4/05/2014

Thursday, April 10th...Upper West Hosts Fundraiser for STAR Education!


On Thursday, April 10th, Upper West will host a fundraiser to benefit STAR Education from 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm. The restaurant will donate 20% of sales during the event to Star Education. The event will also feature a raffle with some incredible prizes. Premier Designs jeweler Bernadette Benavente and Artist Vicki McClay will be donating a portion of their sales to the cause.


The event was first initiated by Bernadette Benavente, a Premier Designs jeweler who decided she wanted to help sponsor a fundraiser. Benavente thought it would be a great opportunity to help a non-profit through her new found relationship with Premier Designs. She explains, “I believe in the company's purpose to enrich every life; to provide people a way to find identity, achievement and success; and to meet the personal and financial needs of all who become a part of the Premier Designs family.” 

She then approached Jessica Balsam who had a networking group called Thirsty Thursdays and together they found Hannah Rothblatt who works for STAR Education.  The networking group, created by Balsam was started in 2007. “Although initially it was primarily 30-somethings in the entertainment industry, explains Balsam, “It has grown to attendees from their 20's - 60's in all industries. Balsam has been coming to Upper West since it opened.  “They were a great partner in creating the perfect place to host what had become Thirsty Thursdays (aka "TT Nights").” 
Benavente also, a frequent Upper West diner says, “I love how Upper West supports local artists and charities. My favorite items are the mini mac-n-cheese and the key lime tart paired with the coconut basil sorbet! They have a unique Happy Hour menu as well. Where else can you find Lamb Nachitos?” bbenavente.mypremierdesigns.com

Hannah Rothblatt loves working at
STAR Education and is excited about the fundraiser. She tells us a bit about the organization, "I am the Executive Assistant and Corporate Gifts/ Development Coordinator at STAR Education. We are a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that provides in-school and after-school enrichment education programming for students throughout Los Angeles and California. We are in over 60 schools in Los Angeles alone, and serve tens-of-thousands of students annually. We have been named a "model program" by the White House, and recognized by LA Parent Magazine as being the BEST for much of our programming (as seen on our website, www.starinc.org). Over 60% of our students receive full or partial scholarships, as we are in many grant-funded schools in California. We have partnered with Los Angeles County Office of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Beyond the Bell for much of our programming and events."

Artist Vicki McClay is very excited to participate in the STAR Education fundraiser. She is a Santa Monica local and her art is currently on view at Upper West. McClay was schooled at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center. She continued her studies at the University of Minnesota and The College of Art and Design.  

McClay’s mother played an active role in fueling her desire to be an artist. “When I was about 12 or 13 years old she gave me a small oil painting set which came in a wooden box,” recalls the artist. “To this day, I always keep in my studio. She was a single mom with two children, so it was quite difficult for her to find the resources for classes and supplies, but she saw how important it was to me and made it a priority.” http://vickimcclay.com/   

Stop by and help STAR Education while enjoying some delicious food Thursday, April 10th from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm at Upper West Restaurant, located at 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. http://www.theupperwest.com/  

3/15/2014

March 22nd, bG Gallery Presents “Spectrum-Gestalt” at New Space at Bergamot Station!


Saturday, March 22nd, enjoy an opening reception for “Spectrum-Gestalt” at bG Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.  This very special exhibit curated by Om Bleicher and Daniel Rolnik is part of a ‘Spectacle’ series, which is part curatorial, part installation.

“Spectrum-Gestalt” brings together artists’ works from a wide variety of genres and mediums, grouping them into an expansive spectrum of color. This will be the first exhibit in a new space for bG Gallery. Bleicher explains, “I happened across the space after an appointment at a nearby gallery. The configuration just called for this exhibit. At this stage we are not sure that this will be the spot for a new second location we just thought it'd be a great spot for this series.”

J.J. L’Heureux’s paintings are set to be a part of the group exhibition. A renowned artist, L’Heureux’s work has been featured in museums all over the world. Her many expeditions to Antarctica have inspired her current series of paintings….”The Bergy Bits.” The artist recounts her latest expedition…“I recently returned from revisiting the historic huts in the Ross Sea. This was my 3rd expedition visiting the huts of Shackleton and Scott in the Ross Sea where I had the opportunity to photograph them. The only light is from a few small windows and each visit enables me to fine tune my thoughts and images.  I am always pleased to see wildlife in Antarctica with the albatrosses, orcas families, whales and many species of penguins.”

In addition to her photography, and painting, L’Heureux also creates collages using Etichette. When asked if she works for a period of time on one medium then moves to another, she replied…”I go back and forth between them. The Bergy Bit Series takes some time to dry as I like the texture of oil paint.” L’Huereux’s photography is set to be part of an upcoming exhibition at G2 Gallery in April.

Mixed media artist Julienne Johnson’s work will also be part of “Spectrum-Gestalt.” Johnson recently returned from participating in International Art X change, Thailand / USA 2014 exhibition in Thailand. Curated by Lydia Takeshita of LA ARTCORE Gallery, the group exhibit included sixteen artists. Johnson explains, “Seven major artists from Asia joined us there for the exhibition - five being Thai National Artists. I felt quite privileged to show and teach with such very accomplished art makers and of course spent as much time as I could with each of them.”

Se continues, “I taught workshops at both Thaksin and Naresuan Universities in Southern Thailand - a highlight of the trip, explains Julienne.  I love to work with college kids; and being a life time student myself, it's a comfortable situation.  Not to mention that the Thai people in general are very gentle and welcoming.  A constant reminder of why, when I moved to LA from Michigan - one of my first friends was Thai.

Additional artists featured will be: Airom, Stephen Anderson, Krystal Becker, Stephen Confer, Michael Chomick, Calethia DeConto, Mary Delioussina, Lola del Fresno, Sharon, Goe, Minas Halaj, Jim Holyoak, Linda Jacobson, Devin Johnson, Catherine Kaleel, Jarrod Lake, Nancy Larrew, Echo Lew, Susan Lizotte, Ivan Lofstrom, Mia Loucks, Joella March, Melissa Meier, Ted Meyer, Bob Moskowitz, Marjorie Moskowitz, Susan Moss, Christopher Mudgett, Stuart Rapeport, Gay Summer Rick, Daniel Rolnik, Karrie Ross, Claudio Santini, Ellen Schinderman, Linda Smith, Mikhail Sokolovskiy, Charles Swenson, Vincent Tomczyk, Paul Torres, Philip Vaughan, Lizzy Waronker, Cathy Weiss, and more.

The opening reception for Spectrum-Gestalt will take place on Saturday, March 22nd from 6pm-10pm at bG Gallery in space G8A at Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, 90404. The work will be on view through April 8th. (310) 906 4211; http://santamonica.bgartdealings.com

2/28/2014

Artist Vicki McClay, Set to Show at Upper West Restaurant...Opening Reception, Sun March 9th!

Vicki McClay is set to show her art at Upper West in Santa Monica. The opening reception will take place on Sunday March 9th from 4-6pm. Gino Paino curated the show. He explains what inspires him.

“In most cases, (he looks for)...Artists that have been working for several years have already a very
good idea of what the community around them looks for in their Art Work,” says Paino. “I gravitate to someone with a good understanding of contemporary Art, with great technical qualities and above all the passion for Fine Arts.”

The artist, Vicki McClay met the owners of Upper West through an artist friend, Imelda Healy. McClay was schooled at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center. She continued her studies at the University of Minnesota and The College of Art and Design.
McClay’s mother played an active role in fueling her desire to be an artist. “When I was about 12 or 13 years old she gave me a small oil painting set which came in a wooden box,” recalls the artist. “To this day, I always keep in my studio. She was a single mom with two children, so it was quite difficult for her to find the resources for classes and supplies, but she saw how important it was to me and made it a priority.”

McClay’s wish is to welcome her audience into the each painting. To allow them the opportunity to explore the contrasting worlds that she creates.  She explains, “I've been very fortunate to see a great deal of the world and each new environment has brought something different to my paintings. Some experiences immediately impact my work and others gestate for a considerable time, but everywhere I have gone I have discovered we live in a world of such amazing color and light, which is in constant flux. There are endless qualities to the elements that surround us - the air, land and water - and I see these elements impacting each other all the time. At times it seems as if we are unsure where one element ends and the other begins.

She continues, “I think of these paintings as dream-like abstractions; they are my inner reality of the things I have felt about the places I've been.  They are an interpretive landscape and are often spatially ambiguous.  I strive to convey a sense of movement, a kind of involvement in the sense of light and color springing from the world that surrounds us. I find the constant shift of light and the transformation of color happening right before our eyes throughout the course of the day to be endlessly fascinating.”

She currently works out of her studio in Santa Monica. She also lives in Santa Monica with her husband and daughter.

The opening reception will be held on Sunday, March 9th from 4:00pm to 7:00 pm at Upper West located at 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. http://www.theupperwest.com/  http://vickimcclay.com/ To Find out about more art openings in the LA area, see www.LAArtParty.com

Written by guest writer, Libby Lancaster