Arts Council at library

Griselda Suarez, Arts Council Executive Director, Billie Jean King and artist Jorge Mujica gather for a picture Sept. 21 at the opening of the Billie Jean King Main Library.

"Between the Divide," the new Billie Jean King Main Library’s inaugural art installation, presents the work of the Arts Council for Long Beach’s 2019 Professional Artist Fellows and Percent for Arts Fellows.

The fellowships recognize Long Beach artists who live, work or actively create in Long Beach. The 2019 Fellows are Eric Almanza, Sandow Birk, Virginia Broersma, Diana Burbano, Jorge Mujica, Brittany Ransom and Nancy Woo.

The library gallery space is located next to the Miller Room on the first floor. It is an open space, naturally lighted, with walls lined in an unfinished wood pattern. Take advantage of the staircase right next to the gallery space and enjoy viewing the art looking down from the second floor.

The show selections are in many media, including sculpture, painting, 3-D prints and poetry.

Per Lisa De Smidt, the Art Council’s director of programs, “‘Between the Divide' bridges the gap between conflicting viewpoints. Finding a passage through the negative space, these artists challenge us to search between the divide for common ground, and alternate ways of thinking through creative expression. Themes such as co-evolution, the occupation of space and self-identity are explored.”

Sandow Birk is having a Long Beach moment, with exhibits at LBMA Downtown and the library. "Proposal for a Monument to the Constitution of the United States," from his ongoing etching series "Imaginary Monuments," presents the viewer with Escher meets Monty Python meets the collective consciousness thought piece. Two maps, one a conservative map of the world and the other a liberal map, done in collaboration with his wife Elyse Pignolet, ask the viewer not to take sides, but to consider all sides.

Through digital technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC lathe milling, Brittany Ransom explores the links between human, urban, digital and natural ecologies. Ransom spent time in the waters of the Arctic Circle, creating her Roughly 9 Translation series, 3-D photographic sea ice. The selected works capture a temporal moment, as the photographed Arctic ice melted in one day. The use of technology to represent nature presents a cause for reflection.

Poet Nancy Woo’s work is displayed on broadsides (large posters) throughout the exhibit, helping to relate the written word to visual arts and the show pieces to each other. Woo says she “embraces poetry as mysticism, the splendor of things unseen, the comfort of ritual, the attention to life moving in surprising ways.”

"Between the Divide: Professional Artist Fellows Exhibition" will be on display through September 2020 at the Billie Jean King Main Library, 200 W. Broadway. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, to 6 p.m. Wednesday, to 7 p.m. Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information go to longbeach.gov/library/locations/main-library/ or call 562-570-7500.

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