Leave Your Mark: A Smart Gals Reunion Show
Opening: Saturday, September 9, 2017 7 – 10pm (It’s NELA’s Second Saturday Gallery Night!)
Smart Gals’ Talk and Cookie Table: Saturday, September 30, 2017 12-3pm
Address: 5558 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90042
In 2000, a woman of modest means – art model, indie bookstore worker, writer – set out to make Los Angeles a better place to live by creating accessible, collaborative, and unconventional art events in neighborhoods from Reseda to Sierra Madre. Smart Gals Productions was born. Frustrated by what felt like an insider’s game of creating work for an elitist art crowd, Founding Artistic Director Christine Louise Mills (then Christine Louise Berry) produced original, community-based pieces in unusual spaces through Smart Gals’ site-date-subject-specific series Are You Interested?. From a Taxation show in an empty bank building (now the Standard Hotel Downtown) to a Labor Day show in a machine shop in El Segundo, to the 12 Days of Christmas, a traveling holiday installation along the Gold Line’s original 12 stops, audiences got to experience the city in a new way. In 2002, Smart Gals launched the Speakeasy, a literally underground literary event aimed at helping folks actually meet and talk, breaking down the barrier between writer and reader, artist and viewer. As part of the Speakeasy, Smart Gals curated a series of limited edition commemorative bookmarks, with the goal of getting affordable art into as many hands and homes as possible. More than 50 artists participated, including Amitis Motevalli, Gary Baseman, Janet Klein, Mike Slack, J.T. Steiny, Maud Simmons, Mark Englert, Charles Phoenix, Esther Pearl Watson and Lisa Diane Wedgeworth. Smart Gals hosted authors, architects, scientists, environmental groups such as Bring Your Own and FOLAR, iconic performers such as Paul Zaloom, Maria Bamford, the annual Dead Poets Slam, cabaret dancers and an array of talented local musicians. Smart Gals also created The Reading Preserve, a flexible installation designed by Edith Abeyta, that honors reading as an endangered act by creating a safe, quiet space for books. In every project, Smart Gals sought to work against the stereotype of our city, and share a vision of Los Angeles as a place of real connection – whether literally via transit-oriented events or figuratively, bringing people together at the Speakeasy with old fashioned ice breakers and parlor games.
Throughout the course of their work, Smart Gals was recognized for their innovative work in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, the LA Weekly, Bitch magazine, and Another Angle on Los Angeles (AFAR) online.
Many years later, Smart Gals gathers together once again to reconnect, give away the archive and refocus our efforts. In exchange for writing down one way we can make our city a better place to live, each guest will be allowed to choose one limited edition bookmark from the series. Artists include, in alphabetical order, Gary Baseman, Catherine Beaver, Joe Biel, Roger Burns, Louis Cannizzaro, Albert Cuellar, Jessica Dalva, Georganne Deen, Rachel Deitsch, Amy Jo Diaz, Mark Englert, Yuriko Etue, Julien Favre, Tawny Featherston, Joey Grana, Marc Rowan Gravelle, Jen P. Harris, Sarah E. Heller, AIA, Homegrown Evolution, Amy Inouye, Sasha Isaac-Young, Jeff Jones, Everett Kane, Lisa Kasparian, Jenny Keller, Christine Kessler, Ronit Kirchman, Darin Klein, Janet Klein, Stephen Linsley, Steve MacDonald/Ramblin’ Worker, Matt Manfredi, Amy Martin, Abbie Jane Baron, Allison Simon, Amitis Motevalli, Sierra Pecheur, Rick Petrea, Charles Phoenix, Tom Recchion, Jeremy Roush, Christopher Russell, Nicole C. Russell, Mohammed Shariff, Jolene Siana, Maud Simmons, Angelica Solis, Laurie Steelink, J.T. Steiny, David Stromberg, David Trulli, Rebecca Tuynman, Deniz Uzunoglu, Billy Vasquez, Karen Velas, Sara Velas, Marya Villarin, Esther Pearl Watson, Lisa Diane Wedgeworth, and Madeleine Zygarevicz. A few sets also be available for purchase.
On Saturday, September 30th, join us for an old fashioned cookie table and artist’s talk Christine Louise Mills. Setting aside time to discuss, remember and reassess, we ask - as creative people, where do we put our focus when our life shifts? From Motherhood to loss to political involvement, the world pulls us in different directions. We hope to come together, empower, go forth and create. Attendees will enjoy home baked cookies, strong coffee and have a chance to take home pieces of The Reading Preserve, designed by Edith Abeyta and built by Smart Gals volunteers one Labor Day long ago at Future Studio.
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