CORE: Defining Ourselves is a longstanding annual tradition of Able ARTS Work. Beginning in 2005, with the first ever CORE exhibition at the George V. Deneff Gallery in Long Beach, Able ARTS Work has built an art community that celebrates creatives not only across the nation but the globe. This annual juried exhibition has grown and evolved through the years to include artists of all abilities, exhibitions at venues across the Los Angeles area, and ADA components to create a fully accessible and inclusive showcase of the arts. As we look back on the past 16 years of CORE, it’s time to transform our traditional format with an exciting reinterpretation of this iconic exhibition.
Participating community artists from the LA art scene were invited to create a collaborative body of work with our resident artists over the course of several months in 2019-2020. Disability influencer Lolo Spencer and AAW resident artist Brian Corder were invited to co-curate solo artwork by artists, further integrating the element of community collaboration into the curation process and the exhibition. This multi-dimensional community exhibition originally had been planned to open at Bergamot Station in May 2020. The world came to a screeching halt in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe forcing a total shut down. The future of CORE became uncertain; all plans were put on an indefinite hold.
In early 2021, the exhibitions team began to piece the show back together little by little with hopes of sharing the original message of community and collaboration with a world in desperate need. Although everything seemingly stopped the past year, time had continued on - through the process of putting the show together changes arose. Changes in venue, in artist participation, in curation, and of artwork included. Although the journey involved some unexpected changes, the essence of this exhibition has not. CORE 2021 is the culmination of this journey. This exhibition explores the praxis of collaboration and community, highlighting the unique creative relationships built every day through the artistic process. As past CORE shows have established a passionate art scene inclusive of all abilities, we build upon that strong foundation to bring these revolutionary ideas to a broader audience. CORE 2021 aims to unify the larger LA art scene with a narrative on the power of community and the need for continued collaboration among our greater society. The relationships formed between all participating artists is as much a part of the exhibition as the physical artworks created from these collaborative explorations. This evolved exhibition redefines what it means to work together in the contemporary art world in the midst of a global pandemic and beyond. Able ARTS Work acknowledges and celebrates the process of artmaking and growing creatively as an arts community. We invite our audience to think about the connection between the practice of collaboration and how this translates into making our communities more inclusive, accessible, and unified.
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I LIKE IT A LOT
Jesus Quiroz (left) &
Leonardo Moleiro (right)
The collaboration of Jesus Quiroz, a resident artist of the CECA studio in Hawthorne and Leonardo Moleiro, a Pasadena based artist, ignited the flame of inspiration for the annual CORE exhibition in 2020. The two were both participants of the Weekend Warrior Residency, hosted by Able ARTS Work (AAW) at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles in winter of 2019. During the residency, an AAW resident artist and community artist were selected to work side by side to provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas, skills, and a chance to learn from one another. Both artists were very dedicated to their work from the start of the residency. Every Saturday, both artists journeyed to San Pedro to work for several hours on solo and collaborative art works. Jesus chose to begin a garden themed series of drawings. He often completed his small nature studies in the gardens located at Crafted. Leo painted abstract geometric figures on canvas hanging on the studio walls. Each artist often would stop to check in on the other and provide critique, feedback, or a word of positive encouragement on works in progress. The culmination of their residency is a collaborative painting combining the geometric abstract shapes utilized by Leo into the organic garden landscape created by Jesus.
This collaborative relationship did not end once the residency concluded. Both artists were asked to participate in CORE 2020 due to their successful artistic relationship and exemplary community collaboration. CORE 2020 was intended to highlight the importance of collaboration with the community. The artists took on a pen-pal style collaborative process due to distance. Jesus began paintings that Leo would pick up then complete. In the process of the pen-pal collaboration a mix up occurred with the artwork intended for Leo and artwork intended as solo pieces for Jesus. Then the COVID- 19 pandemic occurred turning everyone’s world upside down. The exhibition, paintings, and collaboration were put on an indefinite hold. As CORE 2021 began to take form again, the exhibition team began to piece the various parts of the exhibition back together after more than a year. In this process a happy accident was revealed. Leo had unknowingly collaborated on Jesus’s personal artwork instead of the paintings originally intended for collaboration. Leo combined their styles in a way that honored Jesus’ artwork without overtaking it. He found the perfect balance to complement Jesus in this most unusual collaboration. This “happy accident” exemplifies what the collaborative process is truly all about.