Spring 2024 Student Exhibition Invite

Space 4 Art at San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery
Creating in Community: A Group Exhibition

June 3 - 18, 2024

Reception: Thursday, June 6, 5-8 pm, FA103

Free Parking during this event. Park in Faculty spaces in lot #1 ONLY.
If you have a Student permit you must park in Student spaces.
All our events are Free and open to the public.

Gallery Hours: Schedule an appointment during the hours of 11 am – 6 pm, M-Th by emailing Space 4 Art at Campus is closed Fridays, Weekends & Holidays. For additional information on Space 4 Art and listing of programs and events, please visit

Participating Artists: Andrew Alcasid, Dan Allen, Curtis Bracher, Jennifer de Poyen, C Fodoreanu, Jonny Hoolko, Brennan Hubbell, Bob Leathers, Jenna Leathers, Linda Litteral, May-ling Martinez, Ivan Medida, Karla Mercado Arango, Gilbert Neri, Cheryl Nickel, Tatiana Pena, Elijah Rubottom, Geoffroy Tobé, Daria Van Nice, Derek Weiler.

Curated by San Diego Mesa College art gallery director Alessandra Moctezuma, Creating in Community: A Group Exhibition features recent artwork by 15 resident artists from Space 4 Art, as well as pieces by the organization’s co-founders, Bob Leathers and Cheryl Nickel. Three students whose work has been honed by Space 4 Art teaching artists are also presenting their work. Founded in 2009, Space 4 Art offers affordable studios and live/work spaces for artists, and functions as a creative incubator for artists of all disciplines interacting with each other. A community-based Arts Center, Space 4 Art evolved from four years of meetings, presentations, surveys, and design sessions with artists, architects, and community members. In addition to seeing a comprehensive survey of work by current resident artists, visitors will encounter a model of Space 4 Art’s future Arts Center as envisioned by international architect Leathers, a pioneer in the field of community-built projects.

On the evening of the opening reception, set for Thursday, June 6, 5 – 8 p.m., there will be a panel discussion covering the history of the organization as told by its co-founders, as well as a presentation by Victor Payan and Sandra “Pocha” Peña, who created artist housing in Santa Ana. It is our hope that this will spark a much-needed conversation about the importance of support for artists trying to make it in one of the most expensive regions in the country. Prior to the 7 p.m. panel discussion, there will be performances by Ciel Bracher (solo guitar and vocals) and Drummers without Borders (original works). The closing reception, scheduled for 5 – 8 p.m. on June 18, will feature performances by Alaric Lopez (guitarist), Jonathan Piper (tuba), and other resident musicians and students.

The popular perception of artists toiling away alone in their studios might be well-founded, but there are many instances where artists work collaboratively, influencing each other by creating in proximity. It’s a fact that one of the most rewarding aspects of graduate school and many artist residencies is this fecund coexistence. 

Though the varied artworks in the exhibition tackle many different themes and approaches, within the gallery installation the viewer can appreciate touchstone points that connect the work by resident artists. Curator Moctezuma was drawn to these visual relationships, aesthetic conversations, and thematic interactions as she conducted studio visits earlier in the Spring. This exhibit clearly demonstrates that cohabitation leads to rich artistic dialogue. 

Artworks on view range from seemingly traditional portraiture to 21st Century technology that seeks to capture the communication of plants in a forest. Geoffroy Tobé renders characters using bold expressionist brush strokes in vibrant colors. The closely cropped figures allude to an emotional intimacy and are displayed in proximity to carefully painted portraits by Derek Weiler, which are part of a large installation about the fragmentation of the gay community through the historical divide of the HIV/AIDS crisis. The large, embroidered quilt titled Huellas by Bob Leathers points to another human predicament, that of migrants and refugees coming across our border landscape seeking shelter and opportunity. May-ling Martinez taps into structures emblematic of ritual and power in totems assembled from found objects and lit from within. 

Themes of nature and the environment permeate many of the works. Co-founder Cheryl Nickel investigates the possibilities of objects arranged on a picture plane. Her Great Wave of Plastic, fashioned after a popular print by Hokusai, incorporates remnants of plastic debris collected from San Diego beaches and points at the pollution of the oceans. Art experimentation and scientific research collide in Curtis Bracher’s Mycelium Drawing where, using AI and other methods, he tracks the biological changes within a semi-enclosed terrarium pod that tries to emulate a section of stable forest. Jonny Hoolko observes parallels and interactions of the natural world and the built environment. His mixed-media constructions incorporate organic elements like wood and moss, as well as discarded tech and more artificial materials. The processes reflect on this duality by mixing analog and computer-aided techniques to render the final concepts. With whimsy and optimism, he guides us to gracefully navigate a future full of change and to embrace a constant need to adapt.

Highlighted here are just a few of the artworks on view; the exhibition extends onto an outdoor wall in the arts building where Andrew Alcasid, a new resident artist and alumnus of the college, will be painting a mural of orchids in a color field. We are thrilled to collaborate with this vital community organization and to extend our venue to their artists. 

For Gallery info call: (619) 388-2829                     
Gallery Director: Alessandra Moctezuma,
Gallery Coordinator: Jenny Armer,
San Diego Mesa College, 7250 Mesa College Dr., San Diego, CA 9211

Gallery Hours:  by appointment 11-6pm, Closed Fridays, Weekends & Holidays.

During regular gallery hours visitors Park in Student Spots, Parking Lot #1.  Purchase a ticket by the machines for $1 per hour oruse ParkMobileApp from a smart device.The campus code for Mesa College is 21003. 

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