Friday, June 23, 2017

Artward Initiative Press Release About Artward! Gallery Opening and El Rey Trabajador Unveiling

Subject: Celebrating diversity and unity through art in Carson Calif.

For Immediate Release


Artist Alexey Steele’s New Life Size Painting “El Rey Trabajador” Of A 75 Year Old Gardener And Local Hero Will Be Unveiled And On Display At Newly Founded Artward! Gallery In The Notorious “Scottsdale” Neighborhood Of Carson

CARSON, CALIF., June 27, 2017 – Noted Southern California artist Alexey Steele will display two new works from his My Neighbors Series, a passionate and compelling portrayal of select residents from the city of Carson, at the newly founded Artward! Gallery dedicated to his ongoing Love My Neighbor public art project and located at 23400 Avalon Blvd,  through January, 2018.

Steele’s studio is located in the heart of Carson, consistently ranked among the nation’s cities with the most ethno-racial and linguistic diversity, and he is a proponent of the transformative nature of art. He also believes that the answer to many of the difficult issues currently facing society is to get to know and love one’s neighbor, as inspired by the cherished phrase “love thy neighbor.” With his My Neighbors: Capturing the Soul of America’s Diverse City series, which currently totals eight portraits of ordinary, everyday people, he spotlights community members who represent the strength and soul of Carson in an effort to inspire social change. The artist hopes that his My Neighbors Series will also encourage visitors to see their own neighbors from a new perspective and take the message of love for one’s neighbor back to their own streets.

“The City of Carson is proud of our unique diversity. We are currently preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our founding with substantial forward-looking urban development. Alexey Steele’s Love My Neighbor public art program highlights the city’s civic pride and showcases Carson’s diversity as we pursue our City motto of ‘Future Unlimited,’” said Carson Mayor Albert Robles.

Every street and every neighborhood has its own widely loved neighbors. In the My Neighbors Series want to capture that unique and iconic, deeply human quality that makes those special people the true bedrock of the community, something true and solid to hold on to in the much troubled and divided contemporary world" explains Steele "I want to capture people you cannot help but love and I want through the Love My Neighbor public art project encourage other people to notice and embrace human beacons like that in their own neighborhood. Those are the overlooked heroes of our society,” he adds, “Often the rock bottom of the society is the bedrock of the community.”

Steele was awarded a grant by The City of Carson Cultural Arts Commission for 2015-16 which was followed by the grant for 2016-17 to develop the My Neighbors Series. In this second collaboration between the City and an artist, Steele focused his attention on the notorious neighborhood of Carson, CA quite ironically called “Scottsdale”. Following his concept that special neighbors exist in every condition Steele found a remarkable and inspiring character in Cirilo Campos, a beloved 75 year old gardener who has been working in Scottsdale for 31 years and would not quit, a true local hero and the icon of serving community. Steele decided to paint an epic life-size painting celebrating human dignity shining bright in the world of adversity. Steele decided to use the very process of art making as a community engagement tool and executed his large canvas entirely on-site in the series of over 40 live sessions each open to the public. To showcase works of his My Neighbors Series to the local community and use the Love My Neighbor project as a tool of continuous community building, Steele established a permanent on-site Artward! Gallery.

Sharing in the neighborly spirit of diversity, Wells Fargo Bank joined this important socially engaged artist–city–community collaboration with an additional grant.

With this body of work, Steele is following in the footsteps of his late father, the noted Ukrainian artist Leonid Steele. A hallmark of Leonid Steele's oeuvre was to travel to remote villages of the Ukraine to capture the expression of ordinary people in paint and to present the finished works to the very muses themselves. The younger Steele's homage to his father's work intends to build upon the legacy of shared strength, as a counterpoint to troublesome events.

Steele’s art is traditionally shown in galleries and museums, but this time the artist is presenting his new works in settings that he shares with his fellow community members to ensure the widest engagement of local residents in this city public art program.  Alexey Steele is represented by American Legacy Fine Arts, a private art gallery in Pasadena, Calif.

The City of Carson is proud of its unique diversity. It is currently preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding with substantial improvements and forward looking urban development. Alexey Steele’s Love My Neighbor public art program is part of the city’s civic pride about such special level of diversity while Carson looks into a future with a motto Future Unlimited.

Wells Fargo has a long history of supporting diversity and inclusion, and the company’s Vision and Values states “The spirit of diversity and inclusion lives in our hearts and minds and most importantly in our behaviors – the way we interact with each other and conduct our business.” Additionally, Wells Fargo was ranked #12 on Diversity Inc.'s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” list for 2016.

*Digital images of artwork in the exhibition are available upon request.*
Images of the project available with this link

About The City of Carson, CA
Carson is a city in Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 census, Carson had a population of 91,714. Located 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown Los Angeles[10] and approximately 14 miles away from the Los Angeles International Airport.[11] Incorporated on February 20, 1968, Carson is the youngest municipality in the South Bay region of Metropolitan Los Angeles and preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The City of Carson is a 2015 winner of All-America City Award and consistently ranked as one of the most diverse cities in the US

About “Scottsdale” Neighborhood of Carson, CA
Scottsdale Townhomes in Carson, CA is a particularly volatile underserved neighborhood in the City of Carson. Built in 1963 as a 600 unit gated community condominium project it gain notoriety through 1970s and 80s as a home for Scottsdale Piru gang, inter-gang violence, high crime rate and poverty, representing the plight of the inner city within Los Angeles County. In recent years the situation is incrementally but steadily improving. It has around 3,000 residents. 26.5% are residents below the poverty level. Median household income $41,442

About Artward! Gallery and Artward Intiative
Artward! Gallery is founded by the artist Alexey Steele and operated by Artward Initiative 501c3 non-profit. The gallery is dedicated to showcasing his Love My Neighbor public art project in the City of Carson and organized in the open to the public Scottsdale Townhouses HOA building. Its near-horizon objective is through repeated art live-sessions by Alexey Steele, ongoing showcase of the works of My Neighbors Series and periodic special art events to engage and bring meaningful community-building impact to a “Scottsdale” neighborhood of Carson, serve as a model of how art can be used as effective tool of social action in the similarly difficult urban scenarios across the US. Artward Initiative is a 501c3 non-profit organization formed to strengthen Southern California local communities through its charitable cultural activities. Artward Initiative sponsored events and projects are centered around community development and revitalization, enhance community's quality of life through art, cultural and educational projects. 

Media Contacts:

Olga Vlasova

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