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Ready for the spotlight

H.B. Art Center's 'Centered on the Center' exhibit will include work from more than 150 area artists.

January 09, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Executive Director Kate Hoffman, left, and assistant Matt Murdock organize artwork, including Kurt Weston's "Cat Walk," for the Centered on the Center show at the Huntington Beach Art Center.
Executive Director Kate Hoffman, left, and assistant… (Don Leach, HB Independent )

Broken surfboards, packaging material, styrofoam, paints, thinners and resin.

These are just a few ingredients in Janessa Bookout's "green" sculptures.

Although the 31-year-old Huntington Beach resident has a background in traditional fine art, she is currently waist-deep in a series of projects involving materials obtained from a local recycling program. Her paraphernalia also comes from her boyfriend's local surfboard-shaping factory, fondly nicknamed her "playpen."

Bookout has contributed two pieces — a painting and a wall-mountable sculpture — to the Huntington Beach Art Center's nearly 300-strong roster for "Centered on the Center."

"So far, people in Huntington Beach's surfing community have been really welcoming," she said. "This is an earth-friendly crowd that gets in the water and really connects with the environment. The surfboards are made of resin and styrofoam, which, once broken, are going to end up in a landfill. So they like the fact that I'm making something beautiful out of what would have just been trash."

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Counting down to her first appearance in "Centered on the Center," Bookout is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to meet other like-minded, artistically inclined locals.

More than 150 artists' handiwork will be displayed from Jan. 18 through Feb. 23 at the Huntington Beach Art Center. Spread through three galleries at the 11,000-square-foot, 17-year-old municipal center, this exhibition is a non-juried open call that attracts artists from across Orange and Los Angeles counties.

"This is a community show, the biggest one we do all year long, and we are proud that in opening it up to the community, we make it a truly democratic process," Executive Director Kate Hoffman said. "Anyone who claims to be an artist is welcome to enter — hobbyists and professionals alike."

Artists can submit up to two pieces, which must be framed and ready for professional installation, for a nominal fee: $15 for one work and $25 for two. Hoffman then works closely with the center's installer, Andre Woodward, to construct a salon-style floor-to-ceiling exhibition. Their primary goal is to create an aesthetically pleasing show that does justice to the immense range of submitted subject matter.

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