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UCR ARTSblock Receives Major Grants

UCR ARTSblock Receives Major Grants

Awards indicate rising stature of downtown Riverside arts center.

(February 17, 2011)

Culver Center of the Arts/Sweeney Art GalleryEnlarge

Culver Center of the Arts/Sweeney Art Gallery

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside ARTSblock received an unprecedented $173,500 in major grants in 2010, an amount that indicates the rising stature of the downtown arts center on the national stage.

The most recent awards will fund exhibitions planned over the next two years. Those grants include: $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), announced in November, for the first artist-commissioned project in the Culver Center of the Arts Atrium Gallery, “Lewis deSoto: Tahquitz”; and $50,000 from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to the Sweeney Art Gallery for the exhibition “Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration,” announced in December.

“These grants are highly competitive,” said Jonathan Green, UCR ARTSblock executive director. “Receiving them back to back is a recognition on a national level that not only the long-established UCR/ California Museum of Photography (UCR/CMP), but the new Culver Center of the Arts and the Sweeney’s move off campus to downtown Riverside are all making major contributions to both important historical exhibitions and the field of contemporary art locally and nationwide.”

The NEA award is the first major grant for programming the Culver Center of the Arts since it opened to the public on Oct. 7, 2010.

“For the Culver Center to receive the grant after being open for only a short time is a recognition not only of the importance of the project, but also of the role that the Culver will play in Riverside and the region,” said Tyler Stallings, Culver Center artistic director.

“Lewis deSoto: Tahquitz” will be the first artist-commissioned project for what Stallings calls “Atrium Projects” – large-scale projects that are specifically created for the Culver atrium and its unique architectural characteristics. The exhibition will open at the Culver in spring 2012. The Culver is seeking an additional $35,000 for the project.

DeSoto, a Cahuilla Indian artist, will bring to life two stories about Tahquitz – a primordial creature that figures in Cahuilla creation stories – using sound and light technology.

“Free Enterprise,” funded by the Warhol Foundation, will be the first contemporary art exhibition in the United States to explore implications of civilian space travel, which represents a major political and cultural shift away from sponsorship by the federal government and toward a free-market, private enterprise model, Stallings said. The exhibition will be comprised of several international artist commissions, a variety of public programs, and two publications.

The $50,000 award is Sweeney’s largest grant ever, Stallings said.

“Coming from the Warhol Foundation, it is recognition of Sweeney’s commitment and vision to a cutting-edge exhibition program,” he said. “Additionally, it shows the foundation’s belief in Sweeney’s capacity to fulfill such an ambitious project, and thus inspires confidence in other agencies and individuals to give to the project.”

Stallings hopes to raise an additional $25,000 to $100,000 for “Free Enterprise,” which is scheduled to open at Sweeney in 2013 close to the hopeful fulfillment of Google Lunar X Prize’s launching of a competition to land a robot on the Moon by 2014 by a group of private entrepreneurs.

UCR/ CMP also received $89,000 in major grants from the Getty Foundation and UC MEXUS (University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States ) in 2010. The Getty grant will support “Seismic Shift: Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal and California Landscape Photography, 1945 – 1980.” That exhibition and accompanying catalogue are among the many Southern California projects developed in response to the Getty’s initiative, “Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980,” which deals with developments in the visual arts throughout the region between 1945 and 1980. “Seismic Shift” opens at UCR/CMP on Oct. 1. UC MEXUS funding supports the exhibition “Las Olvidadas: The Forgotten Women – Photographs by Maya Goded,” on view now through April 16.

Sweeney Art Gallery also received a $15,000 grant from UC MEXUS for its current exhibition, “Margarita Cabrera: Pulso y Martillo (Pulse and Hammer),” on view through April 2. The Culver Center received a $4,500 grant from the City of Riverside Development Department for a series of performances on the pedestrian mall from May to September 2010 that led up to the center’s grand opening in October 2010.

When the two adjacent historic buildings that house the UCR/ California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts and Sweeney Art Gallery are considered collectively, they constitute the third-largest arts organization in the UC system after Berkeley Art Museum and UCLA’s Hammer Museum. Additionally, in all of California’s 10-campus University of California system, 23-campus California State University system, and the 110 community college systems, they represent one of less than a handful of museums and university galleries that are located off campus, which places them in unique positions to bridge campus and community.

UCR ARTSblock is located in the 3800 block of Main Street in downtown Riverside. Sweeney Art Gallery is located within the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts.

For information about art and photography exhibitions, film screenings and other programs, go to
UCR/California Museum of PhotographyEnlarge

UCR/California Museum of Photography

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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