By Ellena Korisheli
Not many students have heard of Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery. Yet sequestered on the east side of Cuesta College, this gallery rings in artists from all around the nation and worldwide to exhibit modern and thought-provoking contemporary art. New artists come every month, and the next one is opening October 4th called the Industry of the Ordinary. This year’s general theme of the gallery is to bring artists and students together. The artist will stay for a week to participate in events and work closely with the students.
Spending time in an art gallery exposes youth to different artists and styles, and serves to expand their perspective of art and the world. The gallery is able to impact many different aspects of a student’s life. For example, students had the opportunity to collaborate with artists like Oliver Herring, a New York based experimental artist, and gain insight into his creative process. He integrated community members and students to help him create his exhibition. They did oddly fun things like spit food dye at each other’s faces and attempt interpretive dance. A favored show that many students attended was Anila Agha’s. The Pakistani artist created a safe haven using giant cut steel box that projected blue light creating patterns that filled the whole space. The gallery coordinator, Emma Saperstein explained, “I think I want people to be moved. The point of contemporary art is to expand the way we think and change the way we think and help to develop new ways of thinking and existing in the world. And if an exhibit helps someone do that, even if it’s just one person, then it’s a success.”
When asked why it’s important for students to be present at the artist talks, Saperstein replied, “I think it’s really important to have the background and context. I think it deepens people appreciation for the work much more.” At first glance at a show, someone might not understand the meaning or the relevance to the world and the rest of the exhibit. On opening night, there is an artist talk to provide the audience with context. The artist will discuss what their installation is about either getting interviewed about their pieces and what it means to them or describe their journey as an artist. Most of the time, the art isn’t conventional and it wouldn’t be shown at the Morro Bay Art Association. It’s not framed wall paintings because the artists that are brought intend to use unusual materials and often work in large scale. Lela Welch, a recent Cal Poly graduate and artist, voices “So for the people who want to engage in the community or perhaps bring something to the table that isn’t conventional or perhaps they’re not good at drawing, but they’re really good at understanding the world and commenting on their surroundings. Because that’s truly what art is, is commentary on culture.”
The next opening reception and performance, Industry of the Ordinary, is October 4th at 4:30-7:30. The artist talk will be starting at 5:30. To find more information go to the Cuesta website under the gallery tab. Link