Geneva Anderson digs into art

Thursday is Lunchtime in the Sonoma County Museum’s New Outdoor Sculpture Garden!

Ned Kahn's Vapor Fountain (steel, aluminum, 2011) happily bubbled away at last Sunday's inauguration of the Sonoma County Museum's new outdoor sculpture garden. Kahn is an internationally recognized artist who frequently works with water and natural elements. The fountain marks the entrance to the garden which also contains the works of 6 other Northern CA Artists. Photo: Geneva Anderson

The Sonoma County Museum’s new Outdoor Sculpture Garden, its latest in a series of planned upgrades, was dedicated last Sunday at festive reception for donors and museum members.   The community is invited to embrace the new space by having lunch there on Thursdays through September when entrance to the garden will be free.  The new garden is located in a previously empty third of an acre lot at A & 7th Streets in Santa Rosa, next to the Sonoma County Museum (SCM) and features 10 works by 7 North Bay artists– Carroll Barnes, Roger Berry, Edwin Hamilton, Bruce Johnson, Ned Kahn, Pat Lenz and Hugh Livingston.  

The project cost roughly $200,000 and the garden was designed by San Rafael architect Fred Warneke.  The grounds themselves were landscaped by JLP Landscape Contracting of Santa Rosa with native trees, shrubs and grasses supplementing the magnolia and redwood trees already there and a back iron fence with a trellis gate entry surrounds the area.  The artworks are on long-term loan to the museum from the artists with the exception of the sound installation by Hugh Livingston, which was commissioned, and Cazadero sculptor Bruce Johnson’s enormous wood and copper “Sequoia” (2,000), which the museum owns.  “Sequoia,” is a split open old growth sequoia tree whose interior was milled out with a chain saw and lined in copper and is meant to be walked through.   The 16 foot tall piece required an upgrade in its retrofitting before it could be relocated from its east site on the museum to the new garden locale on the west.  (Click here to see a SCM photo album devoted to “Sequoia’s” move.)  

At 16 feet tall, Cazadero sculptor Bruce Johnson's "Sequoia" is a focal point of the Sonoma County Museum's new outdoor sculpture garden. The hollowed-out old growth sequoia was relocated from the east side of the museum to the new garden on the west side with much fanfare. Photo: Geneva Anderson

Sunday’s celebration was also a fundraiser to support the museum’s Collection Initiative, a long range program developed by Diane Evans, the museum’s executive director and Eric Stanley, its history curator, to manage the museum’s collection which encompasses some 20,000 artworks and historical pieces.  Currently, the vast majority of this collection is in storage due to lack of space.  

In April, 2011, the museum was awarded a $300, 000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) five-year Challenge Grant, designated for its Collection Initiative.  This was quite an honor as just two of these challenge grants were awarded in all of California for 2010.   According to Evans, the grant requires SCM to raise $900,000 over the next five years in matching funds.  The grant and matching dollars together will total $1.2 million, which will be designated toward an endowment for the support of staffing to care for and manage the museum’s extensive collections, as well as funds to ensure safe long-term collections storage.  The museum must raise $60,000 by July 31, 2011 to meet the grant’s first stage.  Evans reported Sunday that the museum had raised about $20,000 so far.  All of the funding raised must be allocated to the Collections Initiative and cannot support other museum programs or campaigns.

Meanwhile, the museum’s expansion plans are on track for occupying space in the former AT&T building after its remodel is completed next year.  Contemporary artworks will be displayed in that new space and the present locale, the historic old post office building, will then be devoted to the museum’s vast collection of historical objects.  Highlights of the SCM’s collection include the Song Wong Bourbeau Collection of some 200 photographs and artifacts which represents the rich history and culture of Santa Rosa’s Chinatown, and the Tom Golden Collection of artworks by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

Hugh Livingston's subtle 16 Channel Sound Installation is a work in progress at the Sonoma County Museum's new outdoor sculpture garden. Livingston placed 16 (round green) units around the garden that emit gurgling water sounds recorded at the Russian River over the past year. Photo: Geneva Anderson

Those visiting the new outdoor sculpture garden this month will have the chance to see Hugh Livingston tweaking his 16 channel sound installation which uses sound bites captured from the Russian River.   The piece has the most conceptual angle among the ten and also corners the market for humor–  it looks and sounds like city water infrastructure on steroids.   In fact, many guests at Sunday’s reception didn’t even realize it was art, which is fine with Livingston who likes making a “subtle point”.   Livingston explained that it was “too noisy” with all the landscaping and irrigation set-up going on to actually hear what he was doing, so he will be adjusting his 16 gurgling green ports over the coming weeks.

Lunchtime: Every Thursday, from June 30 through September 29, 2011, from 11:30am – 1:30pm, Ultracrepes mobile family-operated food truck will be on site selling gourmet savory and dessert crepes made with natural ingredients for $5 to $7, along with a variety of refreshments.  Visitors are encouraged to sit and eat and linger in the garden, taking in the works which have been loaned to the museum on a long-term basis by the artists. 

Upcoming activities in the garden:
June 30: Claire Gustavson Art Class
July 7: Jessica Jarvis and partner (Jazz duo/acoustic jazz guitar and singer)
July 14: Katie Godec (singer)
July 21: Claire Gustavson Art Class

Details: Admission is FREE for Lunchtime in the Garden; regular museum admission applies to visit current exhibitions.  The Sonoma County Museum is located at 425 7th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.  Museum Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11am-5pm.  Information: 707.579 .1500

Current Exhibitions:  Gertrud Parker: An Artist and Collector and Pat Lenz: Nobody’s Poodle, both through September 11, 2011.

Directions: Sonoma County Museum is just steps away from Downtown Santa Rosa and Historic Railroad Square.  From Highway 101 Heading North, take the 3rd St/Downtown Exit from Hwy 101, turn right at 3rd Street and then left at B Street. Travel 3/4 mile and turn left at 7th Street.  The museum is on your right.

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Art, Sonoma County Museum | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday night’s hot ticket — Arts d’Light, Petaluma Arts Center’s annual party

320 art lovers turned out Saturday’s night at the Petaluma Arts Center  for  “Arts d’Light,” the Petaluma Arts Council’s inaugural celebration of local creative artists.  Vicky Kumpfer, PAC executive director, called the event  a “huge success” and hopes to turn it into an annual event.

Light was the operative theme both inside and outside the arts center.  For the past week, in anticipation of the party, the council’s exterior has been illuminated on the Lakeville Highway side with a dazzling computerized light installation created by Petaluma lighting wizard Chad Dunbar.   Inside the center, the galleries which are currently

The Railway’s Depot’s main gallery space was tranformed into a buffet and wine tasting area for about 300 Petaluman’s who turned out to support the Petaluma Arts Council

exhibiting stone sculptures by Edwin Hamilton and drawings by Chester Arnold, were adorned with 89 additional artworks created and donated by local artists especially for an “Objects d’Light” silent auction to benefit the Arts Council.

Also screening on the main gallery’s back wall was an urban scape created especially for the event by Nicholas van Kridjt which consisted of film footage shot entirely from his car window on a drive from San

The art works of Edwin Hamilton and Chester Arnold currently on exhibit took on “Arts d’Light’s” thematic lighting as the gallery was transformed into a dramatically glowing dance floor later in the evening.

Francisco to the Petaluma Arts Center.   Van Kridjt’s luminous oak tree, projected on another gallery wall, provided the perfect backdrop for many of the evening’s  photographs.

In addition to fine art, Petaluma catering wizard Tracy Gentry and her team of volunteers coordinated a virtual feast of local gourmet foods, desserts and premium wines donated by over 60 local businesses, galleries and wineries.  Some of the more well-known sponsors included Carter’s Classic Catering, Jerome’s Bar-B-Que, Lala’s Creamery, Viva Cocolat, Petaluma Coffee and Tea and numerous local wineries including Adobe Road Winery, Azari Vineyards, Hanzell Vineyards, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Imagery Winery, Kendall-Jackson Winery, Pflender Vineyards, Singer Cellars, Sonoma Valley Portworks and Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Michael Garlington’s fabulous photo installation “In the Eye of Michael Garlington” allowed to look into Garlinton’s third eye and see a reflection of their own eye…the crowd favorite

Local musicians serenaded guests.  Los Gu’achis, featuring Steve Della Maggiori, Barbara Arhon and Argus Courier editor Chris Samson played the music of Mexico as the party began.  Bruce Kurnow strolled the galleries playing blues/roots tunes on his harmonica.  Later in the evening, jazz pianist Bob Johns played keyboard with Steve Della Maggiori on bass as people enjoyed port, coffee, a delectible self-serve belgian chocolate fondue fountain and homemade ice cream.

While people partied indoors, Clifford Hill a member of the Santa Rosa kinetic artist collective Krank, Boom, Clank offered complimentary rides around Petaluma on his amazing

Clifford Hill offered guests rides around town on his whimsical kinetic Hennepin Crawler. Image by Scott Hess.

Hennepin Crawler to those nimble and sober enough to climb aboard the foot-powered contraption.  While most of the partygoers adorned themselves glowing baubles,  Theresa Hughes, Clifford’s wife and owner of Atelier Therese in Santa Rosa, was enchanting in a period costume she created that was clearly meant to recall the pre-electrical era.

The evening’s silent auction was a huge success with many pepole participating.  The highest bid offered was for Sean Paul Lorentz’s sculpture “Betty’s Ornament” which raised $555 for the Petaluma Arts Council.

After the auction winners were announced, DJ LaShonda ushered in the Afterglow Dance Party and the lights were turned down for dancing.    “We are so proud that so many people came out to the celebration and are expressing what an asset the center is to our commnity,” said Vicky Kumpfer.  “Light is essential and a universal and we couldn’t be more d’lighted with the turnout.”

Artist Mark Grieve’s “The Light that Came Out of the Closet,” a marijuana growing set-up that points to the hypocrisy of the liberal pot culture and reflects an important environmental issue—indoor cannabis production leaves a very nasty carbon footprint.

David Nunes-Childs and his mother Petlauma artist Cecilia Nunes whose paintings are currently at the Tea Room Cafe

Petaluma artist Alison Marks, Arts Council co-founder and current board member

Karen Petersen, President PAC Board of Directors, and Petaluma photographer Scott Hess who contributed photos to the Silent Art Auction

Vicky Kumpfer, Executive Director, Petaluma Arts Council, beaming in a black lace dress with its own voltage

Gina Benedetti-Petnik with a third eyeful after peeping into Michael Garlington’s installation and seeing her own eye.

Petaluma Arts Council’s Jonna Ramey took a break from shooting party pics to say she was “d’ lighted with d’ turnout”

Designer Theresa Hughes of Atelier Therese in Santa Rosa was resplendent in period costume

Nick Van Kridjt, Tammara Norman and Edwin Hamilton. Edwin’s stone works are on display at the Petaluma Arts Council through July 4, 2010.

Persian film buffs and winemakers Pari and Kamal Azari of Azari Vineyards served a d’lightful Shiraz

(foreground) Petaluma’s Barry Singer of Barry Singer Gallery and Singer Cellars proudly poured his vin Franc and other specialties. (background) Winemaker Michael NcNeill of Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma offered strong competition.

Karen Petersen, ARThound (Geneva Anderson), Cecelia Nunes and David Nunes-Childs against Nicholas Van Kridjt’s stunning Oak Tree

Mario Bosanac of Lala’s Creamery serving cones that many partiers dipped in Viva Cocolat’s streaming chocolate fondue

Will Mendoza, owner of Lala’s Creamery of Petaluma, could barely keep up with the demand for his homemade cones

Jazz Pianist Bob Johns and bass Steve Della Maggiori played as guests enjoyed fondue and ice cream

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Art, Petaluma Arts Council | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment