From the outset of designing Rhoda Goldman Plaza, there was consensus to acquire quality art throughout the 250,000 square foot building. A high standard was set to purchase and display only original or limited-edition fine art prints; nothing printed by a web press was acceptable and still is not allowed. Thus, throughout the community, one feels as if you are in an art gallery – from prints, drawings, paintings, photographs, fabric pieces, photography to a hand painted mural in the café, a commission awarded to Ruby Newman. Ms. Newman is also one of three panels of the mural in the café known as the painter of the Golden Gate Park Carousel wooden figures and for painting scenes for the Santa Fe Opera.
Of course, this doesn’t include the Archie Held sculpture “Coming Together” in the Scott Street garden, the cast bronze gates on both Scott and Post streets and the bronze panels used in the Lobby and café, or the very large, colorful vases in the elevator Lobbies.
Seisel Maibach was Chair of the Art Committee and our art consultant who purchased almost 400 artworks for the building which opened in 2000. In addition, capital funds have also been allocated each year to purchase additional art.
A few artists such as Susan Green, donated their work. In her case, she donated 21 watercolors of flowers, large plates, pitchers and more and, along with another person, donated the framing which unto itself is very costly. A standard was set to have all art framed in maple for a consistent look throughout the community.
There is also a schedule of changing exhibitions of art in the first-floor gallery and lobby areas about every two to three months. These range from resident paintings and drawings to invitational shows by professional artists. The goal of these shows is to support our art communities internally and externally. When sales occur, all proceeds go to the artist.
The art shows are designed by staff and sometimes are thematic, and others are by solo artists such as the one opening August 20th, “The World According to Alp”. This solo show hosts etchings that have been subsequently hand painted with watercolors.
Another thematic show that was wildly popular, was one we call “Art That Made the Cut”. This show was inspired by and gave personal insights about our residents. As our Marketing Director visited residents in their apartments, she asked them, “What inspired you to choose this piece of art, out of all that you may have collected over the years? What is it about this particular artwork that so held onto your heartstrings, you just had to bring it with you to Rhoda Goldman Plaza?” It was a very eclectic and fascinating show . . . one of the most popular to date.
An example of a thematic show was an Indonesian Textile show utilizing the talents of our own residents to help us put it together. One resident owned all the textiles and another, a retired Curator of Medieval Textiles of the LA County Museum of Art, helped curate the show. One piece was dedicated to Rhoda Goldman Plaza and currently hangs in the Marketing Director’s office.