Works of art are frequently revered by their name and value alone, while artists often go unnoticed. The roots of all art are, of course, the artists; their talents and dedication create objects that challenge and inspire us. Although often overlooked, those organizations that support artists and other forms of creative development play a crucial role in this process and compose an important part of the diverse arts ecosystems in which museums operate. One such organization, San Francisco’s Incline Gallery, was founded in December 2010 by Christo Oropeza and Brian Perrin in order to provide a nurturing platform and support system for emerging Bay Area visual and performing artists. As Oropeza and Perrin understand the challenges of being independent artists and working professionals, they seek to make Incline Gallery a platform for education, community building, and experimentation.
The Incline Gallery team is a united group of individuals who are highly educated and active in the field of arts. Incline Gallery’s internship program offers college-senior art students an ideal setting in which to further diversify their skills and experiences through an array of responsibilities, which include gallery preparation for exhibits, documentation and archiving, or grant writing and fundraising. Oropeza is invested in arts programming at schools and affirms that “art may be a vehicle that takes you into professions beyond what you thought you were capable of. Art can turn you from a misunderstood inner-city youth who doesn’t have many options after high school, into an expressive, beautiful, respected, and professional carrier of culture and arts.” Incline Gallery’s internship program not only facilitates opportunities for future artists to succeed in an increasingly specialized arts industry, it also allows them to engage with their immediate community.
Incline Gallery has worked and is currently solidifying their second collaboration with the Children’s Creativity Museum’s C.I.T.Y. Teen Program, an internship opportunity for high school students to receive a museum facilitation experience within a mentoring environment. Incline Gallery has served as a C.I.T.Y. Guide for these highly motivated teenagers to encourage their interests in learning about art, media, and technology. This summer, Incline Gallery will once again become a classroom for C.I.T.Y. classes and a space to exhibit the students’ work. Oropeza anticipates this year’s collaboration with the Children’s Creativity Museum with excitement, as he is sure this year will be amazing. He notes, “We are always open to new ideas that challenge us as an organization, but personally I seek these challenges so that both parties involved in the collaboration leave with an experience of growth.” Beyond serving as exhibition spaces, Incline Gallery’s partnership with CCM is mutually beneficial, as both organizations are pioneering more effective and meaningful models of arts education for teenagers.
In another example of Incline Gallery’s innovative partnerships, SFiCA BREAKOUT: Hybrid is Incline Gallery’s latest joint effort with the graduate students of California College of the Arts and San Francisco Art Institute. The mission of BREAKOUT is “to pool resources and provide as many opportunities for dialogue, exhibition, and participation as possible to the graduate students of CCA and SFAI.” Incline Gallery is a perfect stage for the fostering of arts education and for the questioning of human relationships to environments both man-made and natural. BREAKOUT represents the hybridity of today’s changing cultures, both intellectual and professional, as well as the multifaceted mission of Incline Gallery to educate, engage their community, and experiment. Oropeza and his colleagues at Incline Gallery understand that creative minds need to be nurtured, not only to create art, but to change lives and make life meaningful.
Incline Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, “Light to Dark, a Collective Arts Exhibition” curated by Christo Oropeza, will run from March 7th, 2014 to April 4th, 2014. “Light to Dark” is an exhibit comprised of 3 different art collectives, working both within their sub-groups as well as together to present the beauty and intricacies of collaboration. Opening Reception is on March 7, 2014 from 6-9pm at Incline Gallery, 766 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. 94110.