#TwitterArtExhibit conducts a brief Q&A with Dan McCleary, Executive Director of Art Division

The Twitter Art Exhibit team conducted a brief Q&A with Dan McCleary, Executive Director of Art Division, the benefiting charity of Twitter Art Exhibit: Los Angeles, which took place at Exhale Unlimited Gallery from January 12 to  February 10, 2013.

Art Division is a nonprofit organization that mentors disadvantaged youth 18-25 in the Rampart district of Los Angeles in preparation for careers in the visual arts.

Works from the exhibition are available for purchase until the end of March at www.twitterartexhibitla.com

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Dan McCleary, Executive Director of Art Division (right), with student Javier Carillo (left) at LACMA.

T.A.E.: What did you think about the Twitter Art Exhibit concept when the curators approached Art Division to be the beneficiary of this fundraising exhibition?

D.M.: I was excited by the idea of a “Twitter art show”. I was also honored and so grateful to curators Nat George and Virginia Arce, as well as Anson Yew of Exhale Unlimited Gallery for selecting Art Division.

T.A.E.: Did you have any doubts or concerns along the way?

D.M.: I was afraid that the scope of the project would overwhelm all of us, especially in terms of the installation. It never did. The installation took a few days but went very smoothly with Nat and Virginia at the helm. They were assisted by Art Division students who worked very hard to get everything ready in time.

T.A.E.: What did the students think about this project, and how did they get involved?

D.M.: The students were thrilled to be exhibiting alongside artists from around the world. There was a core of students and young staff who helped with the installation, and with the opening and closing events.

T.A.E.: Did you ever think you would receive this many donated cards?

D.M.: I don’t think any of us expected such a big response to the Call for Artists, or the turnout we had on opening night.

T.A.E.: What were your thoughts when you saw the number of works coming in? Any comments on the variety of the work, styles, range?

D.M.: The first time we saw the work in person was while installing the exhibit. We were all delighted and overwhelmed by the amount and quality of the donated work. 

T.A.E.: Did the students have anything to say about the pieces they saw in the gallery ?

D.M.: On installation and opening days, the students were reporting back to me and sharing with each other the cards they were discovering. It was like being at a museum. 

T.A.E.: Did any cards surprise you in terms of their place of origin?

D.M.: I was surprised to see cards from Asia, Africa, and many countries in Europe.

T.A.E.: Can you talk a little bit about how much money was raised so far from Twitter Art Exhibit Los Angeles in support of Art Division?

D.M.: I believe we raised around $4,700.00 on opening night alone. To date, gallery and online sales total just a little over $7,000.00.

T.A.E.: Many of the artists are dying to know what the funds will be used for. Are there any plans or specifics that you can share with us?

D.M.: The timing of the exhibit couldn’t have better for Art Division. We are opening a new art library and painting studio this April. The funds will help pay for shelves, tables, chairs, as well as general operating costs.

T.A.E.: We know a lot of your students made postcards; how did they feel working on such a small scale?

D.M.: I think the small scale of the cards freed the students to experiment. We devoted many class periods to making the cards. It was fun and relaxing working on them together.

T.A.E.: Where do you see Art Division going in the next five to ten years? How are you expanding?

D.M.: Art Division has acquired two new spaces in the past two months. We didn’t expect this to happen so fast. We now serve 20 students. In 2013 we expect to serve closer to 30. We want to remain small so we can give our students individual attention and in-depth training, and we hope to get more tutors, mentors and teachers as well. Our hope is that our extensive library will serve not only our students, but also our community, artists and art students from other schools or organizations throughout L..A. Our space will also eventually serve as a community art center open to lectures, readings and musical performances.

T.A.E.: What’s going to happen to unsold cards?

D.M.: Unsold cards will be up for sale at our Art Division store located in our new library.

T.A.E.: Dan, thank you for taking the time!

D.M.: Thank you.

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1. Art Division students and mentors visiting the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. 2. Art Division students visiting LACMA in Los Angeles. 3. Art Division students in front of a mural they completed in one day for a Ted X project in Manhattan Beach, CA.

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