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PG&E Planned Power Outage: How it will affect the Richmond Art Center

As you may have heard, a Red Flag Warning has been issued for several Bay Area counties, which could initiate a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff in the next 24 hours.  While Richmond is listed as one of the cities possibly affected, current maps on the PG&E site show us as in the clear.  That could change at any time however, so we want to prepare you just in case! Should the power be out, we will unfortunately need to close the Art Center for that day. Any classes scheduled for that day will be rescheduled for a make-up session at the end of season.

We will be tracking the status of the blackouts carefully, but most likely we will only know if the power will be out after the fact. The Contra Costa County site is providing alerts and maps of affected areas HERE. PG&E is also updating maps of affected areas, such as THIS ONE.  You can refer to these sites for more information, or you can call our Front Desk at 510-620-6772.  If luck is with us, we will have power and you will reach a person or at least our voice mail.  If we are closed due to no power, your call
will go straight to the automated attendant system.

We will do all we can to keep you apprised of the situation.  Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time!

‘Or, the Whale’ Tours America (and new posters for sale!)

We are excited to announce that Jos SancesOr, the Whale is scheduled to appear at locations across California, Massachusetts and Kansas starting this month. Sances’ impressive life size scratchboard drawing of a sperm whale drew large crowds to the Richmond Art Center when it was featured in the fall exhibition Here is the Sea (check out the press from this show). Now audiences across America will have the opportunity to experience this epic work. See the touring schedule below.

Posters for sale! Would you like your own copy of Or, the Whale? Starting in October the Richmond Art Center will be selling high resolution posters of the piece. These limited edition posters are printed on archival quality paper and each copy is signed by the artist. The unframed poster is six feet long and available for $200. A display copy of the poster will be on view at the front desk at the Richmond Art Center for the next six months. Come and see the amazing detail illustrating the history of capitalism in America that Jos Sances’ embeds within the body of the whale!


Global Nurses Solidarity Assembly
Hilton San Francisco, 333 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco
September 12-15, 2019

CNA/NNOC Headquarters
155 Grand Avenue, Oakland
September 20-27 and October 4 (First Friday)
Presentation by Jos Sances: September 26, 1:30pm

Bioneers Conference
Marin Center, San Rafael
October 18-20, 2019

Surfriders Show
Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
To be layed out on floor and viewed from above
November 2019

New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Moby Dick Marathon
18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740
January 2020

Lawrence Arts Center
940 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, KS 66044
September 2020

Image: Jos Sances, Or, the Whale (detail), 2018-19. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo by John Wehrle

Press Release: Countersteer: Custom Motorcycles as Self-Expression

Countersteer Defined:

1. Motorcycling: To initiate a turn by steering opposite to the direction desired.
2. Common: To steer against the tide of norms and expectations.

August 8, 2019: The Richmond Art Center invites visitors to the upcoming exhibition Countersteer: Custom Motorcycles as Self-Expression. Countersteer explores personal expression through the medium of the motorcycle.

Richmond Art Center Receives CAC 2019-2020 Grants

The California Arts Council voted to award the Richmond Art Center an Arts Education Artists in Schools program grant for 2019-2020!

We are pleased to announce the Richmond Art Center was recently awarded three program grants from the California Arts Council totaling $47,000. This fall, we will provide free field trips to 1500 Richmond elementary students, guided tours of current exhibitions and art-creation workshops at the Richmond Art Center.

In addition, we will expand our in-school and after-school art programs in Richmond schools this upcoming school year. The awards are an indication of the quality of Richmond Art Center community programs and value of arts as an essential component in youth education.

Congratulations to the Arts in the Community team for their dedicated work! 

Richmond Art Center Announces Summer 2019 Exhibitions

Image: Top: Richard-Jonathan Nelson, Untitled, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist, Bottom: Ruth Tabancay, What’s In You and On You: Normal Flora and Pathogens (detail), 2018 Mary Jeys, Waving Hand, 2018, Dennis A. Giacovelli, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 2018. Second Class (E5) Engineman: Navy 1969- 71, Vietnam 1970.  

RICHMOND, CA – June 11, 2019 – The Richmond Art Center presents exhibitions opening June 11: Discontent with Brute Force Uploading, ABOUTFACE, Parts Unseen and the 2019 Members’ Show

Discontent with Brute Force Uploading
South Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019

Richard-Jonathan Nelson’s solo exhibition examines how craft can be used to depict Black bodies in an imagined future. Through hybridizing traditional craft practices – like embroidery, weaving, and quilting – with digital art, Nelson’s work challenges the history of the mass media’s “uploading” of Black Diaspora as a monolithic culture, and reimagines the Black body as a place for futuristic progress. Nelson’s work draws reference from African-American low country herbalism, cybernetic Afrofuturism and his family’s history working with fabric.

About the ArtistRichard-Jonathan Nelson is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses textiles, video, and digital manipulation to create alternative worlds of speculative identity. His work is multi-layered, chromatically intense, and mixes images of the natural world with reference to hoodoo, queer culture, and Afrofuturism. Born in Savannah, GA (1987) and working in Oakland, CA, Nelson received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017. His work has been exhibited at Southern Exposure, Embark Gallery, Root Division in San Francisco and Aggregate Space in Oakland.

Community Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019

This large-group exhibition brings together Veteran self-portraits from the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County’s ABOUTFACEprogram. Over 100 self-portraits will be presented, for the first time bringing together the numerous ABOUTFACE works created over multiple years of the program. Collectively the pieces form a ‘unit’ that represents the varied stories of Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

About the program: In 2015 the Arts and Culture Commission and the Physical Rehabilitation Service at Veterans Affairs Health Care in Martinez developed ABOUTFACE to improve the lives of California’s Veterans through arts programming. Based on the belief that individuals have the capacity to heal themselves, ABOUTFACE engages Veterans through painting workshops focused on artistic skill development and self-expression. The two-day workshops are team-taught by a teaching artist and a qualified therapist, with a Veteran coordinator present. Workshop activities include meditation, peer discussion, sketching each other, and painting a final self-portrait.

Parts Unseen
West Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019
Reception: Saturday, June 8, 5-7pm

This exhibition brings together recent works by three artists who received the Spotlight Award for their work in the 2018 Members’ Show: Bill AbrightJennie Braman, and Ruth Tabancay. While working in disparate media, these artists share an interest in transfiguring and deconstructing the human form.

About the Artists: Bill Abright was introduced to clay by Bruce Duke at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton in the late 60’s. He completed his graduate degree at San Francisco State in 1974 working with Bud McKee, Stephen De Staebler, Joe Hawley, and David Kuraoka. Abright recently retired after 40 years teaching ceramics at the College of Marin. Jennie Braman is an artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is full-time faculty in Studio Art and Art History at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, CA, and served as Chair of the Art Program for the last decade. Braman’s current drawings investigate the nature of representation and the creative language of the body. Ruth Tabancay‘s passion for science led her to study bacteriology in college, and after a stint as a hospital laboratory technologist, she went on to medical school. After 11 years in private practice, she left medicine to study art. Her works refer largely to her previous studies in microbiology, anatomy, and geometry. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley; UC School of Medicine, San Francisco; and California College of the Arts.

2019 Members’ Show
Main Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019

Each year, the Richmond Art Center invites our members to participate in our annual Members’ Show, which is showcased in the Main Gallery. One of the oldest and largest non-juried member exhibitions in the Bay Area, this tradition presents a wide variety of media, styles, and subject matter by aspiring, emerging, and established artists, many of whom are colleagues, teachers, and students of the Richmond Art Center.

Spring Exhibitions Press

We’re excited to share some of the press coverage of our current exhibitions:

Charles Desmarais, “M. Louise Stanley’s very contemporary history paintings,” San Francisco Chronicle, Datebook, Saturday, May 9, 2019

Charles Desmarais, “The Whale tries to save us,” San Francisco Chronicle, Datebook, Saturday, May 4, 2019

Janis Hashe, “Jos Sances’ Great White Whale” and “High Time to Get to the Sea”, East Bay Express, May 1-7, 2019

Renny Pritikin, “M. Louise Stanley @ The Richmond Art Center”, Square Cylinder, Published April 12, 2019

DeWitt Cheng, “Two RAC Shows Mix Humor, Critique”, The East Bay Monthly, April 2019

Enrico Deaglio, “Nel Ventre Della Balena USA” (“In the Belly USA’s Whale”), Il Venerdì di Repubblica (Rome, Italy), April 19, 2019

Kathy Chouteau, “Life size whale artwork makes big splash at Richmond Art Center”, Richmond Standard, Published April 3, 2019

Kathy Chouteau, “WCCUSD Student Art Show wows at Richmond Art Center”, Richmond Standard, Published March 31, 2019

Party Richmond… Thanks and see you next year!

Members, students, teachers, artists, and donors – all enjoyed the second annual Party Richmond celebration of art and art lovers on Saturday, April 13! (See our Facebook album for pictures from the event!)

Each year Richmond Art Center honors three organizations and individuals who have contributed generously to the long-term wellbeing of RAC. This year those three included the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, Betty Ann and Ray Barnett, and Hilda Robinson. We are honored to count these three as friends and supporters of RAC over many years.

After the awards ceremony, the crowd gathered for our live auction featuring art works by Peter Voulkos, Claire Falkenstein, Ed Penniman, Jos Sances, Rudolph Serra, Fred Alvarado, Stephen Bruce, and Randy Strong. In addition, unique opportunities to go salmon fishing on the Feather River, fly over the Bay Area in a private plane, travel to Santa Fe, enjoy a champagne party at RAC, and or take personal painting class, complete with wine and hors d’oeuvres with Ric Ambrose, were auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The evening included entertainment by dancer Maggie Powers, magician David Hirata, and jazz guitarist Hideo Date. Los Moles of El Cerrito provided a broad sampling of their moles, with decadent desserts donated by Maria’s Gourmet Bakery in El Sobrante.

Many thanks to our sponsors Jacobs & Company, LLC, Mechanics Bank, Ellengale Toki and Owen Oakley, Susan and Stephen Chamberlin, Patricia Guthrie, and James Wheeler and Joyce Shon. And many, many thanks to the spectacular John Ziesenhenne, world famous auctioneer.

This year was our most successful auction ever! We raised more money than last year to support our scholarship program for youth and adults. Thanks for all of your help and for participating in this annual event. See you next year!!


Images clockwise from top left: Jos Sance’s Or, the Whale; Marguerite Browne and Maggie Powers; guests participating in the live auction; and artist Hilda Robinson (center) with Karen Jeffrey Anthony and Denise Jeffrey

The Beautiful Chaos of Art

The Beautiful Chaos of Art

By Emaline Lubinger-Chavez (Pinole Valley High School)

The ability to create and share art has always been a huge part of community. From artists working together to create murals, to a shadowy figure in the night clinging to an overpass to get the graffiti just right. Fences made from street signs, a scribble on a bathroom mirror, a camera set to capture all these things that burn gold against the gray monotony. Some work is seen as vandalism, however, no place would be the same without the clashing colors splashed across bridges, walls, and boulevards.

Recently, the Richmond Art Center opened its doors to the beautiful chaos of art waiting just outside. Young artists from middle and high schools across western Contra Costa County took advantage of the space awaiting them and filled every inch of the Community and West Galleries. Paintings, photographs, sculptures and more almost overwhelm the eyes. Over 400 pieces cover the walls from floor to ceiling; each one a window into an artist’s life.

These sorts of spaces are incredibly important to young people today. As a certified young person, I can say that many of us struggle with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and general confusion. It’s like reading the back of a pill bottle. But art is a salve on the leaking wound of the soul. It calms and cools the raging fire within us and gives us space to think and reflect on life.  The annual WCCUSD Student Art Show pushes kids to create art, which in turn pushes them to better understand themselves and the world around them.

I myself actually have a piece in the installation. A relatively small black and white photo, with words carved ruggedly into its surface, it stands out from the colorful almost piñata like masks above it. Across the way, the masks lock eyes with eerie portraits both painted and photographed. The contrast serves to show just how different everyone’s story is. And just how important it is that everyone’s story has a chance to be told.

We are all different. That is a simple fact of life. Art is how we express our differences. This installation provides a healthy and positive environment for young people to express themselves and be accepted as artists. For this, I am thankful.

Top image: Elianna Moran, Over the Rainbow, 2019 (Pinole Valley High School, Grade 9). On view in 54th Annual WCCUSD Student Art Show, March 26 – April 24, 2019.

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