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The Future of Artists With Disabilities

Connie Martinez Events, Visual Arts 0 Comments

As Gil Scott-Heron said, “The revolution will not be televised.” But according to artist Mark Anderson, “The Martian Invasion Will Be Televised!” Anderson’s artwork is part of a group exhibit in the Community Room Gallery at the Armory Center for the Arts called “The Future.” On June 16, 2016, the Armory held it’s opening reception for “The Future” which showcases the artwork created by adults with disabilities who are a part of the Pasadena Adaptive Recreation Art Program. This long standing partnership between the City and the Armory has produced numerous exhibits including last year’s show with the theme “The Sky is the Limit” which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The Pasadena Adaptive Recreation program is a weekly art program that currently serves twelve artists with disabilities, says Jackie Scott, Adaptive Recreation Specialist. The themes each year are created by the adults in the program for the next exhibit at least a year in advance. Their art teacher, James Trivers and assistant Maria Gonzalez, steer the artists into creating the art for their themed exhibition by providing art instruction and guidance. Trivers gives the artists suggested ideas and themes, but ultimately, the ideas and themes are based on the artist’s own experiences.

The collection of artwork is each beautifully different and unique just like the artists themselves. With a simple medium of sharpie markers and watercolor paper, each artist creates a vibrantly colored work of art that is often influenced by their personal experiences. Scott says that artist Mark Anderson, has volunteered at the Los Angeles County Arboretum for approximately 30 years, created a picture about futuristic gardening at the LA County Arboretum.

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My Martian Flower Garden, by: Mark Anderson

Throughout the arts and culture scene nationally there is growing awareness for the need of full inclusion for both performing and visual artists with disabilities. In fact, here in Los Angeles the UCLA National Arts and Disability Center (NADC) is a leader in promoting the full inclusion of audiences and artists with disabilities into all facets of the arts community. Collaborations between cultural organizations and civic entires like the Armory and the Adaptive Arts Program are “The Future” of this effort by giving greater exposure and visibility to the artwork of artists with disabilities.

The Adaptive Recreation Program is supported by the Spero Foundation, and each year when the art show is held, the foundation funds the production of an annual art postcard and exhibit catalogue.  Along with Spero, parents and guardians, friends/families and the artists themselves are also supportive to the program.


Artist Michael Karam standing next to his art work (bottom piece), “Solar Power,” with family.

Over the past seventeen years, the Adaptive Art Program has expanded from being a basic art class, to developing an annual exhibit. Scott says, “We discovered that the artists enjoyed having their artwork displayed and in the beginning, we held an annual exhibit at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena.”  At the time, the city funding was limited to two art shows per year, one at the Armory Center and a second one night exhibit at the Central Library during Pasadena Art Night. Additional funding is made through the Spero Foundation and the Pasadena Recreation and Parks Foundation where people can provide a donation directly to the Adaptive Recreation Art program.

This exhibition in the Armory’s Community Room is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5 PM and will be on display until September 9th. Visit the Armory web site for more details.

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How To Start Your Own Theatre Company

Marshall Ayers Acting, Career Advice, How To, Performing Arts, Production, Tips 0 Comments

10257479_10152056996261604_988772255935184067_oThe reality for performers these days is that you have to self-produce to be seen, gain experience and to take control of your career. I’m Kat Chevalier and I started the play/ground theatre company in high school with three of my best friends. We’ve produced four productions over the past several years and have learned a thing or two along the way. It’s hard, but incredibly satisfying work, so here are a few tips to get you started!


1. Do your research.

Part of our success as an amateur theatre company largely stems from the fact that our mission and purpose are singular. When we started out, we knew we wanted to create a space for great art, but more than that, we wanted to create a thriving community where young people could connect with one another. Once we decided to make that our focus, we checked to make sure there weren’t any existing theatre companies out there already doing what we wanted to. Starting a theatre company is hard work. Do your research. If there’s an established company already on the scene that has a mission statement similar to yours, you might want to think about joining forces with them instead of venturing out on your own.

“play/ground theatre company is a family of artists and designers based in Los Angeles, CA with a passion for telling stories through minimalism constraints and diverse artistic influences.”


2. Find your tribe.

The easiest way to find business partners who are going to stick around is to find friends who are going to stick around. Lucky for me, three of my best friends happen to be immensely talented, self-starting creative professionals. When we began the process of putting play/ground together, I had no doubts about anyone’s motives. We entered into the conversation about beginning an organization with a deep sense of respect for the idea of what we wanted to do, but more than that, we had a sense of respect for one another. I recognize that not everyone has the luxury of working with their best friends, but I encourage you to find like minded people to join forces with when you begin your endeavor. Find your tribe is probably one of my most controversial pieces of advice. Critics will say that working with your friends makes conflict more likely and communication more difficult, but I disagree. Working with my friends has given be a leg up in solving challenges within our organization. I’m privy to each of their work styles and the way they each process information. Above all else though, starting a theatre company takes an unimaginable amount of time, so you better like whoever you choose to work with—a lot.


3. Take your time.

One of our very first team meetings was focused on establishing where we wanted to be in one year’s time. Some of our aspirations included, “Have a space of our own”, “Raise $100,000”, “Have a loyal base of season subscribers”. Though these goals were noble and good, I look back on them and I laugh a little bit. Part of our naivety when we began was rooted in the fact that we thought if we worked hard enough, things would happen quickly for us.

“Let me set the record straight: good things take time.”

There are many arts organizations out there and there are many people who want to give money to arts organizations. One day they will give you money too, but it’s important that you prove yourself first. Take your time building a loyal following. Do good work and focus on making a list of small, achievable objectives rather than a few grandiose goals.


4. Be okay with not having a space.

When I introduce myself as the Managing Director of play/ground theatre company, one of the first questions I always get asked is, “Where are you guys located?” My response is always the same, “We don’t have a space and we love it.” At first, it felt embarrassing to admit that we didn’t have the means to purchase a space of our own. But leasing different theaters for each of our projects has actually allowed us an incredible amount of creative flexibility. When we sit down to decide what we want to work on next, we’re never limited by location or building size. Be okay with not having a space. Allow your creative impulses to determine what you want to work on next and then start talking about what types of theaters and neighborhoods would serve your artistic objectives. Of course, we still have ambitions to own our own space one day, but for now we are trying to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with letting our work determine our location.

13087391_223740634665166_4692215864450858946_nAdditional Resources:

How To Start Your Own Theatre Company by Reginald Nelson

Starting A Community Theatre Company from the American Assoc. of Community Theatre

Follow play/ground theatre company on Facebook and join the company for a benefit performance of Broadway favorites on July 15th and 16th at 8pm at The Hudson Theatre Mainstage in Hollywood. Tickets available at

Kat Chevalier was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is a Junior at George Washington University where she is pursuing a double major in Theatre and Political Science. Kat just finished her first season as an Associate Artistic Director for Forbidden Planet Productions where she oversaw three consecutively sold-out productions. In addition to her work with play/ground and FPP, she has also worked at various theaters in both Los Angeles and Washington D.C., most notably Center Theatre Group, Glendale Center Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

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Everything is Better Strange: An Interview with LA Band, James Supercave

Connie Martinez Artist Profiles, Music, Music, Performing Arts

James Supercave made their Pasadena debut at Make Music Pasadena this past June. Headlining the festival, they were the last band on the Colorado Main Stage and offered a great closing performance that day. Lead singer and guitarist, Joaquin Pastor, Patrick Logohetti (keyboard), Andrés Villalobos (guitar), and touring members Phys Hastings (drums), and Patrick Phillips (bass) encountered some slight rain, but that didn’t stop the group from putting on a spectacular show.

IMG_1981Standing about three rows from the stage, the band’s psych-pop sound pulsed though my body. Each song they played was one you couldn’t help but move to. With their dream-like and euphoric sound, I could tell the audience members around me felt the same. I would see audience members dancing, head banging and hearing my friend beside me give an occasional “WOW, I dig this,” with each new song they played. While James Supercave’s studio album is great, this is a band that should really be experienced live.

13428400_863143670480863_7873734284418423714_nAs the set ended, Pastor, mentioned that band merch was going to be sold at the front of the stage. Being it was such a great show, my friends and I decided to stay after to buy some CDs and t-shirts. Little did we know that the band members themselves would also help out with selling their own merchandise. This is an awesome way for bands to connect with their fans directly. In between passing out merch and signing vinyl’s and CDs of their recently released debut album Better Strange, the band members made conversation with those waiting in line.

IMG_2095Later the following week, keyboardist, Patrick Logohetti responded to a few questions about the band for Artzray. Coincidentally, his birthday had been the same day their performance at Make Music. What better welcome to Pasadena than having hundreds of audience members serenade him with “Happy Birthday”?

Did you always know you wanted to be musician? If not, what changed that?

Logohetti: I’ve always made music in one form or another, but it was mostly a private affair until the Supercave years. For years I was just writing/daydreaming for the pleasure of it… it took some serious prodding from Joaquin (our singer) before I was convinced to make a real go of it.

What has been the biggest obstacle for you as a band? How did you overcome/are overcoming this?

Not to cop out from the question, but I try not to think in terms of obstacles. I’m a young white American man… there’s not much I can rightfully complain about.

What advice would you give to a musician trying to break into the music industry?

Work with your friends.

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What is the most important thing to you as musicians?

Biggest thing: move quickly when a new idea excites you! Just get started and put it down – you can always edit later. When inspiration hits, get to work!

What advice would you give to aspiring young artists who may feel discouraged to pursue a career in the arts?

That’s also a tough question. All I can say is that there are literally billions of music fans on this planet! So in spite of how our society may undervalue the arts (and it does), [forget] all that noise and keep pushing. Create, and then let your art speak for itself.

What is the ultimate goal for your band?

Yowza, that’s a tough one. I’ll have get back to you on that.

Well, one thing is for sure, keep an eye out for this LA band, because great things are coming.

Check out their latest music, media and news about James Supercave at:

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Survival Tips for Music Festivals

Connie Martinez Events, Music, Performing Arts, Tips

Summer music festivals are happening everywhere around the country right now. I recently attended Make Music Pasadena in Pasadena, CA, which had 150 musical acts performing in over 30 venues in the city, making it one of the largest free music festivals in the country with an estimated attendance of 50,000. And while music festivals may be intimidating to some, here are a few practical survival tips to remember to make sure you’ll have a blast.Read More


The Private Life and Public Art of Lindsey Warren

Marshall Ayers Art, Artist Profiles, Drawing & Painting, Visual Arts

1459718477910Lindsey Warren is an American artist, born and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated from Boston University, earning a BFA in 2004 and MFA in 2008. Lindsey’s paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States with recent shows in New York City, Boston, MA and Los Angeles. Lindsey has been a studio artist in Chashama’s Workspace Program in NYC and a participant in the Bronx Museum’s AIM program. Her work examines the urban landscape using systematic processes, perception and memory to translate specific moments in time. Lindsey’s public works and murals have been installed in Boston and New York City.

You’re from LA, but lived in Boston a long time. What brought you back to the West Coast and what has the change been like for you?Read More

By: Enokson

The Wannabe Author’s Checklist To Finding A Literary Agent

Jacqueline Abelson Beyond, Books, Career Advice, Creative Writing, How To, Publishing, Writing

You finally did it! You wrote a novel!

And not just any novel, the Next Great American Novel! A 2:00 a.m. baby, born from the unholy alliance of too much caffeine, canceling your plans with your friends, eating an entire tub of Redvines (but eaten in small handfuls, with the lid of the tub re-sealed and returned to the candy cupboard between each handful), and good old insomnia.

Now you’re ready to take your manuscript to the next level: Literary Agent!
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By: Noel Reinhold

My First Time at an Open Mic

Connie Martinez Career Advice, Creative Writing, Performing Arts, Poetry, Tips

Take the opportunity to do an open mic if you get the chance.

For any aspiring young artist, finding the opportunities to showcase our talent and express ourselves can be challenging. As a poet, one way to showcase your work would be at open mics. In movies, they’re portrayed as underground bars or cafés where moody poets perform spoken words, maybe with some smooth jazz in the background, a young man reciting a love poem to a beautiful girl while she sits in the audience not so impressed, but he wins here over anyways—just watch Love Jones. Read More


Starting Your Dance Career in The City of Angels

Leslie Scott Beyond, Career Advice, College, Dance, Getting Started, Performing Arts

As scores of young dance graduates are licking the stamps on their graduation invites, the question on so many family members’ lips ring “So, what’s the next move for your dance career?”

With the ‘WHAT’ hinging so fully on the ‘WHERE,’ young dance professionals have a more diverse map of options than ever before. At one time the only US dance mecca, New York City seemed like the obvious choice, but more and more, young artists are looking to thriving dance communities across the nation from Seattle to Chicago and Dallas to Portland. As a former New Yorker and Founder of BODYART Dance, my recent move to Los Angeles has prompted a few focused thoughts on the impact geography can have on starting your dance career.
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