A new multidisciplinary project at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts explores the changing role of race, ethnicity and cultural heritage in the 21st century.
Four artists, whose backgrounds reflect different combinations of Native American, Asian, European and Mexican heritage, will be featured in “Crossing Cultures: Ethnicity in Contemporary America,” which opens with a reception from 5:30-8 p.m. at The Center in Ketchum on Friday, Dec. 7.
Participating artists Bob Dix and Joe Feddersen will speak about their work at 6 p.m.
Feddersen, Dix and artist Ana Serrano are creating new work for the exhibition. Feddersen, a member of the Confederated Colville Tribes (from the inland plateau of the Columbia Basin), is creating a curtain of glass “charms” based on imagery from native culture and contemporary life. Prints and vessels from earlier bodies of work will also be on view, such as glass vessels that use traditional native basketry forms but feature designs from parking lot patterns, highway markings, cell phone towers and tire companies whose product names—Eagle, Firehawk, Timberline—reinforce romantic notions of the American West.
Dix, a resident of the Wood River Valley, is the son of an American man and a Japanese woman. His large drawings that feature symbols from Japanese culture and geometric proofs will cover the walls and ceiling of The Center’s project room. A math teacher as well as an art teacher and artist, Dix melds graphic elements from his mother’s books and possessions, his travels in Japan and his upbringing in a military family in California, a place synonymous with “American” culture both in the United States and around the world.
Working primarily in cardboard, Serrano is creating sculptures of buildings that she sees as representative of Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles. She’s particularly interested in retail shops that offer a combination of services that seem incongruous: liquor shop, clothing store, Zumba studio.
San Francisco artist Julie Chang’s heavily layered and patterned paintings interweave elements from Chinese textiles, European wallpaper patterns and contemporary graphic design, juxtaposing symbols as varied as tipis, pagodas, Buddhas and cowboys.
In addition to the exhibition, The Center is sponsoring a lecture by author Richard Rodriguez on Jan. 17, a one-night genealogy workshop on Feb. 5 and a free Family Day on Feb. 9. Filmmakers Jona Frank and Mary Trunk will be making a short film based on interviews with Blaine County students, and local filmmaker DeSiree Fawn will teach a documentary filmmaking workshop for teens on Feb. 9 and 10. A performance of “Mexo-Americana” music by the band David Wax Museum on Feb. 8 is also part of the project.
Free evening exhibition tours are scheduled for Jan. 10 and Feb. 7 at 5:30 pm. Exhibition tours at other times, in English or Spanish, can be arranged by calling 726-9491 in advance. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays in February and March from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit www.sunvalleycenter.org or call 726-9491 ext. 10.