Block by Block Zine- August 2019 Issue

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Block by Block is made possible through grant support from the Institute of Museum Library Services, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Block by Block Get to know the Crocker Art Museum’s community arts engagement initiative We are excited to bring you the second edition of the Block by Block Street Team zine! Our goal is to have a positive impact on neighborhood connectedness by sharing information about events, artists, and happenings in Sacramento. The Street Team was formed to engage youth in the arts, and to nurture their interests in civic minded, artbased experiences. They participate in events throughout Sac­ramento’s Promise Zone and beyond while building their skills as artists and advocates. This spring marks the first anniversary of the Street Team’s formation, and they have had a busy year organizing pop-ups, creating art installations, and offering art activities at community events. We hope you’ll continue to follow @crockerbxb on Facebook, Instagram, and our new website for updates and event de­tails. If you would like to have Block by Block at one of your events, visit

Block by Block is made possible through support from the Institute of Museum Library Services, Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Meet Community Delegate Straight Out Scribes The Crocker is extremely proud to have Dr. V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu serve as community delegates on its Art Impact Team. The mother/daughter poetry duo known as Straight Out Scribes has self-published and produced seven books of poetry, one sci-fi anthology, two spoken-word CDs, and poetry readings throughout Sacramento. They have made over 500 appearances as featured readers, speakers, presenters, panelists, and workshop facilitators at poetry venues, workshops, conferences,

conventions, political forums, fundraisers, rallies, churches, festivals, schools, colleges, community programs, radio and television programs, and events in Sacramento, the Bay Area, and beyond. Their writings have appeared in numerous publications, too. They are currently facilitating a new spokenword series at the GOS Gallery Art Studio for artists of all kinds. “Creative Minds” happens on the last Saturday of the month, May 2019 through January 2020, from 2 – 4 PM.

Originally from Camden, New Jersey, the duo has called Sacramento home for more than 29 years. Chochezi and Staajabu are members of ZICA Creative Arts and Literary Guild. Dr. V.S. Chochezi (daughter) is a college professor and a writer, poet, editor, mosaic artist, and photojournalist. Staajabu (mother) is a writer, editor, producer, poet, health advocate, graphic artist, Air Force veteran, UC Davis retiree, and serves on the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commission.

Follow Straight Out Scribes Straight Out Scribes - SOS on Facebook & Instagram



BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Meet Community Delegate Nova Holly-Brookins Nova Holly-Brookins has been a dancer for most of her life, learning, teaching, and creating choreography for the past four decades. She has always been, and continues to be, a hands-on parent for her two children. Nova also serves as a mentor and advocate for children in the community. In 2016, Nova began serving as a staff member, and later the talent show coordinator, for the Sacramento-based summer program Night Life Turned Right (NLTR). Within

the past few years, Nova became an intern for the Health Sports Academy at Grant Union High as well as a partner with the Crocker Art Museum Art Impact Initiative. Nova is an active unit drill leader and choreographer for the Hundred’s Unit, a Sacramento-based women’s empowerment group that works out together to perform at major events. The Hundred’s Unit features an adult as well as a youth division. For years, Nova served as a dance instructor for the Robert Brookins Music Academy

(RBMA) and added to her resume the newly created NSA Studio, as a dance instructor and cofounder. Along with obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Integrative Studies, Nova, as the program director, has revamped Night Life Turned Right into what is now known as Summer Nights Remixed: My Xcellence Defined.

Follow Nova Holly-Brookins @calidancequeen @summernightsremxd2019 on Instagram

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Conversations with Arte Extraordinario curator Kristina Gilmore BY THE BLOCK BY BLOCK STREET TEAM

About the exhibition Arte Extraordinario showcases work by a diverse group of artists, all of whom share a heritage associated with Spanishspeaking cultures in the Americas. Some of these artists may identify as Latinx, an alternative gender-neutral term for Latina or Latino that is quickly becoming more popular, especially among a younger demographic. The exhibition covers a range of genres from figuration to landscape to abstraction, as well as a variety of themes including politics, activism, humor, family, and religion. Many of the featured artists have roots in California and several are nationally or internationally recognized for works that challenge, critique, innovate, or inspire. Thanks to the generosity of multiple donors, all of the artworks are recent acquisitions or promised gifts that will remain part of the Crocker’s permanent collection. What has been the most interesting piece of art that you have brought to the Crocker Art Museum? Why? It’s hard to pick just one, but I will describe one that comes to mind. Black Place by Hopi-Tewa artist Michael Namingha is simultaneously simple and complex. The title refers to a location in the desert of western New Mexico frequented by Georgia O’Keeffe; she called it “The Black Place” and created numerous paintings and drawings of the scenery there. With a drone camera, Namingha captures an aerial view of the

stark and surreal landscape, revealing both its beauty and its fragility, as areas cleared to facilitate oil drilling are visible — look for oil barrels in the parking lot. Regarding the black geometric shape, Namingha says, “I used these blocks of color . . . that would go over a piece of the landscape, and it was a piece of the landscape that would not be there someday.”A descendant of the famed Hopi-Tewa matriarch potter Nampeyo, Michael Namingha comes from a long line of American Indian artists from the Southwest.

All wrapped into one artwork viewers will find: it uses photography as the main medium, it has sculptural attributes, it has an activist aspect — critiques irreversible human impact on the natural environment, and it references layers of art history including direct references (title and location of the photograph) to Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as evoking geometric abstraction and abstract expressionism.




BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Has there ever been controversy over a piece of art that you brought to the museum? How do you handle those situations? No major controversies yet. We try to address any complex or provocative issues in our didactic materials; we hope this helps visitors understand the artwork. Do you have a favorite piece of art or a favorite exhibit that you have worked with? If so, what was it and why? There are too many to name here, but I’ll describe an artwork in an exhibition called When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California. The artwork is called No Place Like Home, “Holyulkum” by Jamie Okuma. Okuma uses beadwork to adorn designer shoes, melding traditional American Indian design and media with present-day trends to create exquisite works of art. Beadwork has a long history in American Indian arts and is often associated with the past, but Okuma is among a few Native artists who are using the medium in innovative ways. No Place Like Home, “Holyulkum” encapsulates layers of meaning. The title references The Wizard of Oz, a story about friendship, danger, displacement, and ultimately about coming home. Okuma’s work features two names: Holyulkum, her family’s ancestral land, and Wassuk, her clan, reflecting her love of home and family. No Place Like Home, “Holyulkum” is so beautiful and meaningful on many levels — it incorporates history and American Indian themes, haute-couture fashion, and pop culture. Do artists identities impact how you curate their work? Sort of. If the artist explores identity as a theme in their work, it makes sense to address that. As a side note, like many curators nowadays, I’m very interested in artists who, despite having produced great work, have been overlooked, and often, the state of being overlooked correlates with identity. What is your favorite piece of art in the exhibit Arte Extraordinario? Why? Again, it’s very difficult to choose a favorite. They’re all my favorites, but I’ll tell you about one that I find both accessible and enigmatic: Devoured by Symbols by Diana GuerreroMaciá. I appreciate the use of materials once strictly associated with “craft” and the resulting soft textures. The aesthetic of the piece speaks to me as someone who grew up watching and loving after-school and Saturday-morning cartoons. As a little girl, I drew inspiration from cartoons and I still love animated works by artists like Hayao Miyazaki. This piece reminds me of Miyazaki’s balance of contrasting themes. I also am interested in the rainbow as a loaded motif that carries profoundly different meanings for different groups of people.

Do you feel like any of the different pieces of art in Arte Extraordinario reflect ideas regarding the term Latinx and larger themes of gender non-conformity? Latinx is a broad term that embraces a diverse group – and I think the exhibition reflects that diversity. Several of the artists address various aspects of identity. For example, Eagle Knight by Flor Garduño captures a vestige of Mexico’s indigenous past; Clara Cleaning by Ramiro Gómez alludes to one of the most hot-button issues in American politics today – immigration; Pudica by Gabriela Sanchez investigates the subject of gender through an exploration of body language. What advice do you have for someone who is interested in becoming a curator? Work hard at developing your skills in research (know which sources to trust and give credit where it’s due), writing audienceappropriate material that is broadly accessible and educational, public speaking, and working collaboratively. Also, develop an efficient system of organization that works for you. Juan Carlos Quintana, Celebrating Hubris With Hijinx, 2017. Ink and acrylic on canvas paper, 108 x 80 in. Crocker Art Museum purchase with funds provided by Loren G. Lipson, M.D. and the Michael Himovitz Fund, 2018.33.2 © Juan Carlos Quintana.

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Meet Block by Block’s community partners The Crocker’s Block by Block community engagement initiative began in 2014 with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. Designed to diversify and broaden the ways in which the Museum interacts with the community, the initial phase of the project focused on immersing and integrating the Block by Block team within Sacramento’s most underserved neighborhoods, in partnership with local leaders, activists, artists, and community members seeking to use the arts as a vehicle to discuss, inspire, and activate social change. Now in its second phase, Block by Block and its key community partners (916 Ink, Roberts Family Development Center, Sojourner Truth Museum, and Sol Collective) are focused on youth development and bringing the arts to Sacramento’s Promise Zone, a federally designated area of need that includes areas in downtown, South Sacramento, and the Broadway and Del Paso Boulevard corridors. We recently asked some of our partners about their views of Block by Block and its impact. Q: What is interesting about your involvement with Block by Block, and why did you decide to get involved? A: Estella Sanchez, founder and executive director, Sol Collective: Sol Collective started working with the Crocker about eight years ago. We were excited that the Museum wanted to attract more diverse visitors. And for us, as a smaller organization, we were excited to be able to partner with them to see how they could outreach to different neighborhoods in the city. Over the years, we have seen a huge change in the demographic of the people who are coming. Growing up in Sacramento, its beautiful to see that transition and that there was an intentional effort to make sure that the Museum is welcoming to everyone in our city. As a partner, I’m honored to be part of that vision to ensure that everyone feels welcome.

Clockwise from top left: Sol Collective Founder and Executive Director Estella Sanchez; Sojourner Truth Museum Founder Shonna McDaniels; 916 Ink Interim Executive Director Justin Self; Crocker Community Engagement Coordinator Daphne Burgess; Straight Out Scribes poet Staajabu; Crocker Public Relations & Communications Associate Maria Segoviano; and Crocker Art Impact Fellow Celina Gonzalez-Cortez.

A: Nova Holly, Robert Brookins Music Academy at the Roberts Family Development Center: I think the most important thing is that I am able to be a bridge for my community to the Crocker and help youth and adults discover what there is to do in Sacramento. It’s exciting to see the enhancements in Sacramento as we grow and expand and become more diverse, not just in our cultures but also in what we do for entertainment. Q: What have been the highlights of your organization’s partnership with Block by Block? A: Shonna McDaniels, founder, Sojourner Truth Museum: One of the highlights has been being able to see and hear how the community is reacting to the involvement of the Block by Block team in all the different communities. When Block by Block had its event at Stevenson Park, or at the library on Stockton Boulevard, the communities were so excited. Seeing the expressions on the faces of the youth — to see the arts be in their community. Everyone was asking, “When is Block by Block coming back?” It’s amazing to

see the benefits to the community of Block by Block providing these experiences. It’s been phenomenal to me. Q: How are you interested in impacting the community? A: Staajabu, poet, Straight Out Scribes: Anything that helps make our community better is something we are happy to be involved in. The more art, the better. Regardless of the genre. Artists are the future; they look forward, and they enhance. I am glad to be a part of a positive vibration. A: Dr. V.S. Chochezi, poet and professor, Straight Out Scribes: I feel like Block by Block makes the Crocker more accessible to the community. Before Block by Block, we were connected and involved, but not to the same extent, and we didn’t know as many of the players. This has given us a lot more access not only to the Museum but to each other. How often do we all sit down and talk at a table together as different community members? It’s powerful.

Keep up to date on LIKE US ON: Block by Block events! @CrockerBxB

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Our Partners

Block by Block works with community nonprofits to maximize the number of art activities created in the community! Below are the key partners that make up the Crocker Block by Block Art Impact Collective. Sol Collective is a community-based partnership whose mission is to provide artistic, cultural, and educational programming; promote social justice; and empower youth of color, marginalized, and underserved communities through art, activism, music, and media.

916 Ink provides workshops for Sacramento area youth grades 3-12 in order to transform them into confident writers and published authors. 916 Ink workshops increase literacy skills, improve vocabulary, teach empathy, positively impact social and emotional learning, and expand communication skills.

The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency brings together funding resources and staff expertise to develop and implement creative strategies for affordable housing and community revitalization.

Roberts Family Development Center’s mission is to provide services to the Greater Sacramento area that meet the individual needs of each family member. Their services provide a holistic approach focusing on early childhood and parent education, economic empowerment, and technology literacy.

Named in honor of the celebrated abolitionist and women’s rights activist, the Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum is dedicated to bringing African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American art to the general public. Displaying art from around the world, the museum also features an extensive list of workshops, classes, and special events.



BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Reections on the Mahogany Festival BY EDGAR TAYLOR

The Mahogany Festival was a celebration of African American culture, fashion, art, history, and music presented by Malikspeaks and Fortune School at William Lee College Prep. It was very moving and educational to be a part of. I’m glad that we were able to bring what we have as people from the Crocker to the accepting and loving environment of the Mahogany Festival. We were

able to do art projects with a lot of kids. Working with kids and seeing how others work with kids was exciting for me personally because I value the chance to see youth and the future generations. One of my favorite parts of the event was the first performance, which consisted of a guitarist and a dancer. The guitarist went over the history of the songs he played before playing them, which

was very informative, and his skill was beautiful. The dancer was also amazing, he contributed greatly to the experience and was talented in many different mediums of dance. Overall, the festival was enlightening and educational.

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Join us at these FREE events! Family-friendly fun Art-making Prizes MADE POSSIBLE BY



SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 , 1 – 7 PM Brazilian Street Fair Festival 20th Street between J and K streets, Sacramento SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 11 AM – 5PM District 8 ¡Festival Latino! Nielsen Park, 7596 Center Parkway, Sacramento SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12, 12 – 4 PM Community Fun Day Maple Community Center 3301 37th Ave., Sacramento SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2 – 8 PM Souls of the City Sacramento History Museum 101 I Street, Old Sacramento

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BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Upcoming Community Events September 8, Brazilian Street Festival

Get excited for the Brazilian Carnival Sacramento 2019! This free family festival features Brazilian bands, folkloric Brazilian performances, Brazilian drumming, food, vendors, Samba dancing, Capoeira, kids’ activities, soccer penalty competition and more! Visit for more information.

September 26, Latino Festival

The Latino Community Festival will feature food vendors, community resources for families and an array of arts and entertainment from Aztec dancers, live musicians, and muralists! Bring your friends and family for a full day of fun and raffle prizes! Visit Facebook @LarryCarrD8 for more information

October 12, Community Fun Day

A day of “free play” with music, scavenger hunts, fort building, hands-on art projects, word games, mud play, tree climbing, the Crocker Art Ark, poetry making, imaginative play, resource booths, food, and more! Visit for more information.

November 2, Souls of the City

Interactive community altars (feel free to bring items to leave in memory of loved ones), pop-up art exhibit, family activities, games, food, calavera face painting, vendors, and more! Visit for more information.

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Reflections on the Creativity Summit BY JILL BAKER REID

Aiyana and I attended the Creativity Summit in early April of 2019, held at the Sophia, home of the B Street Theatre. While there, we had students from high schools in Sacramento come and make prints using Styrofoam, blunt wooden pencils, and ink with rollers. We chose to use prints because they are popular amongst youth activists, as well as it’s just a fun art project. It was definitely better working with a peer, Aiyana, and having art impact fellow Lorena supervise than have adults be in charge. The project itself was relatively easy and low maintenance, which made both cleanup, and presentation a lot easier. Hearing poetry, seeing booths, etc by different artists and local activists was a highlight, as one doesn’t usually see that amount of culture in one room. Giving high school students the opportunity to create visual art is important. Young people are not often encouraged to be creative in a serious way, given budget cuts to schools and communities (especially those that are low income) that slash libraries, after school programs, and art and music classes. There was a student, Cyd, specifically, who came to the summit and applied for a job as a Street Team member the same day, which I was happy to see. Overall, the event was well put together, and all around pretty fun.


Giving high school students the opportunity to create visual art is important.

Being a part of the Creativity Summit, coordinated by Community Works, and explaining and talking about what Block by Block and the Street Team are about was quite an experience. I have never had to speak in front of youth my age about a job I participated in and try to recruit them to join. Overall, the day was thrilling, and I enjoyed interacting with people who love the arts and wanted to showcase their talents. The hardest part of the day was keeping those teens engaged with the art activity we provided because we had a lot of time given and not many supplies. The best part of the summit was watching the keynote speakers display their talents and inform everyone on their individual backgrounds.



BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Meet the newest additions to the Block by Block Street Team! Chianne, 16 – Senior at Sacramento High School I express myself through how I do my hair and writing poetry! I feel like my hair is a big part of who I am, and it’s one of the first things people see when they look at me; and my writing helps people view the world from my little perspective. The best part about being a Street Team member with Block by Block is seeing how excited and happy people from all different backgrounds feel when they connect through art, even if it is just a coloring page! Block by Block presents me with the rare opportunity to see firsthand the positive effects of art on my community. It has also taught me the type of hands-on work it takes to put on a successful art event. I hope to attend Emory University and double major in creative writing and communications.

Anaiya, 16 – Junior at Franklin High School I express myself creatively through music because it helps me portray my raw emotions. The thing I like most about being a part of the Crocker Art Museum’s Block by Block Street Team is working with children, interacting with the community, and helping bring out people’s artistic abilities. I have many hobbies that I like to do in my free time, such as art, music, exercise, and video editing. My favorite mural in Sacramento is The Onion Lady by Caratoes at 2123 Capitol Avenue.

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Edgar, 17 – Senior at Natomas Charter High School I have grown up with a passion for music and arts, and that is what I would love to pursue throughout my life. I want to produce my own music and art and be able to share what I create with the rest of the world. I love that I have a job where I can work alongside other creative people. We have the opportunity to experience lots of interesting art and make connections with people pursuing their own passions.

Street Team members Chianne, Edgar, Alexis, Naya, Anaiya, Elijah, and Kaia (not pictured Jill and Aiyana)



BLOCK BY BLOCK Creating community through art.

Artist Spotlight Gerry Simpson BY EDGAR TAYLOR

Gerry Simpson with Street Team members Kaia, Alexis, and Edgar

Gerry Simpson is a Sacramento artist. Throughout his career he has dabbled in singing, fashion, and acting but he now resides and works as a visual artist in Sacramento. When asked about why he chose to move to Sacramento, he said, “I came to Sacramento… I was bored y’all.” He came to Sacramento with a background in fashion and soon realized that the industry wasn’t as thriving here. He said, “What I saw was happening, was the art.” After he discovered the art scene in Sacramento, he started taking visual arts more seriously. At one point, he felt that he was not getting the respect he deserved as an artist. He put it as, “I got tired of being invited to the party and never being allowed to dance.” Although he had built up a following, he wasn’t fond of how galleries treated his voice. He said that galleries would treat him as if he were “allowed to be here, but don’t say nothing.” So, his solution was to open his own gallery and be able to show whatever and invite whoever he wanted. When asked about why he only portrays positive images of his community, he said, “well because there’s a lot of people

already painting the other part … why should I paint more of the same?” He doesn’t see the need in repeating the ideas of other’s art. Although, that doesn’t keep him from protesting through his art, he just wants to make something “that you can live with.” Although Simpson said previously that he didn’t see a fashion scene when he first arrived in Sacramento, he currently does fashion design at his studio. We noticed that he uses a variety of denim patchwork in his pieces. He says that “everybody has on denim… I should bring denim back… turn it around.” When he first started with the denim, he put

“A career as an artist isn’t going to be made off of one painting,”

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out a call for donations, but no one paid any attention. After persistently looking, someone donated a bag, and from that he started and built his line of denim pieces. He doesn’t intend on catering his art to people that aren’t fond of his style. He is only concerned with people who like his art. He believes in building an audience, stating it is “more important than making money as an artist.” He said that someone told him when he moved here that “if [he] wanted to become a successful artist in this town, [he] would have to work for 5 – 7 years straight.” He seems almost eager to make a career as an artist through various works of art. “A career as an artist isn’t going to be made off of one painting,” he says. He also believes that young people don’t quite understand that idea, thinking that after one show that they’ll be “a star.” Simpson’s specific location in the city plays a large role in his style and audience. He says that Uptown, “feels more like home to [him].” He isn’t exactly fond of the art scene in downtown, stating that “there’s a lot of fake and phoney going on down there.” He likes the simplicity and ingenuity of Uptown; people walking in the street, the noises, wants to be a part of what’s happening.


GOS Art Studio Gallery is located at 1825 Del Paso Boulevard

Follow Gerry Simpson and GOS” Art Studio Gallery on Facebook, Instagram and

WE A R E H E R E A Festival of Contemporary Native American Art SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 11 AM – 3 PM FREE ADMISSION ALL DAY Live art demos, dancing, music, exhibitions, activities for kids, and Native artisan market! • @crockerart

Geri Montano, Joy of the Universal Talking Circle, 2019.

American Indian Art & Activism Fall Exhibitions & Programs at the Crocker Art Museum

Pueblo Dynasties: Master Potters from Matriarchs to Contemporaries SEPTEMBER 22, 2019 — JANUARY 5, 2020

American Indians of the Southwest began making functional pottery at least 2,000 years ago. The skills needed to make these vessels passed from generation to generation, a tradition that continues to this day. Pueblo Dynasties features approximately 200 pieces by premier potters and focuses on legendary matriarchs such as Nampeyo, Maria Martinez, and Margaret Tafoya, as well as many of their adventuresome descendants, whose pottery has become increasingly elaborate, detailed, personal, and political over time.

When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California OCTOBER 20, 2019 – JANUARY 26, 2020

Featuring contemporary art by First Californians and other American Indian artists, When I Remember I See Red includes nearly 70 works from more than 40 artists in various media, from painting, sculpture, prints, and photography, to installation and video, combining art and activism, and embracing issues of identity, politics, and injustice.


Programs were developed in partnership with members of a Native American Advisory Committee: Sigrid Benson, Jacklyn Calanchini, Gabe Cayton, James Allen Crouch, Cheewa James, and Christina Prairie Chicken Narvaez. The committee was instrumental in planning aspects of the programming, identifying sources of community support, and outreach to tribal members and communities. Committee members continue to assist us in appreciating and acknowledging the history and culture of local Native American communities.

[top] Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti, born 1969), Ringmaster, 2009. Earthenware, 16 3/4 x 12 x 7 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D., 2015.71.99. [left panel, top] Al Qoyawayma (Hopi, born 1938), Vessel, 1994. Earthenware, 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 (diam.) in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D., 2015.21.7. [bottom] Frank LaPena, Untitled (Deer Dancer), n.d. Acrylic on canvas. Collection of Marcy Friedman.

For more than a dozen exhibition-related programs visit 216 O Street • Downtown Sacramento • (916) 808-7000 •