GLAMFA Focuses on Connection, Community and a Collective Vision
By Sydney Walters
The 12th annual Greater Los Angeles Masters of Fine Art Exhibit, or GLAMFA, is shaping up to be the best one yet. Organized by California State University of Long Beach MFA students, this exhibit is a combination of a curated exhibit and open studios of CSULB students.
GLAMFA initially formed in 2005 in response to another MFA organized show called Supersonic. However, Supersonic was exclusive to University of California schools only in Los Angeles. That meant that Long Beach and Cal State schools did not receive an invite. This ostracism encouraged CSULB students to push forward their own agenda of inclusivity rather than exclusivity. Some students in the MFA program formed a club called the Fine Arts Round Table. One of their missions was to formulate a show eligible for all Southern California school applicants.
Under the leadership of Shannon Leith, president of the Fine Arts Round Table, GLAMFA is making some innovative changes this year. One primary alteration is that the show is held in January rather than August. This earlier booking allots more time for student and participant involvement. In other words, MFA creatives are blessed with one of the greatest advantages of making meaningful work: time.
The upcoming show will feature several site-specific installations and performances. Shannon Willis, Emily Baker, Lyndsay Bloom, Stormy Wu and Chelsea Alvarez have all made work with CSULB spaces in mind. Works done by twenty-three other artists have been divided into the six galleries on campus.
Curating art from a dozen different schools is definitely not easy. MFA student Shannon Leith and her team have adapted the daunting task of mass curation and have condensed it to fit the overall vision of the exhibit. “Even though this is a show where we as CSULB students are the curators, not the artists, we see this event as a way to put our own creative project out into the world,” says Leith. “We see this show as a portrait that represents the collective vision of CSULB MFA’s in this current moment.”
And as much as this show is about displaying great art, Leith hopes people gain connection and leave with a sense of community. “GLAMFA acts as a launching point for many artists, including those of us organizing the show. This exhibition has been a place where curators have come to discover the next wave of artists coming out of grad school. We want this show to be a connecting point between MFA students and the art world that we’re all launching into. Could GLAMFA get some of these artists shows or help them sell some work? I hope so.”
GLAMFA has not only invited two curators to present best in show awards opening night, but is also welcoming back three esteemed GLAMFA alumni to discuss their evolving practice. Zackary Drucker, Patricia Fernandez and Katie Shaprio will each give a short talk at 7PM on January 31st.
GLAMFA artists include: Chelsea Avarez, Gal Amiram, Yair Agmon, Emily Baker, Lyndsay Bloom, Cara Chan, Ashley Jan Gardner, Tanner Gilliland-Swetland, Audrey Hope, Angie Jennings, Emily Blythe Jones, Jennifer King, David Lucien Matheke, Ariel Mazariegos, Andrea Patrie, Jackie Rines, Justin Robinson, Doraelia Ruiz, Sunny Samuel, Janet Solval, Peter Sowinski, Omid Orouji, Hazel Straight, Christina Tsui, Shannon Willis, Stormy Wu, Sichong Xie and Drea Zianabitnig.
CSULB Open Studio Artists: Rhiannon Aarons, Alice Andreini, Isabel Avila, Kelly Campanella, Stevan Dupus, Fred Eck, Joanie Ellen, Qingsheng Gao, Mimi Haddon, Shannon Leith, Katie Marshall, Patricia Martin, Narsiso C Martinez, Jesse Parrott, Justin Rightsell, Elena Roznovan, Cintia Segovia, Ashley Shumaker, Amy Williams, Patrick Williams, Lena Wolek
GLAMFA 2017 participating schools: CSUN, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Claremont, Cal Arts, Cal State Fullerton, Art Center, Azusa Pacific, Laguna College of Art & Design and UC Irvine
CSULB Open Studios: January 29th 4-6pm
Opening Reception: January 29th 6-8pm
On view January 23-February 1, 2017
Visit www.greaterlamfa.com for more information