Art Walk Gallery Mentorship Program Features LCAD Students
|Daniella Walsh LB | Indy|
For the ninth year now Laguna College of Art and Design seniors have been paired up with First Thursday Art Walk member galleries who exhibit their work for a month in an effort to give them a taste of the “real world.”
This opportunity to learn the gallery business involves initially presenting themselves along with cover letters, resumes, artist’s statements and their portfolios to allergists who then decide whether to give them a chance.
On Dec. 2, during this month’s Art Walk, 15 ethnically and chronologically diverse students will present their work to the public. If it sells, a percentage of money goes to the First Thursday Art Walk Scholarship Fund.
Hannah Cosner, 21, has paired with DeRu’s Fine Art, a gallery specializing in blue-chip Plein-Air paintings and corresponding artifacts. “I learned how a gallery is run and I also got to witness a substantial sale,” said Cosner. “I’ve created a special painting for the occasion since I had only school work and this is such a great opportunity for exposure.” She explained how daunting it is to leave the security blanket of school behind but credited LCAD’s Professional Studies class and the mentorship program for giving her confidence.
“I am now confident enough to call myself an artist instead of just a student,” she said.
Credit for the class and mentorship concept goes to Robin Fuld, a veteran of the local gallery business. “For a long time, there was no connection between art galleries in town and the school and yet, since they are so close together, it seemed natural for them to work together,” she said.
Efraim Cerrato got his Bachelor’s Degree in physical education from Cal State Fullerton. “I’ve worked as a personal trainer and served in the military but my first love has always been art,” he said.
At 46, he is about to receive another B.A. in Fine Art from LCAD and is looking at MFA programs on the East Coast. “All my adult life I have understood how the body works, but it took time to develop an eye,” he said. The former Navy Corpsman/medic says that it also took time to mature and grow the thick skin needed to face art professors’ critiques. “My admission interview was an eye opener,” he recalled.
Fuld pairs students and galleries according to their strengths and styles. Cerrato has been assigned to the Esther Wells Collection, which specializes in a variety of representational art. “Robin makes good matches and somehow I have been paired with older or returning students who already understand the nature of business. For them it’s not just creativity,” said Charlie Ferrazzi, the gallery’s proprietor.
Sanja Simidzija, owner of the Art Cube gallery, is spotlighting David Barnett who has already interned with Whelan Art Galleries and with former Arin Fine Art. At 33, he brings life experience incorporating upbringing by survivalist parents who raised the family in tents, minus television and urban artifice. “Living so close to nature shaped who I am; today I look at life deeper and take little for granted,” he said.
Until enrolling at LCAD, college played a marginal role in his aspirations. Throughout working what he calls a million jobs, his desire to be an artist prevailed. “I want to make art that tells a story, that expresses ideals,” he said. “I don’t want to do soundbytes— empty art for its own sake or stuff that conveys nothing but shock and brutality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Simidzija say that she hopes to represent Barnett in the future. “David’s work connects on a deeply emotional level already, and he is certain to grow over time,” she said.
Erik Flores, 24, is a figurative/portrait painter who works from nature or photographs and is still finding his own aesthetic. “I am interested in understanding my subject— when I worked on my self-portrait, also learned about myself,” he said. Flores’ painting of himself, his father and younger brother will be seen at SALT Fine Art. Perhaps it’s Cosner who best sums up sentiment between students and mentors and art collectors when she says: “Art is meditation…Ideally, it inspires love.”