2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.:
The 18th Street Arts Center came into existence in 1988 as a complex of artist live-work spaces and the headquarters of High Performance magazine. Artist Susanna Bixby Dakin, writer Linda Frye Burnham and artist Steven Durland had
been working together for years, documenting the alternative art world through the magazine and Astro Artz publications. In the late ’80s, they decided artists needed more: affordable studio space. Dakin found an acre of land in Santa Monica’s Pico neighborhood, recently zoned specifically for manufacturing and the arts, and asked Burnham to help her develop it as affordable arts studios. The hodge-podge complex of five buildings, they discovered, had once incubated Judy Chicago’s groundbreaking feminist "Dinner Party" installation.
Burnham and Dakin conceived of the 18th Street Arts Complex as an intergenerational, intercultural, multidisciplinary beehive, as diverse as possible. Within a year it had become a creative cluster of studios, galleries, offices
and public spaces, housing some 30 tenants -- artists ages 20-60 from many different ethnic and national backgrounds, working in the visual, performance and media arts. Some 30 tenants. alone and together, were making and exhibiting paintings and sculpture, operating arts-service organizations, creating film documentaries, presenting performances, publishing magazines and celebrating annually with a neighborhood festival. In residence in those early years
were The Empowerment Project, Highways Performance Space (founded by Burnham and artist Tim Miller), Emilie Conrad’s Continuum Movement, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s Electronic Café International, Community Arts Resources
(CARS), Joan Hotchkis’ Tearsheets Productions, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, Keith Antar Mason, Dan Kwong, Jill Burnham, Francisco Letelier and Michael Barnard. Soon to join them were Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco, Phranc, Denise
Uehara and Side Street Projects.
In 1992, the nonprofit Astro Artz was formally reinstated as the 18th Street Arts Complex with High Performance Editor Steven Durland as executive director and Linda Frye Burnham as artistic director. The nonprofit initiated the process of raising the funds to buy the property from Susanna Dakin, who remained on the board of directors. Burnham and Durland departed the Complex for North Carolina in 1993, where they founded another nonprofit organization, Art in the Public Interest. They took with them High Performance magazine, which ceased publication in 1998 and folded into API’s new Community Arts Network on the Internet, supporting artists working with communities.
Over the next 15 years, 18th Street formalized its Residency Program. 18th Street also developed an International Artist-in-Residence Exchange Program, a Presenting Program to curate and produce exhibitions, and an Arts Education Program.
In 2003, 18th Street changed its name to 18th Street Arts Center, to reflect the ways in which the organization has provided a central focus for arts organizations and artists in West Los Angeles County. Today, 18th Street Arts Center is a respected destination for national and international artists wishing to publish, perform, work and/or exhibit in Los Angeles County. 18th Street’s prominent arts programs have hosted and sponsored over 150 group and solo exhibitions serving 700 artists since 1988. We have featured many of Los Angeles’s most interesting emerging and mid-career artists at crucial points whensuch recognition made a real difference in their careers. The roster is a cross section of the multicultural population of artists in Los Angeles and includes Lita Albuquerque, Alex Donis, Lisa Adams, Robbie Conal, Charles Karubian, Michael Horse, Alex Gray, Francisco Letelier, Judy Baca, Barabara T. Smith, Ron Athey, Diane Gamboa, John Outterbridge, Catherine Opie, Denise Uehara, Mark Spencer, Mark Greenfield, Sheila Pinkel, and Hirokazu Kosaka, to name just a few. Artists and organizations in residence at 18th Street have been recognized for their outstanding work by the Guggenheim Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Getty Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
18th Street Arts Center’s International Program is also a worldwide leader in artist exchange programs and provides one of the few international artist exchange programs in Los Angeles. 18th Street has hosted artists from two dozen countries: Australia, Austria, Cameroon, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cuba, France, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Sudan, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
Through 18th Street’s exhibitions, workshops, and community festivals, the organization encourages and supports the creation of cutting-edge contemporary art, and fosters collaboration and interaction between artists and arts organizations locally, nationally and internationally. The curatorial focus of 18th Street has remained constant throughout the last fifteen years, with a unique mandate to concentrate on encouraging the careers of emerging and under-represented mid-career artists.
1.Founding of 18th Street in 1988
2. Home of NEA 4
3. Exhibit, Black Panthers- Photos by Pirkle Jones
4. Res Artis International Conference 2004
5. Gallery becomes Polling Place for 2008 Presidential election