Capturing the Rhythm of
Downtown Santa Monica
Santa Monica Centric
Emeritus College art exhibit tries to make sense of chaos
By Kevin Herrera

It’s been a little more than a year since Donald Trump did what many in the liberal bastion of Santa Monica thought was impossible, defeating Hillary Clinton to become president of the United States. Clinton’s defeat frightened some and enraged others, with supporters of the Democratic Party struggling to make sense of it all.

For students enrolled in art programs at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus College, the election served as a powerful muse, the end results of which are now featured at the Emeritus Art Gallery as part of the exhibition entitled “The Ongoing Moment: Literature and Art from Emeritus College, which runs through Jan. 17, 2018.

The exhibit features both written and painted art work by students in the memoir writing class led by author Monona Wali and the watercolor studio class taught by artist Catherine Tirr, exhibit organizers said.

The overarching theme for each class was carving order from chaos, Wali said.

“It was impossible to ignore the relevance of [the theme] to the turbulent times facing America before and after the presidential election of 2016. Questions of hope, of rationality, of impending chaos in the world and the growing divide in people’s core values abounded. For students in the Emeritus program, it would be unthinkable to leave these questions at the door.”

The stories blend personal history with political and cultural history, organizers said.

They include an Iraqi man’s encounter with an Iraq war veteran in a Subway Sandwich shop, a "soulful meeting with Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland" and "the devastated warscape of Germany in WWII."

In the art class, Tirr asked her students to "pick an issue that they felt was important to them and to form a collage based on the idea of reshaping and ordering the chaos."

"The students all became very involved and some works went through many iterations," Wali said. "Torn edges and fragmented collections of images all worked together to create that sense of turmoil. By presenting these fragments as one image, each artist created a uniquely personal sense of order."

Copies of “The Ongoing Moment” publication accompanying the exhibit featuring students’ works are available for purchase at the gallery, while supplies last. The cost is $10 per copy.

The exhibition runs through Jan. 17, 2018.

Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is located at 1227 Second St.

For more information call (310) 434-4306.

Emeritus was founded by Santa Monica College in 1975 to serve the lifelong learning interests of older adults. Today, the widely praised program offers more than 120 free classes and special programs, and serves over 3,000 students each year.


Photo caption: ("Convfefe" by Hector Chao) 

Emeritus was founded by Santa Monica College in 1975 to serve the lifelong learning interests of older adults.

Kevin Herrera is a former journalist turned marketing and communication expert, beer enthusiast, cyclist, cultural observer/commentator and expert on all things Downtown Santa Monica. He is currently the sr. marketing & communication manager for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.