To help celebrate his recent inauguration and the start of his first term, Mayor David Canepa asked the Peninsula chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art to create a City Hall exhibit.
“It’s a new year, a new position for David [Canepa] and a new opportunity for our group to have a place to exhibit,” curator Marian Yap explained of the “New Beginnings” display.
Yap is one of 22 artists whose work will help bring an art presence back to the city building. Yap’s paintings are abstract, but she said she built a firm foundation in realism and portraiture before exploring the abstract movement. She added that creating abstract art is not as easy as some might think.
“People always say, ‘My 3-year-old could do that,’” Yap noted. “Well, maybe your 3-year-old could do it, but you can’t.”
The Women’s Caucus for Art was founded in 1972 with the goal of expanding opportunities and recognition for women in art, Yap said. While some female artists argue that the art world hasn’t always been inclusive to women, Yap said she chooses to focus on other issues.
“I try not to keep it in the forefront of my consciousness, because I’m not painting those issues,” she said. “However, a lot of people in the WCA are interested in breaking down those barriers and have a lot to say about it.”
Another participating artist in “New Beginnings” is Nancy Woods, who rebuilds and refinishes staid, old office chairs and tables and then paints pop-culture imagery onto them. One example is a chair covered with scenes from “Alice in Wonderland,” while others include chairs transformed into tributes to “Moulin Rouge” and board games such as Clue and Parcheesi.
Yap said Woods’ work presented a special challenge, because City Hall’s octagon-shaped gallery is also an indoor walkway, and having art jutting too far from the walls could get in the way of people walking to city offices. Woods said the available space would dictate which of her pieces appear in the show, adding that she’ll likely choose one or two stools that can fit in the gallery’s corners.
Another participating artist is Bonnie Smith, who uses dyed cotton textiles to create images. She said the piece she’ll be displaying, titled “The Team,” depicts the people who helped her use daily swimming pool exercises to recover from a debilitating workplace injury. “It takes a team to get things done,” Smith said.
The return of artworks to City Hall fulfills what some city officials have described as a long-standing need. When the City Council voted to create an Arts and Culture Commission last year, Councilman Mike Guingona said he hoped the city would revive its practice of hosting exhibits at City Hall, something it hadn’t done in recent years. Department of Library and Recreation Services Director Joseph Curran had also lamented the lack of art in the city’s public spaces. The exhibit runs from Jan. 16 through March 31. Those wishing to attend the Jan. 16 reception can email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation.
IF YOU GO
Where: City Hall, Third Floor Atrium Gallery. 333 90th St., Daly City
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays