Friday, September 16, 2011

Love Letter To The Arts Factory

I just wanted to thank you for your presence in Las Vegas and to affirm that I believe your gallery is an asset to the community. I brought my two children in for a self-guided tour yesterday, and we left most impressed. My eight-year-old daughter, whom I am homeschooling, enjoyed the exhibits and also took great pleasure in speaking with various people in the building. The lessons learned were many, but the discussion that followed was the greatest teacher: that these people she just met, these artists, may or may not be able to make a living at their art, and that has no bearing on the end result. Artists do art out of pure love, and if you have it in you, you need to feed it, and if you don't, part of you dies. The smell of paint, the din of music played and artists working, all of this was entirely formative. Furthermore, the John Wayne Gacy exhibit stunned me into silence. I translated his story posted at the beginning of the exhibit for my daughter so she understood who
 Gacy was, but the effect on me was indescribable. I stood and pondered how a man convicted of such heinous crimes could produce work that is so soft, so human, perhaps even childlike in its subject matter and its execution. The lesson for me was again, that I am not capable of judging people for the face that I see, and I was reminded again that the artist within reflects much of that which we cannot see from the outside. Again, I thank you.
Las Vegas Parton

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gacy Show at CAC Gallery

Yes, the CAC is leasing the Gallery space back to Myles management for the exhibiting of the Gacy works. Yes, the CAC will be accepting proceeds as a donation if there are any. The Board decided to go forward with this PRIMARILY because we believe the show will raise important questions and discussions about the nature of art, AND IT HAS. AND IT WILL CONTINUE TO. This is part of our mission, to educate the public and create discussion about art. This has happened as evidenced here in this discussion and in many others.

Here's the "GOOD" that is coming out of CAC leasing the space for the exhibition and accepting part of the proceeds from the sale of Gacys paintings:simply put, it will help us pay our bills....the CAC is a non profit, run primarily by volunteers, every month we are struggling to keep our doors open and bills paid. Our board members and volunteers spend many hours every week working for FREE to help keep CAC open. If anyone out there would like to raise some funds on an ongoing basis for CAC, please step forward, we need your help, not just now but ongoing.

No non profit is in a position to refuse funds, ever, but especially in these economic times. If some non profit is going to receive the proceeds, why shouldn't it be CAC...we're the ones taking the heat for allowing the works to be displayed in our space.

Anne Mulford CAC Board President

Friday, July 1, 2011

Radio Xan 
The Voice of the Las Vegas Arts Community - Hosted by Alexandra Charbogné


Click on the link below to listen to a great interview with Philip Denker, Joshua Levin and Matthew Couper


Alexandra Epstein, visiting with us at the CAC gallery
Executive Manager of the oldest, continually operating hotel/casino in Las Vegas, the El Cortez

Friday, May 27, 2011

Artist's Statements


Best of Show
Philip Denker - “X”, pen & pencil on paper & matboard (24”x31”)
Artist Statement: My recent work is an attempt to resolve fundamental questions of design, form and function, while staying within subjective parameters that I set for myself. My investigation process is focused around the idea of creating a stylized representation of organic structures through patterns and configurations. The geometric patterns are not necessarily a specific mathematical formula, they evolve throughout each piece, and each piece becomes a springboard for the next.

1st Prize
Kim Fink  - “The Weight Of”, digital serigraph (30”x120”x8”)
Artist Statement: Since arriving in the remote Northern Plains ten years ago, I learned to embrace the remoteness of the Dakotas, consciously focusing on the idea of conjoining an interpretation of my external world with that of my local experiences – reflecting place and emphasizing recording my personal life experiences. It is my goal to create a fusion of cultural realities that explore objective verses subjective visions and develop a synthesis between image and meaning.

2nd Prize
Matthew Couper  - “Trickle Down Theory”, oil on canvas (58”x46”)
Artist Statement: Matthew Couper was born in New Zealand and recently immigrated to the USA, his practice over the past decade has appropriated western art history periods such as the Trecento, Quattrocento, and the Baroque. Couper uses the established narrative traditions of Spanish Colonial / Mexican retablos and exvotos to discuss the space between myth, religion and art politics. He recently stated that “like any good Johnny Cash, Nick Cave or Pixies song, you’ve got to have sex, death and religion fueling the fire” – ShareMag, Portugal (Spring Edition, 2011)

3rd Prize
Suzan Shutan  - “Bird Myth”, wire & pom-poms (72”x64”x17”)
Artist Statement: I use found and manufactured materials because they can comment upon accumulation of cultural debris and become their own subjective universes as they build form into patterns of communicative behavior of life processes. When introduced to Algorithms, I began formulating my own systems of mapping, both fictitious and natural, using movement (traveling spores, pheromones, birds, ants, commuters, migration and habitation). My structures multiply into sweeping patterns that spatially interact with architecture and often invite touch to activate the work. I use color as an emptive quality, the joie de vive of life. It also represents my growing up in a household where lime green and carrot orange were our pulsating carpet colors.

Honorable Mention
Christine Pinney Karkow  - “Landscape 10 (night)”, ultrachrome inkjet print, 30”x45”
Artist Statement: These images depict the ubiquitous landscapes of everywhere and at the same time of nowhere. The subjects are buildings and spaces that are unremarkable, perhaps not even worthy of being captured in an image. But maybe they are. Maybe in the midst of these mass produced, bland, repetitive spaces that have been created for the generation of profit there can still be some type of poetic essence, there may still be a unique narrative that could take place. But that is an open question and one that the production of these images is still searching to answer.

Honorable Mention
Joshua Levin, Ph.D.  - “Budache”, mixed media assemblage, (35”x19”x19”)
Artist Statement: I conduct ritualized visual experiments that transform mundane objects and images of everyday life into portals of sacred awareness and insight. The recycled bits of cultural refuse that are woven throughout my work represent a direct encounter with the excesses of modern living. They are physical expressions of our anxieties, specifically consumption as a response to insecurity and desire. Paradoxically, this cultural debris also contains symbolic reference to our values and our diversity, as well as the stories we tell about who we are and why we are here. With each experiment, I engage these themes and contradictions, fashioning trash into visionary objects that synthesize, amuse, inspire, provoke and renew

Friday, April 29, 2011

Life Drawing Workshop

As part of the Contemporary Arts Center mission statement “Striving to build, educate, and sustain audiences for contemporary art” the CAC offers a life drawing workshop.

The CAC Education Program facilitates weekly art classes for adults with the life drawing workshops.
No instruction is given but we offer the opportunity to develop and improve rendering skills.

Stewart Freshwater has facilitated the life drawing workshops at the Contemporary Arts Center of Las Vegas, almost the entire 22 years the CAC has been in existence.

Stewart got his BFA from University of Nevada LV in 1975 and was employed as an illustrator in Las Vegas from 1976 to 2010 and has continue his own professional Fine Art Design business since 1980

The life drawing workshop was started by others but when Stewart found out about it he quickly joined and has continued his involvement to this day. When he was at the university studying art he first began drawing models. He always wanted to continue this and the CAC life drawing workshop offered that opportunity.

According to Stewart “The body is used in the traditional art schools as a tool to teach artist to draw what they see, get the proportions correctly on the page. Once you can draw the body it seems you are able to draw most anything. You begin developing your perception of scene and understanding what you see and put it on the paper.”

Word of mouth has kept the workshop going for 20 years. The group is a diverse gathering of men and women ranging from the 20's to the 70's. Stewart hopes the life drawing workshop continues forever.

“In the life drawing workshop artists are able to continue working on and maintaining their skills in seeing how light goes across a form, how that light defines the form. Not only that direct light but reflective light and how it bounces off the surfaces.”

“For the student its an opportunity to work on the right side of the brain. Most of the time people don't use the right side of the brain. The left side of the brain rules because it is more structured. The left side tells you what you think you should be seeing, but by training the right side of the brain to see the details beyond the stick figure and oblong shaped eggs you become an artist.” said Stewart.

Some of Stewart's art work is on display at the Rhythm Repetion Movement exhibit through May 22nd at the Historic Fifth Street School in downtown Las Vegas.

For more information go to

Thursday, April 21, 2011

'Arts education stimulates their minds'

What else is damaged when schools have to cut cultural programs?

When trumpeter Dallin Johnson took to the field at Arbor View High School last week to perform a stirring "Danny Boy" -- a traditional Irish song usually played to commemmorate a death -- what had begun as a rally for arts education began to feel more like a wake. The gathering was intended to motivate students and parents to contact lawmakers about how cuts in the state budget will decimate arts education in Las Vegas schools. Dozens of music, theater and arts programs (some estimates put the tally at more than 50) are imperiled, and with them the engagement, and sometimes futures, of thousands of students.

"I've been involved in several programs that allowed me to be accepted to the University of Utah. If it wasn't for [the arts] ... I never would have had this opportunity," says Johnson, an Arbor View senior headed for Utah on a music scholarship.

Official estimates say school district leaders could be forced to trim more than $400 million, with a good portion coming from school arts programs, by the time the Legislature wraps up its session in early June. More than arts progams are on the chopping block, of course. In a message on Basic High School's website, Principal David Bechtel notes the impending loss of three English teachers, four instructors of math or science, some Advanced Placement classes and other specialized offerings. Other schools are planning for similar cuts.

But the cuts in arts education in particular could spell trouble for the city's cultural life, at a time when it's seeing some significant traction but is still in many ways in a fragile state. Myron Martin, president of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, cites studies by The Wallace Foundation "showing that arts participation is linked to learning about the arts at an early age (K-12)." A Rand Corp. report concluded that people who experience and are educated about the arts at an early age are likely to enjoy them over the course of their lives. So cuts in school arts programs have implications both for the future pool of creative artists in Las Vegas, and for educated, engaged audiences. "I worry that further cuts could deprive an entire generation of people the opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the arts," Martin says.

"I think that Las Vegas is just beginning to create a culturally oriented population," says Anne Mulford, president of the board of directors of the Contemporary Arts Center. "We're relatively young in terms of our mentality of ourselves as a city, and it takes a mature population to support the arts. If we don't create individuals who appreciate a good play or a painting ... we're hindering our growth as a city."

For those on Southern Nevada's cultural front lines, the insistence of state leaders to save money by forcing cuts to public-school music and theater programs is an economic mistake.

"If we're going to be at the forefront, economically or otherwise, we need to be using arts education to stimulate the creative parts of the brain in students," says Kelly Roth, head of the dance program at the College of Southern Nevada. "Students who are exposed to the arts might not go into it as a career, but arts education stimulates their minds and, in many cases, keeps them in school." The arts certainly played a big part in Roth's education. A high-school dropout, Roth says he only returned to education and earned advanced arts degrees because of his affinity -- and affiliation -- with the arts. Martin tells a similar story, about a fourth-grade field trip: "I got goosebumps going to the performing arts center. This enthusiasm led me to the arts in junior high and high school, and eventually to my much-loved career." John Beane, of Insurgo Theatre, says flatly, "I would not now be doing what I do if Ms. Jackson at Eldorado High School hadn't played Zeffirelli's Hamlet for us in ninth grade."

Already this fiscal year, the school district has been forced to cut more than four dozen arts instructor positions.

Lynne Ricci, choir director at Basic High School, says the one thing that those making further cuts to public-school arts programs don't understand is that the arts stimulate every area of students' minds.

"When it comes to programs like, say, music, they are critical to helping students blossom. What [state lawmakers] don't seem to understand is music is actually every subject: It's math, it's humanities ... it's even physical education as the students learn voice control," she says. (Also, in some cases, a marching-band class counts as a P.E. credit.)

It's not just students and teachers who are concerned. Increasingly, a number of local business owners are ponying up as much cash as they can to help save arts education.

"We've been watching the news, and I have three children in Henderson schools. I've been concerned about state cuts and have felt a little helpless, but I wanted to help make a difference," says Jeff Victor, president of the Fremont Street Experience. To that end, Victor says, the Flightlinez aerial ride on Fremont -- which allows people to slide on cables through the historic gambling district -- will donate a days' proceeds to local arts programs in local schools this month.

It's the least he could do, says Victor. "I've been concerned about the state of the school system because of the budget cuts, and I felt a little helpless. I'm concerned that [in a budget crisis] the arts are the first thing to go."

Victor, who predicts the daylong benefit this month could generate as much as $17,000 for local school arts' education programs, says he believes local businesses like his will have to contribute as much as they can to help offset any state cuts.

"The truth is, money for these programs is not gonna come from the tax base, so they have to come from efforts like this. I'm sure other businesses will do something similar," he says.

That's certainly the hope of local cultural figures, although some of them expressed outrage that policy-makers would use cultural programs to balance the state budget.

"My biggest question for lawmakers is, how can they do this to our kids," says Jennifer Kleven, chair of the exhibition committee for the Contemporary Arts Center. "How can lawmakers make these cuts if it's going to come right back to them if they themselves have children in public schools?"


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CAC’s ‘Blur’ will make you rub your eyes

The Contemporary Arts Center brings in some heavy hitters for its new multimedia exhibit, It’s all a Blur, and you’re really going to want to see this one. You might even want to hug the CAC folks afterward (or become a member), because this is contemporary art at its mind-bendingest.
The SOMArts Cultural Center’s touring exhibit, curated by Justin Hoover, features works by influential artists Tony Labat, Dale Hoyt and Guillermo Gómez-Peña that will rattle your brain, make you laugh, broaden your perspective and invite you to ruminate on today’s American Dream. Political and social issues are at the core, mostly bundled in approachable pieces. Hoyt’s kitty drawings and hilarious, disturbing and touching video shorts will either have you running or sticking around for more.

Labat’s readymades include a Weber grill of idolatry proportions, delivered in original packaging and attached to 6-foot legs, where it’s literally and figuratively out of reach. Movie-style target-practice posters of a terrorist taking over a plane come with gun holes, created when Labat was a visiting artist at UNLV. They cover a gallery wall and the windows facing Charleston Boulevard. Two of his video installations are also on display.
Clear some time to sit through Gómez-Peña’s The Great Mojado Invasion, Part 2 (The Second U.S.-Mexico War). Made with filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez, it weaves together factual and fictional accounts of U.S.-Mexico relations with clips of exploitative Hollywood movies—sci-fi, westerns, musicals, dramas, porn and cartoons.
The mockumentary—narrated by the performance artist and activist, seated at a table, drinking and toying with the term “alien,” which, in this movie, also refers to “Euro Aliens” who took away Mexican land—will almost have you laughing at the “truth” Americans have perpetrated through popular culture and history classes.

Kristen Peterson
Las Vegas Weekly

Friday, March 25, 2011

Contemporary Arts Center Annual Juried Show May 5th - June 18

May 5- June 18

The Annual Juried Show is the Contemporary Arts Center’s (CAC) annual opportunity to expose artists working in contemporary visual arts to a wide audience. This exhibition is a prominent showcase in the Southern Nevada region and highlights the exceptional work of national and international emerging artists in all media.

National and international artists 16 years and older may submit a maximum of five works completed within the last two years and not exhibited in a previous CAC exhibition.

Juror Julie Sasse has worked in the visual arts for over 30 years, as an artist, educator, gallery director and museum curator. She is currently the chief curator and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ.

Over $4,000 in awards money is available to the juror to present to artists.

A non-refundable fee for up to 5 artworks must accompany every submission. Payment for mailed and hand-delivered submissions can be made by credit card, cash or check (made payable to the Contemporary Arts Center). Online submissions must be paid by credit card. Payment of this fee does not guarantee that any/all artworks submitted for jurying will be included in this exhibition.

CAC members:
$20 for 3 entries.
$5 each additional entry.
5 entries total allowed, up to 3 images per entry.
$30 for 3 entries.
$10 each additional entry.
5 entries total allowed, up to 3 images per entry.

Emailed entries:
Email with subject heading ‘AJS 2011’ and the following information:
  1. Completed entry form in the email or as an attachment
  2. Images must be in JPG format
  3. Maximum 1MB file size per image (suggested resolution of 300dpi)
  4. Filename instructions: Last name_First name_entry#.jpg (ie. Smith_David_1.jpg)
  5. Entry fee included as complete CC# information. Emailed entries will NOT be accepted with any other form of payment.

Mailed entries:
Mail CD with images (formatted and titled as listed above) to:
AJS 2011
Contemporary Arts Center
  1. 107 Charleston Ave, Suite 120
Las Vegas, NV, 89104
Include the following information:
  1. Completed entry form
  2. Clearly labeled CD with AJS 2011 and your name
  3. Images must be in JPG format
  4. Maximum 1MB file size (suggested resolution of 300dpi)
  5. Filename instructions: Last name_First name_entry#.jpg (ie. Smith_David_1.jpg)
  6. Entry fee included as check or CC#
Mail video samples on DVD or CD to:
AJS 2011
Contemporary Arts Center
107 Charleston Ave, Suite 120
Las Vegas, NV, 89104
Include the following information:
  1. Completed entry form
  2. Clearly labeled DVD/CD with AJS 2011 and your name
  3. Must be DVD?CD player ready
  4. Entry fee included as check or CC#

If you wish for the return of your CD or DVD, include a SASE along with your submission.
Selected artworks must be delivered ready to hang/display. Artworks considered unsuitable for hanging/presentation will be refused. Curatorial staff reserves the right to refuse an artwork that is misrepresented through documentation or is not the piece selected by juror.

Calendar 2011

April 15 All entry forms and images must be received by Saturday 5pm, Nevada time. Late entries will not be accepted.

April 20 Selected artists will be notified via email of acceptance. PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR EMAIL.

May 1 Accepted works MUST be received by CAC by 5pm, Monday, May 1, including shipped works. Hand-delivered works can be dropped off Saturday April 30, 12-4pm and Monday May 2, 12-5pm. Late entries will not be accepted.

May 5- June 18 Duration of Show.

May 5 Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony for artists and guests, 6-9pm.

May 6 First Friday, Downtown Arts District, 6-10pm.

June 3 First Friday, Downtown Arts District, 6-10pm.

June 18 Close of Show.

June19-20 All hand-delivered work MUST be picked up Sunday, June 19, 12-4pm or Monday, June 20, 4-7pm. Work left after this date will be subject to a $5 per day storage fee. All other work will be shipped by Saturday, July 2.

The CAC receives a 30% commission from all artworks designated for sale.

Shipping and Insurance
By submitting artwork for consideration for the 2011 Juried Show, the Artist acknowledges and accepts the following stated terms:
1. The exhibiting Artist is responsible for all applicable charges related to the preparation, packaging, insuring, and shipping/delivery of artwork to and from the gallery.
2. The Artist assumes all responsibility and holds CAC harmless for any damages incurred during shipping.
3. Artist may choose preferred art shipper.
4. Artist agrees to hold CAC harmless and waive all claims or causes of action against CAC, its officers, directors, employees, and volunteers for any and all damages, loss, or injury caused to any person or person’s personal property arising from or relating to the exhibition of Artist’s artwork at the CAC or by the Artist or persons affiliated with the Artist.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thanks Vegas We Had A Great Turn Out For The Artist Reception - It's All A Blur

Curator Justin Hoover (in middle)

In partnership with SOMArts San Francisco
Featuring Artists: Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Dale Hoyt and Tony Labat 
March 15th-April 23rd, 2011

Please come by the center and see the new exhibit

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day - Artist Reception 6 pm CAC

In partnership with SOMArts San Francisco
Featuring Artists: Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Dale Hoyt and Tony Labat
LAS VEGAS March 15th-April 23rd, 2011, 
Artist Reception March 17th
Don't let the St. Patrick's Day crowd run you off.  Plenty of parking in lot east of  Artifice Bar 
Just let the entrance know your going to the CAC Artist Reception 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011