Art Center Ukiah Announces First Artist in Residence; “Michael James: The Artist is Working”

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The Art Center Ukiah located in Ukiah, California today announced the inaugural participant in its newly developed Artist-in-Residence program. Local street artist known as “Michael James” will be the Center’s first Artist-in-Residence. The residency is sponsored by Sherwood Valley Casino, Imagine This Inc. and Michael's Stores

The Art Center Ukiah located in Ukiah, California today announced the inaugural participant in its newly developed Artist-in-Residence program. Local street artist known as “Michael James” will be the Center’s first Artist-in-Residence.
At the Art Center Ukiah, the artist members have served the community of Mendocino County and the city of Ukiah area for over 12 years. For the first time ever, they are establishing and implementing an artist residency starting this March 2020 and featuring the work and artistic process of the resident artist. This first residency will be entitled: “Michael James: The Artist is Working” and will last until the end of the month. Michael James will receive institutional and material support from the Art Center Ukiah—including studio space at the Corner Gallery, a collective art space located in the heart of Downtown Ukiah at 201 S. State Street.

Artists' residencies (also called artists' communities, colonies, retreats, workspaces, and studio collectives) provide dedicated time and space for creative work. Beyond this core value, these creative communities are a diverse group, and provide artists of all disciplines with many different styles and models of support. Residencies can be found in urban or rural areas, serving one artist at a time or 50. There are programs that are active centers for public programs and others that offer solitude and retreat. Many provide room and board as a home-away-from-home; others offer not a place to live, but a community for local artists in which to work and be supported in the creation of new art. This residency, the first of its kind in Ukiah, CA will be the latter: providing a space and venue to work, create, show and educate the local community about one artist’s process. By establishing the residency, the Center hopes to have a catalytic role in advancing the work and launching the careers of outstanding local and Northern California artists. This will be the first year of an ongoing effort which will feature different selected artists to work and show on the walls of the center. The intent is to collaborate and feature a different artist annually. Building on the Center’s existing affiliations and shared values, this wide-ranging collaboration encompasses exhibitions and programming at both The Art Center Ukiah and The Corner Gallery.

On Friday, the 6th of March we will be hosting the artist reception for our monthly “First Friday” event from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. At this event, and then throughout the month, the community and local students will have the opportunity to see the artist develop new works and discuss with the artist his process and thoughts. In addition, there will be a “participation” aspect where visitors can “Be My Assistant” and help paint one of the large-scale works. It will be exciting, participative and interactive, but most importantly it will be educational.
Jill Schmuckley, ACU publicist and member of the Art Center Ukiah board of directors said, “We’re thrilled to welcome Michael James to the Art Center Ukiah, where he will hopefully take his place as the first resident in a lineage of future ACU Artist-in-Residence program alumni. Part of the magic of the Artist-in-Residence program is the way it will change with the times and keep the Art Center Ukiah innovative and relevant across the creative practice. In form, subject matter, and concept, the practice of our artist in residence for 2020–2021 is on the cutting edge; expanding the canon and showing us what’s possible in art today and even giving us a glimpse of what art might be tomorrow.”

The artist in residence was selected by the Center’s Board of Directors from several prospective applicants to the program. He was chosen by a panel comprising of the center staff, consulting curators, and the Center’s volunteers.
Art Center Ukiah is a 501 c3 non-profit organization, run by volunteers and was established by a grant from Mendocino County. The Center is housed in the Corner Gallery, an artist cooperative that partners with ACU, in a shared space in a beautiful historic building in downtown Ukiah California. Together they provide public art shows that are enjoyed by the local community, as well as drawing visitors from the outside areas to see the exhibits.
This residency is made possible by the generous support of Sherwood Valley Casino, Imagine This Inc. and Michael's Stores.

Artist Bio
“Why do people think artists are special? It's just another job.” (Andy Warhol)

Michael James was born in Southampton, New York. He studied at Westhampton Beach High School and figurative painting at the Universidad Catolica de Chile School of the Art in Santiago, Chile. He ultimately received a BS and MBA from California Coast University, Santa Ana 2004. In addition, he has post graduate studies in humanities and business at Harvard University and Harvard University Extension. Michael James currently lives and works in Northern and Southern California.

His first publicized and recognized group art show was in 1989 at the renowned Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY and his work has been shown in major galleries and institutions throughout the United States and world since then. A former US Marine, he has painted several commissioned murals at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms, California where he was stationed in 1999. They are still on display today.

“Jeff Koons once said 'The job of the artist is to make a gesture and really show people what their potential is. It's not about the object, and it's not about the image; it's about the viewer. That's where the art happens,' and that is what we hope to accomplish here for my residency; "The Artist is Working." This residency will be unique as it will not only give the public at large the opportunity to see my process and share ideas, it will also allow them to "Be My Assistant" if they so choose to do so, because after all, art is hard work and I can use all the help I can get. I want to explore the aesthetic mood of this generation by placing my work in relationship with one another, allowing the tensions between the pieces to define the exhibition space, engaging with and displaying the process of production of the artwork as much as its final results with the help of the viewing public. In an age of Instagram and Facebook, Snapchat and filtered selfies, factory art and massive studios with numerous studio “assistants” where does the lone artist with brush, paint and canvas find their place, and how much of a role do they play in the final piece?” he questions.

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Michael J Broderick
Sherwood Valley Casino
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