The Santa Monica College (SMC) Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery has stepped outside its walls to launch Pop up on the Promenade, a program to place artwork created by SMC students and faculty in vacant storefronts along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The art installations are temporary and will stay up for a short period of time — usually just a few weeks — determined by when the location is vacated by one tenant and when it will be occupied by a new tenant. The exhibitions contribute an aesthetic element to the popular walk street, give artists a place to show their work, and help attract passersby to look in shop windows, a benefit to local merchants.

The peripatetic program’s first exhibition series — Made in the Pandemic — opened on July 25 with art created by Nina Guadalupe Cawley.

Cawley, who was a student in a sculpture class led by SMC Professor and Barrett Gallery Co-Director Emily Silver, describes her work:
“This body of work was made in the height of the pandemic. Removed from the classroom setting, I was forced to sit with my thoughts and process in a way I never had before. With this huge sense of being alone, I had to listen and trust myself, and the work became more emotional than I expected.

Previously, I had only made self portraits in 2D, and I think it’s much easier to subconsciously edit what we look like when drawing or painting. Now in 3D, because I was using myself as part of the materials, this was incredibly personal. I started to think about my body and its imperfections. As they are amplified through the light in the masking tape sculpture, I realized things that I collected — like old magazines — could be a metaphor for beauty and strength while being temporary or fleeting, as portrayed in the corset dress. This work revealed to me my inner strength in a really hard time, that creating work alone during a pandemic, I was able to learn about myself in ways I never knew.”

The Pop up on the Promenade program will present additional installations in the Made in the Pandemic exhibition series as storefronts are made available. More information is available by calling 310-434-3434.

Submitted by Grace Smith, SMC