‘Catalyst’ showcases students’ art at VPAM

By Juan Calvillo

The Art and Animation Club curated the exhibit “Catalyst” at the Vincent Price Art Museum to coincide with the Festival of the Arts.

The exhibition is made up of East Los Angeles College students’ art pieces. Many of these pieces come directly from the members of the Art and Animation Club.

The exhibit’s name was chosen to embrace as many subjects and types of art pieces as possible.

“I think the best group exhibitions allow for diversity of thought and expression. The club finally honed in on this idea of ‘Catalyst,’ which is simply some event or person in one’s life that inspired them to create,” said co-club adviser, Christine Frerichs.

The club and its advisers approached VPAM director Pilar Tompkins Rivas about putting together an exhibit in response to last semesters student art event.

Many of the students and club members felt that despite putting forward good work, their pieces were sacrificed in order to create a theme that the guest curator wanted to exhibit. By being in charge of the exhibit’s curation, the Art and Animation Club was able to include as many pieces from students wanting to express their individual voices.

President Jose Manuel Salas and vice president Ani Anneyan of the Art and Animation Club said that was always the goal as far as curating the exhibit.

Salas said that both Rivas and Frerichs advice was invaluable  information, but that the pair left it up to the club members to really do the leg work.

“They just want to be there to advise us and to give us guidance. But when it comes to actually doing the work, they want us to take care of it so we can get the experience that our club intends to give to the club members,” said Anneyan.

The other part of putting together the exhibit was deciding the pieces that would become a part of the event.

Salas said that it came down to making sure the pieces were visually strong to be in the exhibit.

The student pieces also came with a written section from the artist describing their piece.
A strong showing in both the written and visual aspects would move the piece into the running to get shown.

Frerichs said that this section “is meant to help the viewer better understand the context of the visual work in front of them, and therefore, hopefully connect more.”

It was important for the club to help the students nail down how the art piece and their written statement worked together to fit into the theme of “Catalyst.”

“This is where we gave the students another opportunity. They have strong work let’s let them in and lets talk to them and say, ‘we need you to rework your written statement,’” said Salas. A second vote was taken among the club to choose the final pieces. All these steps were taken so that the goal of putting together an interesting exhibit was made possible.

When it came time to curate the animation sections of the exhibit, the club was given two options. Anneyan said that it was between a projector or a monitor. After consulting Rivas, the club decided on the projector to show the animation pieces that went into the exhibit.

Salas was in charge of putting the animations together and said there were a lot of entries.

Because the submissions didn’t take up space, more work from students could be shown.

The Art and Animation Club has included various pieces of art in “Catalyst,” all of which talk about the things that brought the young artists to the art world.

One artist, Toy Jones, has art pieces that center on her connection to nature. This connection is what brought her to art and sculpting. That spark that brought art into the lives of Jones and other featured artists is what the exhibit is all about.

“Catalyst” has an opening reception on Friday from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.. The exhibit will run from March 22 to April 20.

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