Coming soon to Cerritos College: Public art

NORWALK – Cerritos College announced Monday that it is establishing a unique new public art collection.

A 2009 acrylic painting by Carolyn Castaño. Cerritos College has acquired work by Castano and 17 other artists to display around campus.

A 2009 acrylic painting by Carolyn Castaño. Cerritos College has acquired work by Castano and 17 other artists to display around campus.

The collection, to be spread through publicly accessible areas of the campus, will feature paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs ranging in size from multiple small works on paper to two massive fourteen-foot shaped-canvas paintings.

Themes presented in the works will reflect the areas of study covered in nearby classrooms. The collection also prominently features works by traditionally underrepresented groups, including notable female artists and artists of color.

In this initial acquisition, the College selected works by 18 contemporary artists: Carolyn Castaño, Amir H. Fallah, Alexandra Grant, Mark Steven Greenfield, Sean Higgins, Kiel Johnson, Virginia Katz, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Melissa Manfull, Álvaro Daniel Márquez, Hung Viet Nguyen, Christina Ondrus, Naida Osline, Julia Paull, Gala Porras-Kim, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Marie Thibeault, and Jessica Wimbley.

A downloadable map with hanging locations will be made available from the College’s website by the end of the spring 2019 semester. The campus will continue to expand this public art collection in the coming years.

A public art collection of this scale is rare for a community college. In 2015, the college established the Committee on Art in Public Spaces to develop a comprehensive and permanent plan to display art around campus, adding to a small number of existing public art pieces already on view, including a painted wood construction titled To Whom It May Concern (2013) by Salvadoran-American artist Daino, and a sound-sculpture, The Sound Pavilion (2011), by John David O’Brien and Steve Roden. Both are currently on display in the College’s new Fine Arts Building.

The college also recently installed a cast-concrete sculpture donated by artist Gustavo Godoy titled Vacant Marker (2012) at the entrance of the Kincaid Field.

While the Cerritos College Art Gallery relies solely on generous donations from artists, the public art collection is financed by the College’s substantial public art endowment fund, which was spearheaded by Cerritos College President/Superintendent Dr. Jose L. Fierro. The Cerritos College Board of Trustees also invested in this new endeavor, supporting and approving the establishment of the endowment fund in 2015. The public art endowment will also soon fund new commissions for multiple large-scale public art projects across campus.

“I am beyond excited that Cerritos College will house all of these wonderful works,” said James McDevitt, curator, Cerritos College Art Gallery, and associate professor, Art History and Visual & Cultural Studies. “The work included in this collection of drawings, paintings, and photographs has direct connections to the material that is taught in the classroom, and will provide our students an additional and exciting opportunity to engage with the educational content in new and different ways.”

“Art and culture is an important element of higher education that can expose our students and community to a larger, diverse worldview. We believe that having a robust public art collection on campus will enrich the student experience and transform the College’s landscape into a cultural hub for the community, ” said Dr. Fierro.

“The public art collection not only adds dimension and beauty to the College, it also gives us a creative way to engage in more community involvement on our campus,” said Cerritos College Board President Carmen Avalos.