Santa Ana’s Grand Central Art Center celebrates 20 year anniversary

In Art, Arts & Entertainment, Features, Lifestyle, Top Stories
A photo of 20 cakes to represent the 20 year anniversary of the Grand Central Art Center.
(Nathan Nguyen / Daily Titan)

Cakes, ceramics, art creations and the sound of a buzzsaw could be heard from the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana on Saturday night.

The center, which partners with Cal State Fullerton, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a special event reception that included live performances, interactive demonstrations and a plethora of creative art presentations.

Despite a downpour of rain Saturday night, over 2,000 people walked through the gallery’s doors to peruse and photograph the art, said John Spiak, the director and chief curator. News of the event was featured on the CSUF website leading up to the event.

“We have been pulling our teeth to get the word out to Cal State Fullerton,” Spiak said.

Every hour, the first 20 guests who entered the center received a free, limited-edition copy of artist-in-residence David Greenberger’s project, “It Happened to Me.” Greenberger created the 60-song LP after speaking with the elderly population in Santa Ana and recording their conversations to compose a piece that captured their cultural identity.

Next to the entrance, a short film titled, “Layers of the City” by Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere, played on repeat in a dark, intimate room. The project’s purpose was to portray the “spaces in Santa Ana, both inhabited and boarded up,” according to the exhibit’s title description.

An interactive performance called “None of This is Real,” by Lucas Murgida allowed guests to break in and out of a room. As a professional locksmith, Murgida showed the secrets to lockpicking as he assisted participants breaking through an enclosed room with a buzzsaw.

Next to the escape room, an animated video by Jennifer Levonian titled, “Lost Islands of Philadelphia,” showed the story of a girl who seeks to recapture the thrill of a fictional world she reads about in a book. It touched on themes including obsolescence and transience; the animations portray a dystopian world where death and destruction run rampant.

The main gallery displayed work by Yevgeniya Mikhailik, an artist, educator and curator based in Orange County.

“The show is basically a parallel between looking at landscape, how landscape develops and also how humans develop on a much smaller scale,” Mikhailik said.

A photo of "A Slow Conflict" art show by Yevgeniya Mikhailik.
(Nathan Nguyen / Daily Titan)

Inspiration behind the work titled, “A Slow Conflict,” stemmed from a million different things but focused on environmental issues, climate change and the healing process.

Mikhailik’s pieces “aim to evoke empathy toward the evolving natural environment in the same way we empathize with each other,” according to the exhibit’s title description. She emphasized the converting forces that come out of conflict.

“You can kind of trace the parallel to how we experience conflict and kind of how we grow out of conflict as well,” Mikhailik said.

The Grand Central Art Center focuses on community engagement and the creation of projects through the artist’s perspective.

“We are a part of Cal State Fullerton and not everybody knows about it,” said associate director Tracey Gayer.

The Grand Central Art Center hosts opening receptions every first Saturday of the month at
125 N. Broadway St. in Santa Ana.

“We’re still trying to figure it out, how we get to the students ’cause we would love students to enter all the time,” Spiak said.

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