This year the Redondo Beach Art Group is holding its annual Power of Art event in a new location, albeit one that’s conveniently located.
“Why at the Elks Club?” says Gloria Plascencia. “We were looking for any venue that would open its doors to us, and would allow us to basically turn everything upside down. We’re covering up their pictures, we’re covering up their chairs, we’re putting walls in front of their walls. It’s going to be a gallery for a weekend.”
The title of this year’s exhibition is “Connections,” and the opening reception is tomorrow, Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m. The hours on Saturday are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are 45 artists, the submissions having been juried by Scott Canty of the Palos Verdes Art Center. He selected 96 works, and there are an additional six installation pieces.
While all of the artists are members of the Redondo Beach Art Group, they do not all live in Redondo Beach. “It’s a group of artists from everywhere in the South Bay,” Plascencia says.
A rather ubiquitous presence in the local arts scene, and often found photographing at gallery openings, Plascencia was asked to take charge of this year’s Power of Art, now in its eighth year.
Wasn’t there a Power of Art just a few months ago?
“I think you’re confusing it – and probably a lot of people are confusing it – with “California 101,” which was [held this year] at the Power Plant. A lot of people think it was the Power of Art show. It gets confusing because two years ago (the Power of Art) actually took place at the Power Plant.”
Last October the group held its show at 608 North, in Kevin Holladay’s gallery. One of the goals of the Redondo Beach Art Group is to be able to establish a permanent home. Right now, members meet on the first Wednesday of the month at the Redondo Beach Historic Library in Veterans Park.
A show of hands
“Connections” gives every indication that it will be a lively, festive event, and as Gloria Plascencia is describing it one can even picture a carnival.
“But we do not have clowns,” she says with a laugh.
“What we’re trying to do is to get the community to come, so we’re making it suitable for all ages, for people to really enjoy the weekend.”
What separates this art show from others are the many installation pieces.
“The main installation is the Tree of Life,” Plascencia says.
Her idea had been that art group members would take turns pressing their paint-covered hands directly on a canvas, but when she asked John and Sandy Chu for their input they suggested the creation of a tree, with the hand imprints being the leaves.
And so, Plascencia says, “We created this beautiful canvas with a tree, and the tree is actually formed with real bark.
“The important part about that,” she continues, “is that it’s a collaborative art piece. I gathered up the artists and they put their hands in acrylic and they started painting the tree. It was like going back to being children. It was very playful, and we had a lot of fun when we created that piece.”
The bottom portion of the work was left open so that people from the community could add their own hands to the Tree of Life as well.
Your picture here
“On opening night we’re having a photo booth,” Plascencia says. “It ties in with the ‘Connections’ theme.’” The booth can accommodate up to six people, and there will also be props available to enhance the experience.
“It’s a wonderful way to create new connections with people that you don’t know, or reconnect with somebody that you know but haven’t talked to in a long while.”
The pictures can be purchased as mementos of the evening. The art group plans to post the photos as well.
The title, “Connections,” is also significant for the Redondo Beach Art Group itself. “I would say we were not connected last year, in the latter part of the year and the beginning of this year,” Plascencia says. “Then we started reconnecting again and that really gave us the idea for the theme because we were making new connections.” The group’s co-presidents, Patti Linnett and Debbie Collette, propagated the idea that more connections or reconnections were needed within the group itself. It’s been a push that so far has proved successful.
Returning to the exhibition…
“The entrance of the venue is going to have an elaborate art piece that also has to do with connections – the connections of the roots of a tree.” Stepping inside, through an installation piece by Trinity Singer, one encounters a maze or rootlike warren of artwork.
Another installation piece, Plascencia says, “has to do with the Day of the Dead. I thought it was fitting because we have the Tree of Life and then we have Death – and also the Day of the Dead is coming.”
There’s at least one more special installation, but Plascencia only smiles and says she wants to keep it a surprise.
Plenty to choose from
“Connections” will not lack for entertainment. Singer Loretta
McNair and Two Guitars, with guest Don LaCorte, perform music that evokes the 1940s (Friday and Saturday), and dancers Gabriela Simich and Ellen Bigelow perform a work specifically choreographed to the theme of the event – they’ll dance at 7:30 Friday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Sculptor Cinthia Joyce teaches a free introductory sculpture class, every hour on the hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, all day, makeup artist Shirley Garcia does face- and hand-painting – so bring your faces and your hands. Also all day on Sunday, Erika Snow Robinson leads an art workshop for children, “A Day in the Not-So-Still Life of Picasso.”
Elegant Catering Services is providing exquisite appetizers for the opening evening, even going so far as to donate the services of a chef and two servers. “They’re going to be serving it on elegant platters all over the gallery,” Plascencia says. They’ll be returning with food for sale on Saturday and Sunday so that we won’t have to be looking at art on an empty stomach.
The Redondo Beach Art Group has many talented members working in all media, and it’s always worth our time to see their latest creations. This remains the true reason to attend their annual exhibitions.
Connections, this year’s Power of Art event, takes place tomorrow, Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Elks Lodge, 315 Esplanade, Redondo Beach. Free. More information, call Gloria Plascencia at (310) 869-4992 or go to RedondoBeachArtGroup.org.