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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Eye of the beholder

Uploaded: Nov 11, 2012
Beauty or artistic merit is in the eye of the beholder. Last week the Arts Advisory Committee voted on 32 entries for exhibits in galleries around San Ramon.

The city's premier art gallery in San Ramon is the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery in the San Ramon Community Center. For those who don't know where this is, it is the walls of the Community Center outside the Terrace Room and upstairs surrounding the open space. I'm not sure that most residents, even those who regularly frequent the Community Center, realize this is an Art Gallery with exhibits that change monthly.

The rating system is quite simple: A for quality worthy of Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery (LDB), B for good enough for the Dougherty Valley Community Center or the San Ramon Library, and C for phooey.

Artists who do not score enough A's and are willing to be exhibited in the Library or Dougherty Station, will be featured at one of those. Some artists or groups decline anything other than LDB, and if they do not score high enough they are not exhibited at all. That's their choice.

I had difficulty classifying some candidates as A or B. Sometimes I gave A- or B+ or B-, but whichever way I leaned I usually voted the higher direction. Many artists received a mix of A's and B's with a few trending towards C's. There were quite a few A votes for entries that qualified them for the LDB, even if they were mixed with B's and C's.

The LDB Gallery is reserved in March and May for specific exhibits. March is for the Dublin San Ramon Women's Club Youth Art show. This gives school children in San Ramon and Dublin the opportunity to have their art exhibited and seen by friends, relatives, and members of the community. Not all of the artwork is top quality, but this is a venerable tradition to encourage art at an early age.

The May exhibit is reserved for the Artist selected for the Art & Wind Festival poster. Several Committee members thought one of Artists we voted on should be exhibited in May instead of the one chosen for the Art & Wind Festival.

Margie Ryan came up with a good compromise: Show the Art & Wind Festival artist downstairs, and add an exhibit for one of the other highly ranked artists upstairs. This received a unanimous vote from the Committee. Way to go, Margie!

What surprised me was that some collections I found clearly A level, received B's (ok) but even some C's (huh?) from other Committee members. The Arts Advisory Committee just recruited two new members, so we are up to 11 including two Alternates of which I am one. One of the new members almost always voted opposite to me. So here's proof that art really is in the eye of the beholder.

I often wondered why some artists are exhibited in museums and their works sell for millions while art I've purchased still hasn't appreciated much financially even though I appreciate it artistically. And no they are not dogs playing poker or Elvis on velvet!

This Friday the Arts Advisory Committee is meeting with the sculptor selected for public art in the San Ramon Sports Park in Dougherty Valley. This will be a new opportunity for me to get in at the beginning of the design for art in the park. The Committee works with the artist to come up with a piece that is appropriate for the location and mood.

The last piece of public art installed in a park was People in Central Park. As you can see from the photo with this blog and in the link above, People is a light hearted depiction of a family enjoying a day in the park.

I plan to write my Friday blog on the meeting Friday morning and post a photo if possible. If some other story comes up first, I'll save the art in the park blog for later.
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Posted by mloliver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

The range of "grades" for the art and artists doesn't surprise me. Appreciation of art is so totally subjective and personal. I would find that task very difficult.


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