ISM turns 10

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

If you have had any contact with the Orange County art scene over the past decade then you know what ISM: a community project is, what they do, why they do it and who they are. Right? Well, partially. In the spirit of the above saying by Abraham Lincoln, ISM is as an organization as elusive and open-ended as the classic definition of the term and that is precisely the point.

ISM n. Informal  A distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.

What co-founders Kevin Staniec and Joshua Levenshus have successfully created in ISM is a highly functional creative platform designed to support the arts in Southern California with a particular focus on community building. Ironically, the hazards for any community project start when it enters the realm of community i.e. is subject to outside input, collaboration, business partnership and other brick and mortar concerns. So often when faced with these issues the original concept deeply suffers and even collapses. For ISM to have survived through as many projects and partnerships as it has is a testament to not only the fidelity and simplicity of its original concept but also to the idea that beyond the concept of supporting the creative community, ISM is what YOU think it is.

To attend an ISM event is to not only experience art that will make you glad to be alive but also to be alive in a world where your work is on the wall, you’re being physically pressed up against an artist you admire just from shear lack of standing room, the DJ is playing something undeniably wonderful and at the end of the night you are leaving with a magazine filled with images and ideas that come from the world around you, not some unreachable ideal or staunch and over conceptualized, well…ism.  The who and the what and the why don’t have much room in that scenario. That being said, there always manages to be one.  ISM is a 501c3 non-profit organization with an active board and a clearly defined beneficiary.  Just in case it isn’t obvious, the beneficiary is YOU.

Pictured above: Visitors to the past ISM exhibition, Instant Gratification

Tomorrow night ISM: a community project turns 10 with an event on the scale that has come to define what ISM does best. Participating artists include:

Aaron Kraten, Adela M. Kang, Ahwon Min, Alex Campos, Alex Puvilland, Ana Galvan, Andrea Wan, Andrew Bannecker, Angela Matteson, Apak, Bill Jaynes, Bill Perkins, Bradford Salamon, Brittney Maynard, Brooks Salzwedel, Caleb Morris, Calef Brown, Caroline Hadilaksono, Cecillia Hidayat, Celine Loup, Charles Wish, Chin Ko, Chris Lane, Chris Murray, Cody Griffith, Craig Bowers, Dadu Shin, Daniel Matutina, Daron Parton, Dave Pressler, Ed Fella, Edel Rodriguez, Elodie, Emilio Santoyo, Emma Overman, Erik Martin, Erin Petson, Greg Swearingen, Hugh Dunnahoe, Jackie Huang, Jason Levesque, Jay Merryweather, Jeff McMillan, Jeni Yang, Jenikah, Jim Valeri, Joey Chou, John Jay, Julianna Brion, Justin DeGarmo, Karen Klassen, Katrina Kopeloff, Keron Grant, Lee White, Luisa Uribe, Marie Barr, Matte Stephens, Max Perkins, Nicolas Leger, Nicolette Davenport, Patrick Ballesteros, Patrick Morgan, Rebecca Green, Ronald J Llanos, Ruben Hickman, Ruel Pascual, Sam Wolfe Connelly, Sandow Birk, Sanithna Phansavanh, Seonna Hong, Sfaustina, Simone Legno, So Youn Lee, Steven Silver, Tim McCormick, Tony DiMauro, Tori Cat, Trey Bryan, Vivian Nguyen, Wanyu Chou, Wouter Tulp, Ya’el Pedroza, Yellena, YoungJu Kim, and Yuka Yamaguchi.

Additionally, the exhibition will feature 100’s more as part of the FOCUS and CHEERS projects. ISM is also publishing a paperback compilation documenting 10 years of projects and publications. It is a tribute to the 1,000+ participating artists, designers, photographers and writers from Los Angeles, Orange County and around the world, who have contributed their creativity since 2002.

Pictured left: A sneak peak via Paper Farms Twitter of the CHEERS installation.

And of course, it isn’t quite an ISM if you’re not there.

Grand Central Art Center: 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 7, 7:00pm until 10:00pm
Awards Gala: Saturday, July 7, 7:30pm
Book Release/Closing Reception: Saturday, August 4, 7:00pm until 10:00pm

The exhibition will be on display at Grand Central Art Center from Saturday, July 7 until Sunday, August 12.

Click here for directions and hours.

Click here to pre-order the ISM: 10 book

3 Responses to “ISM turns 10”
  1. Joy says:

    great article!!

  2. As always, a great article, by a great lady!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Walsh wrote an endearing article about ISM celebrating 10 years / ← How To Catch a Cloud Cover ISM 10 […]

Leave A Comment