Tuesday, Dec 24 2013 02:39 PM

Hope for unity, new projects fuel 2014 resolutions

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Synergy in the arts and promoting the monthly First Friday gatherings downtown are among the 2014 resolutions for people in the local arts community.

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    By Courtesy of Pat Kerley

    Kenneth Whitchard (in BCT’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) seeks unity among local theaters.

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    By Photo courtesy of Thomas G. Robinson

    Actor Norman Colwell, here in at Bakersfield Community Theatre's "Talk Radio" in 2011, encourages people to see a theatrical production in 2014.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Vikki Cruz, curator at Bakersfield Museum of Art, looks forward to the opening of the museum's exhibitions in 2014.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Don Martin of Metro Galleries has big plans for First Friday.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Ashleymarie Sey Lively, with her baby Beatrix Faye Lively, was one of the artists whose work was displayed in the Latination exhibit in September.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

With the new year looming, we asked some folks in the local music, theater and arts scene what they've got on their to-do list for 2014 and their hopes for the new year.

Theater

Michael Prince, artistic director for the Gaslight Melodrama

My resolution for next year is to continue to get better at telling stories that our local (and not-so-local) audiences can relate to and enjoy.

2013 seemed to be a big year for the local arts scene and it'd be great to see that grow and become even bigger. ... There has been a great turnout for live entertainment in Bakersfield, both for theatrical and music-related events. And it's all been pretty diverse, which I think is wonderful. In any art scene in any city, the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned and I would love to see that grow and thrive.

Kenneth Whitchard, artistic director for Bakersfield Community Theatre

My resolution for this coming year is to be a better performing arts teacher and truly teach my students the value of being a performer.

For 2014, I predict and hope that all of our community theater will work together to bring amazing productions to our great city of Bakersfield!

I hope for unity amongst the arts scene in our town. and I truly hope to see that in 2014. Building a brighter future for all performers.

Norman Colwell, actor

The Spotlight Theatre bounced back, and it is a welcome addition to the theater scene, once again.

The more venues there are, the more opportunities exist for actors and singers to display their talents and for audience members to discover that talent in our city. I love the fact that there are so many opportunities available for children, as they are the success of theater in the future and it looks encouragingly bright.

Make yourself a resolution for the new year by taking yourself and/or your family to a theater. You'll discover what you've been missing.

Bob Kempf, artistic director of The Empty Space

My resolutions for 2014: To help keep The Empty Space as vital and forward-thinking a theater as it has been for the last 10 years; and to keep challenging myself as a director, teacher and actor.

David Zent, Spotlight Theatre

My main resolution for the upcoming year is to help bring the Spotlight Theatre back into local prominence as a place for great theater, concerts and education.

I also predict that Bakersfield will benefit from a greater number of symbiotic partnerships between formerly unrelated arts organizations in response to the scarcity of arts funding, and I believe this will lead to a quantum leap in the creative growth of our city.

Mandy Rees, chair of the Music and Theater Department at Cal State Bakersfield

I want to further articulate the vital importance of the arts in education and why they are worth fighting for even in an unstable economy. Among many other things, the arts give us the opportunity to reflect on our humanity, develop empathy for others, learn to express ourselves, gain skills in creative problem solving and team work, and most certainly enrich our lives.

CSUB has many exciting performances, a musical, concerts, opera scenes, the jazz festival and art exhibits planned for 2014 to showcase the creativity and talent of our students. Look especially for events centered around the celebration of the 75th anniversary of "The Grapes of Wrath" including two plays (one specifically for children), concerts on campus and at the Fox Theater, and public sculpture and art installations.

Visual arts

David Gordon, artist

My first professional resolution is to paint more on location and out in the field. I like to learn from the fast pace it takes to capture a scene in a short amount of time. My second is to get my local scenes in galleries outside of Kern County.

I see First Friday expanding and growing in the coming year as well as a farmers market with local artisan foods downtown on Saturday mornings.

Don Martin, president of Metro Galleries

Professionally, I hope to continue to make each exhibit at Metro Galleries unique and exciting. I hope to take First Friday to its next level by launching a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that will enable First Friday to continue to prosper and grow.

Predictions for 2014: The local art scene will continue to evolve with new "pop up" art exhibits throughout the downtown arts district. I also predict more public art installations.

Stella Mullins, artist and co-historian of Bakersfield Art Association

As a full-time student of the arts, I plan on continuing to do and learn new ways to paint, draw or create. In my immediate plans are another scratchboard piece, finish a watercolor of fall leaves, look for my next pencil portrait subject and take some classes that I won at the BAA Christmas Open House on Dec. 7.

We look to the future starting with 2014 and as an organization are active in encouraging young artists to pursue their passion and to help in any we can.

Betty Leonor, artist

My 2014 is full of major changes and scheduled projects, separate from my career growth and development objectives, which I plan to continue. I start the year with a solo show at Metro Galleries in February. And, for the purpose of enhancing self-actualization and gathering inspiration for my 2015 show, I will be ending the year with a monthlong painting retreat in Spain.

Anthony Goss, president of the Arts Council of Kern

Our resolution at the Arts Council of Kern is to place additional teaching artists in underserved schools, especially in the outlying areas, at no cost to them.

In 2014, we predict incredible art exhibits, wonderful school programs, a terrific symphony season, unbelievable local theater productions, and a lot of lives affected by the arts!

Vikki Cruz, curator for the Bakersfield Museum of Art

The Bakersfield Museum of Arts plans our exhibitions two years in advance, so our 2014 calendar in terms of exhibitions is already laid out and I am excited to see these shows come to fruition.

When it comes to Bakersfield as a whole, I would predict and hope for stronger collaboration between the various arts organizations and artists. I would love to see more community-based projects and programming uniting all art-affiliated groups.

Personally, I hope to dedicate more structured time to my own work. I have been developing a small body of work on paper, which I hope to complete by the end of 2014.

Ashleymarie Sey Lively, artist

My resolution for the new year is to be more spontaneous with the projects that this year brings instead of being so stressed out and over-kill on my research. Basically to have more heart in my art and allow myself to be open to whatever it is I end up creating.

With the art walk becoming more and more popular each month, I know it will continue to grow and become a wonderful event for the community even with the closing of of The Foundry. I honestly can't wait to see what opportunities and possibilities arise from up-and-coming businesses and galleries that always pop up and embrace the arts. Though one door closes, others open better than you ever dreamed of.

Liz &dcThree;Sherywn, education coordinator for the Bakersfield Museum of Art

In 2014, I hope to see a shift towards collaboration of arts organizations and artists to create a stronger local art community. Personally, I have a project on the horizon that I would like to focus on over the course of 2014. I look forward to developing that -- we'll have to wait and see.

Alexandra Ortiz, artist

My professional arts resolution for 2014 is to dedicate more time to my art and have a little more fun. I want to write more blogs and make YouTube videos about art. I also want to enter more art shows in out-of-town galleries.

The Bakersfield arts scene has lost two venues: The Foundry, of which I was a member, closed after being open three years; the NX ArtHouse, of which I was the curator for about a year, closed after being open for about a year and a half. The Foundry was a great venue for professional artists who wanted to regularly show and be challenged. The NX ArtHouse was an alternative venue for new and experimental artists.

In my experience of the arts scene, I know that arts groups and galleries come and go. I am confident that if artists feel they need a new outlet/venue, one can form.

The most important thing artists should take from venues closing are the networking bonds, friendships and camaraderie they have gained while they were a part of each place. These connections can become our biggest help in anything from critiquing art or forming other arts groups or to just encourage each other to keep creating.

As far as I see it, the future is bright.

Norma Eaton, artist and publicity coordinator for the Bakersfield Art Association

I have been experimenting with a variety of mediums and methods for several years. I have resolved to work almost exclusively in my primary medium (collage) this year in order to have a consistent collection of work for a show.

Iva Fendrick, vice president of the Bakersfield Art Association

No matter what age we are, we need new challenges. Mine for 2014, is to adventure out of my comfort zone and expand my artistic endeavors.

As vice president of the Bakersfield Art Association and with the help of our many active members, I would like to continue our associations commitment of bringing high quality art to Bakersfield's art district. ... For the coming year, I hope everyone will make a New Year's resolution to visit our Art Center.

Floyd Dillon, president of the Bakersfield Art Association

For 2014, I would like to continue to explore new subjects in my art and challenge myself to take on more difficult themes. I also hope to see the Bakersfield Art Association continue its objective of encouraging the growth of new artists.

With the recovering economy I see greater interest and support of the arts. Particularly, parents appear to be taking steps to see that their children gain exposure to various art forms as less art instruction is available in the local schools. Different art organizations, including the Bakersfield Art Association, have taken steps to provide art instruction geared to the children in the community.

Music

Bryan Burrow, president and CEO of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

My personal resolution is to operate the BSO as a good business, showcase a great group of musicians, inspire a new generation to love music through our children's programs, and highlight the incredible community we live in. (Also) to talk with organizations about the BSO, strengthen community relationships, and reinvigorate the community with fantastic symphony music.

For the local art scene, I predict a steady growth in both support and participation within the arts community as people become more accustomed the state of our economy. I predict there will be increased number of collaborations and alliances within the nonprofit sector and especially within the arts sector. This will also energize community support.

Patrick Spurlock, promoter at Phantom Stranger Inc., KSVG radio personality and artist

I was very proud of the quality of the lineups and variety of local and traveling bands we had throughout this year. I was also happy to integrate the artists in town with some of our events and give them a chance to work with the bands at times. My biggest goal for 2014 is to continue bringing art and music together and expose the town to the level of talent we have while bringing in outsiders to show what Bakersfield has to offer.

My prediction for the scene is amazing new music. I know there are a lot of bands that were working through 2013 on new music and stacking funds to finish projects. I think there will some exciting new releases and great opportunities to showcase them through Phantom Stranger Inc. and Savage Radio.

Art Machuca, owner of AM Entertainment Presents, vocalist for Vlad Arthur

This coming year my goal is to achieve all the things on my Bako music bucket list including bringing great artists to town, and getting my own music exposed worldwide. I believe this should be all of our goals!

We musicians need to connect. There is so much talent in our town; we could be the next Seattle. Just remember to smile, stay focused and always follow your dreams.

Therese Muller, lead singer of Therese & the Sweetness

The Bakersfield music scene has welcomed the Sweetness in with open arms, so I hope there are not too many changes in the new year. I do see the music scene steadily growing in 2014, and bringing attention to our eclectic music scene!

-- Compiled by Californian assistant lifestyles editor Stefani Dias and contributing columnist Matt Munoz

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