepts of art. And for those feeling the pinch right now, hasn’t artful jewelry always been reasonably affordable portable sculpture? One of the largest challenges for SDVAN is to try to create more art collectors in our region. This county-wide promotion will help art buyers to find art close by and hard to resist these tempting displays.
I personally am very pleased about all the special works that have been created just for this promotion. I get so excited when I am in the proximity of good art. Plus, I love a good party with many individual venue receptions and our group launch everyone will be given a chance to Party with the Art Stars.
Patricia Frischer is a founding member and coordinator of the San Diego Visual Arts Network, Frischer has taken on the roles of gallerist, curator, writer, teacher, website coordinator and artist. Her many metamorphoses make it difficult to fit her into any of the usual art world categories. She is author of The Artist and the Art of Marketing and has lectured extensively on marketing for artists. She is a trainer of artists’ agents, art dealers, consultant and collectors. Her own art work (www.DrawsCrowd.com) has been shown internationally and her most recent one person show was at Oxford University and The Mesa College Art Gallery.