Art center's homage to music is more than just a visual experience

It's easy to imagine the sounds of soft jazz or loud rock 'n' roll as you stroll past pieces in the Huntington Beach Art Center's latest exhibition.

While there is no music playing, the works — paintings, collages, sculptures and photographs — amplify the artists' adoration for music.

"Rhythm, Sound and Music," presented by the 150-member artist council, includes 104 pieces by 67 Surf City artists. The show runs through Aug. 27.

The council formed two years ago and holds regular group meetings and classes, allowing the artists to interact. It also aims to educate the public about the artists who live and work in the city and give them an outlet.

"We have a lot of really interesting artists, and all of us get along very well," said Denise Merchant, membership chairwoman. "It's nice to go in and talk about what we need to do and discuss art. We feed off one another."

Throughout the year, the works of other artists are shown at the Art Center, but this is the one occasion where the Artist Council members are the stars.

Merchant said advantages of being a part of the artist council are the camaraderie and exposure that comes from one guaranteed show a year.

Kate Hoffman, executive director of the center, said this is the first time the show has had a collective theme.

"As artists, they all deal with different mediums and subject matters," Hoffman said. "They were invited to interpret the theme in whatever way resonated with them."

One piece that stands out is Bob Vale's "Sound Wave," a sculpture made out of ceramic and wood. The odd, cylindrical shaped piece amplifies music, like a speaker, if viewers stick their smartphones in and press play.

"It's just so unique," Hoffman said. "We're lucky to have this here."

Leesa Cohen, communications chairwoman for the council, created two paper collages of figures in various colors and patterns playing jazz.

The saxophones in the work are cutouts from a magazine scanned and printed to scale.

But "the funnest part of the whole thing was figuring out what they were going to wear" she said, noting one figure's tweed jacket.

Teresa Carlisle, chairwoman of the Artist Council Steering Committee, has two photographs on display.

One is of her boyfriend playing the bass guitar. She edited the image in Photoshop to white-out the background and over-saturate the colors to make them pop.

The other is of waves crashing over a violin. Carlisle bought the broken instrument from a local shop for $5 and then took it to the beach to create the photograph.

She joined the council last year. She was commuting to a photography guild in Dana Point and the drive became a burden.

"I was so enamored by the different artists," Carlisle said. "It wasn't just photography, which is what I was used to. Being around other artists and talking about their work really just uplifted me."


What: Huntington Beach Artist Council's third annual exhibition

Where: Huntington Beach Art Center, 538 Main St.

When: Varying hours Tuesdays throu gh Saturdays through Aug. 27

Cost: Donations accepted



Brittany Woolsey,

Twitter: @BrittanyWoolsey

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