The hub of this city's gallery action has shifted westward over the past few years, but curator Valerie Brett believes that downtown Los Angeles still bristles with artistic activity.
"Most of the galleries have moved out," Brett said, "but there is some very vital art being made downtown and more artists than you can imagine are still living and working there."
Brett, cultural affairs coordinator for Security Pacific Corp., should know. She and colleague Tressa Miller recently visited nearly 200 downtown artist studios to choose works for "From Main to Santa Fe--A Downtown Art Odyssey," Monday through Oct. 2 at Security Pacific's Gallery at the Plaza.
The eclectic sampling of 50 recent paintings, ceramic works, assemblage, photography and other pieces represents 16 emerging and better-known artists.
Miller, who heads Security Pacific's art programs, and Brett posted sign-up sheets on downtown buildings to arrange 15-minute visits to studios between Main and Santa Fe streets, roughly between the Golden State and San Bernardino freeways. Their travels and observations revealed some trends.
"I wouldn't say it's a community that's passing ideas back and forth constantly, but there are similar things flowing through," Brett said. "A lot of people were using biblical references, others were using almost hieroglyphic imagery. The mass media was also often used as a subject.
"Out of 200 or so artists, it was difficult choosing what to include in our show, but we saw a lot of work that we'll be following."
PEOPLE: Edward Leffingwell of New York has been named director of Visual Arts for the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the post formerly held by Josine Ianco-Starrels at the Municipal Art Gallery. It had been vacant 18 months.
Leffingwell, who was formerly chief curator and director of programming at the PS 1 Institute for Art and Urban Resources in New York, was the only one of six finalists for the job from outside of California.
"I really want to serve our constituency, which includes the artists of Southern California," Leffingwell said, "and I want to develop a vigorous and exciting exhibition schedule and to build up the profile and attendance at the Municipal Art Gallery."
Leffingwell's most recent associations in Los Angeles are the "Michael Tracy: Terminal Privileges" exhibition, to open in September at USC's Fisher Gallery, and the "John McCraken: Heroic Stance" exhibition, which appeared at the Newport Harbor Art Museum.
CLOSED BOOK: Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (LAICA) has dissolved its corporation and ceased all its exhibition and publishing activities. High Performance magazine is handling unexpired subscriptions of the LAICA Journal of Art by sending copies of High Performance magazine to LAICA subscribers. Information: High Performance, (213) 687-7362.
OPEN BOOK: ARTS Inc., a nonprofit arts management consulting firm, has published the 1988 ARTS Inc. Directory, which it is calling the first listing of 430 nonprofit arts organizations in Los Angeles County.
The directory, to be published annually, contains the address, phone number, contact person and discipline for 430 arts organizations, plus indices of the arts community by discipline, type of institution and location.
To obtain the directory, call ARTS Inc., (213) 627-9276.
ARTS Inc. will also administer a $100,000 gift recently awarded by the W. M. Keck Foundation to the Arts Consortium Project, a Los Angeles-based organization established in 1984 to strengthen and support multicultural arts organizations.
The gift will help support Phase II of the Arts Consortium Project, whose steering committee members include Los Angeles arts administrators Patrick Ela, Nancy Berman, Aurelia Brooks, Daniel Cruz, David Kamansky, Alan Kumamoto and Gerald Yoshitomi.
PEOPLE: The Woman's Building, now celebrating its 15th year, recently elected nine new members to its board of directors, effective this month.
The new members are: Jacqueline De Angelis, manager of enrollment publications for Kaiser Permanente; Carolyn Dye, a partner with the law firm Troy Casden Gould; Hilary Hanft, a journeyman electrician for ALCOA; Eloise Klein Healy, a poet and director of the Women's Center at Cal State Northridge; Mary Jean Hong, personnel manager for Wells Fargo Bank; Michelle Isenberg, director-owner of Corporate Art Consultants; Dee Robinson, artist; Christina Strickland, senior consultant for Deloite Haskins & Sells; and Sandra Yung, art director for the Candle Corp.