California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

May 15, 2008Mary Beth Barber

"California Imagination" PSA on the arts in California to be released on website, YouTube

15-Second creative spot represents collective project from over 250 artists and organizations, and features assemblage artwork from California artist Jillian Kogan

Sacramento -

The California Arts Council will release the public-service announcement (PSA) titled California Imagination on its website and through YouTube at 11:00 am on Thursday, May 15, 2008. The photography animated stop-motion PSA illustrates the vast creativity in California through the building of a temporary art installation by artist Jillian Kogan--an installation that resembles the California Bear Flag. The California Imagination PSA will also be made available to cable stations statewide through the California Channel.

"The California Imagination project is a great way to show off the creativity of California and the arts in our state," said Muriel Johnson, Director of the California Arts Council. "The arts--nonprofit and commercial alike--are incredibly important to the state's economy, communities, and education."

Hundreds of artists, educators, performers, organizations, creative professionals and ordinary Californians who value the arts and creativity in the state sent in over 300 items or images for the PSA. Working at the Armory for the Arts in Pasadena, Kogan utilized these items and materials to create a temporary installation that resembles the Bear Flag. The PSA shows the construction of the California Imagination installation and features the song "Pipeline" by The Ventures, a band that pioneered the distinctly California "surf guitar" sound.

"Our artists do some amazing things, and each one of these objects tells a story about the arts in California," continued Johnson. "The California Arts Council is thrilled we're able to show them off through the California Imagination project."

The PSA represents a unique partnership between the California Arts Council staff, the various artists and arts organizations in California, and visual artist Kogan. Los Angeles gallery owner Robert Berman once said of Kogan's assemblage art, "What Jasper Johns is to the American flag, Jillian is to the California State flag." The California Arts Council found out exactly how true that statement is when they enlisted Kogan to create the installation. 

"Working with the California Arts Council on the California Imagination installation was a wonderful experience," said Kogan. "Culling from so many cultural organizations was the most productive way to creatively unite the statewide artistic diversity that makes California so rich and unique."

California boasts more creative businesses and creative-arts employees than any other state--98,949 creative businesses that employ 500,891 Californians as of January 2008, according to the Creative Industries study from Americans for the Arts based on employment information from Dun & Bradstreet. According to the 2004 study The Arts: a Competitive Advantage for California II, the nonprofit arts alone account for $5.4 billion into the state's economy and attract 71.2 million people who actively participate in California nonprofit arts as artists, art lovers, educators and cultural tourists. Recent studies have shown that creativity and innovation are necessary talents for workers so the future U.S. job market remains globally competitive, sparking support of a robust arts education for California children.

The images and objects in the California Imagination installation are as varied as the arts and artists in the state. Samples include:

    * a quill from the L.A. Shakespeare Festival;
    * a cloisonne and wood box with a trout motif from Mono Council for the Arts and its upcoming public-art exhibit Trail of the Trout;
    * 35mm camera used by inner-city youth to learn photography through Venice Arts;
    * a found-object sculpture of three paint brushes from Spirit in the Arts in Sacramento from their after-school program;
    * artwork by Dawn Whitaker -- a mother of five who teaches visual arts for no pay to elementary age students -- created for her husband, who's serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq;
    * a copy of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce's "Hollywood Walk of Fame" star;
    * an authentic California Indian basket representing the priceless collection from the California Department of Parks and Recreation;
    * ruby slippers from the California Musical Theatre's Music Circus production of The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 movie was also filmed in Culver City, California);
    * images of the world-renowned J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Villa;
    * a copy of California by former California State Librarian Kevin Starr;
    * Mariachi uniform from Plaza de la Raza in Los Angeles; and
    * ballet shoes from the San Diego Ballet.

This list represents only about 4% of the objects and items loaned or donated. A comprehensive website explaining the history and significance behind each item will be available soon from the California Arts Council.

The California Arts Council is indebted to all parties who donated their time and expertise to this project: Ms. Kogan, California visual artist; Billy Gottlieb and Playback Music Supervision; The Ventures and Capitol Records for the use of "Pipeline;" the Armory for the Arts in Pasadena and Executive Director Scott Ward; video editor and designer Nicholas Maximytchev and the production and executive staff at Eye Candy Media; lighting designer Anthony DeMeglio of The Show Factory in Palm Springs; Samy's Camera, Inc., in Pasadena; State of California photographer Duncan McIntosh in Los Angeles; sound designer Jimmy Bell, and 3rd Bedroom Studios in Sacramento; California Poet Laureate Al Young; various local California arts agencies and arts networking organizations that donated their time through outreach and collecting items and images; and the over 250 California artists and arts organizations who participated in the California Imagination project. The 15-second spot was initially created for the outdoor screen at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April and May 2008, but is intended to highlight the arts from all areas of California and can be shown in media outlets and other venues statewide.

The statewide release of this PSA and others corresponds to the California Arts Council's 2005-2006 strategic planning process which reaffirmed the agency's commitment to arts in education, the importance of sequential arts instruction in California schools. The resulting plan outlines a program direction that includes public awareness of the importance of the arts and arts education in California.

Cable stations will be able to obtain the California Channel through their website at Email to make a program request. Stations and other media outlets that are not able to download the PSA may obtain a copy by contacting Mary Beth Barber at (916) 322-6588 or Links to the YouTube video of California Imagination can be found on the California Arts Council website at beginning at 11:00 am on Thursday, May 15, 2008.

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The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the Arts and Creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Michael Alexander, Vice Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Eunice David, Charmaine Jefferson, Chong-Moon Lee, Fred Sands, Karen Skelton and William Turner.

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