Cultural exhibit featured downtown

by Kalah Siegel, Staff Writer

Between Balboa Park, La Jolla and downtown, San Diego is an outlet for rich culture and art.

For the past decade, San Diego State has been in on the high-level action, but due to its quiet establishment in the art community this may come as a surprise.

One of its best-kept secrets is a quaint downtown gallery with the name SDSU splashed across the front in red and white: the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

The Downtown Gallery is free to the public and features work of students and faculty from the School of Art and Design, but it’s also home to several annual art exhibitions showcasing diverse and enriching collections from artists connected to the school.

The distinguished contributing artists featured put the gallery in the ranks with “big dogs” of culture and art known throughout the city.

“This space is an opportunity for us to present exhibitions highlighting renowned artists, as well as shows comprised of SDSU faculty and student work. Our location off campus is unique and offers exciting possibilities for visibility,” Downtown Gallery program coordinator Chantel Paul said.

Currently, the gallery is showcasing “Art from the Collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman,” a diverse private collection including paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Other artists with works in the exhibit include Romare Bearden, William Carter and Elizabeth Catlett.

The showcase started on Aug. 13 and an opening reception was held on site on Aug. 29.

The exhibition celebrates African American, Latin American and Cuban artists that contribute to the development of American art.

“The current exhibition is a beautiful representation of culture, while also offering a very honest look at history,” local community member Heather Serdoz said.

The exhibition is presented through a partnership with the San Diego African-American Museum of Fine Art and fills the space with both educational and beautiful pieces.

“This is a great opportunity for students to be enriched by art,” Paul said. “The gallery uses all media to serve a broad level of interest.”

While the downtown space is physically separate from it, the gallery hasn’t forgotten its ties to the university.

It’s easily accessible for SDSU students from campus on the trolley — the green line runs from SDSU to Santa Fe Depot, which stops in front of the gallery.

SDSU also strongly influences the exhibition calendar in terms of ensuring visitors will feel enriched and educated upon arrival at the gallery.

Additionally, the gallery strives offers complimentary programing for students on campus.

While the current exhibit will be on display through Oct. 18, another collection coming up this fall is called “Presence: Selections from the Matthew and Iris Strauss Family Foundation Collection,” curated by renowned local collectors Matthew and Iris Strauss.

The Strauss Family has pieces on display at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art as well as many other locations throughout the U.S. This particular upcoming exhibition focuses on the female form and the presence of femininity.

No matter the current exhibit, The SDSU Downtown Gallery is a classy must-do for students and community members interested in the arts.