Being an art student, I have had opportunities to study in different environments and have new experiences to help inform my body of work. Last Summer I went to Paris for 4 weeks and studied the great Art Movements of France as well as visited museums daily and keep a sketchbook / journal of the daily events. Plus I kept you all apprised of my activities with the ever-playful “Picture a Day” posts (which I plan to continue this summer). It was a great honor and exciting adventure for me. This summer I will also be studying art in a faraway land. The exotic locale this year is Fresno.
It may not seem like much, this healthy sized city smack dab in the center of California, but it is home to the CSU Summer Arts program which offers intensive classes for CSU students and alumni to further their artistic studies. The program offers students one-on-one conversations with successful artists and critics about how to grow their work. There are seminars and studios for everyone to just buckle down and make art, whether that is studio art, music, theater, dance, etc. It is an opportunity to focus on your art form without the daily distractions. A rare luxury.
Fresno is beyond HOT in the summertime. Every correspondence spends at least a paragraph trying to prepare students for this heat. It is also not exactly known to be a hub of excitement, a far cry from my beloved Paris with its monuments, museums, and sidewalk cafés. But there is one thing about Fresno which makes it one of the most important and exciting places for artists.
Fresno State was the home of the Feminist Art Movement and the first Feminist Art studies program. Headed in 1970 by Judy Chicago and pushing the boundaries of the art world. It is an absolute honor to be on the same campus as those brave women who boldly created a new academic program and raised questions about equity in art. Fresno State fostered an environment for women to act creatively and create works that not only were artistically challenging, but socially challenging as well. The program eventually relocated to California Institute of the Arts in 1971 where it attracted national media coverage with their project, WOMANHOUSE. This particular piece stands out as one of the most important works of contemporary art. I am thankful for the groundbreaking work of these brave ladies from Fresno State (and CalArts). Without the work they did in the 1970s there may not have been as many opportunities for me as a female artist.
So upon first glance, my Summer Art Adventure doesn't seem like much… but knowing the history and how that connects to me as an artist has just made Fresno seem a lot more exciting.
**keep an eye out for my picture-a-day posts from Fresno this summer!