Imagine you are a woman of color that is above all curious. You see a free workshop offered to explore who you are in your journey of life with a chance to gain some new art skills. Now imagine you are a recognized public art consultant who is also an artist and a passionate community gatherer. Art Produce in North Park brings these two together for a workshop during the artist residency of Constance White. Ms. White held a gathering to discuss all sorts of social issues and then prepared individualized packets of materials for each of the participants. She then stood back and watched what happened when reality meets imagination. Each woman revealed herself in the free choices she made, but was guided to make compositional decisions based simply on added knowledge of foreground, middle ground and background. The results are fascinating, revelatory, and stunning. The bonus: Ms. White declared she continues to learn how to be a better art teacher by listening to her students during a series of these outreach workshops.
The Artist in Residence program is in its third consecutive year and it provides both emerging and established artists with a 4-6 week residency and a small stipend. This year, the residency is awarded to 11 artists, many of whom will also offer a workshop to the community during their time at Art Produce. As the circle of participating artists expands, connections are forged among the artists that are ongoing and beneficial in various ways beyond the residency. A group exhibition of all 11 artists will be held August 13 - September 17.
This is an award-winning artist-run non-profit, a public/private enterprise, linking cultural programming and community development in North Park’s Arts District, an historic urban neighborhood of San Diego. Founded by Lynn Susholtz, the mission is to integrate community voice and vision into the cultural and physical landscape through art and education. Many have called and claimed Art Produce as a “third space” —it provides camaraderie, support, and encouragement along with time and openness to investigate ideas and experiment with materials.
Artists of all stripes continue to gather, exhibit, perform, and teach at Art Produce in 2022. Artists in Residence have quiet spaces to create, performers are bringing music and dance to the gallery and to the garden, artists are exhibiting provocative work, and workshop teachers are reaching out with fresh projects to work with community. The key word here is community engagement and interaction as the gallery transforms with each show. Walls and floors are occupied with work that is made with thought and action with art as an exchange between maker and viewer. It is a busy, productive, and lively time at a beloved community gallery and space. Earlier this year, a joint exhibition of artists Marianela de la Hoz and Helen Redman drew visitors and interest from all over San Diego. Viewers came to see the extraordinary paintings and to understand the artists' motivations in making them.
The flourishing community garden on Herman Avenue is the other public front of Art Produce. It is a place where flowers, fruit, and vegetables are in a continuous flux, reflecting the growth and completion of the numerous happenings at the non-profit.
This year, summer FREE art classes in the garden for all ages starts on every Saturday June 4, 12-2pm through August 27. These weekly sessions are a great place to learn a new skill—printmaking, drawing, creating sculpture using simple materials—and to spend time with family and friends. Sometimes you may meet a stranger and make a connection with them. You may go home with a spark or a thought about the possibility of art-making in everyday life. You may return time after time to be with this ever-changing community.
Finally, this summer, Art Produce is creating and staging a unique dance event called Sauced. Choreographed and performed by veteran San Diego dancers, Sauced offers audience members an intimate view of contemporary dance while enjoying a specialty cocktail or mocktail. To attend this saucy performance, get your tickets here
Art Produce is located at 3139 University Avenue. Be part of its vibrant community by attending the Garden pARTy Fundraiser on Saturday September 24, 2022. To be notified of everything happening at Art Produce, sign up for the newsletter at artproduce.org and follow on Instagram at @artproduce.