"Breaking Out of the Box" Art Exhibition at City Hall
By Diane Andrews

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'Breaking Out of the Box' Art Exhibition at City Hall
'Breaking Out of the Box' Art Exhibition at City Hall

Bay Area artists had to think outside the box to transform the abstract concept of "Breaking Out of the Box" into concrete works of art for the inagural art contest sponsored by the Santa Clara Cultural Commission. Visitors at an opening reception at City Hall the evening of April 17, also found themselves thinking outside the box as they viewed the 41 art pieces—by 21 local artists— that are on display along the hallways of Santa Clara City Hall through September 26.

"Using the box as a starting point, how can you take the very basic shape and infuse it with a meaning?" asks Triton Museum Chief Curator Preston Metcalf, a judge for the juried art contest.

"It was difficult to judge because all the pieces are really good," says Cultural Commission Chair Fatima Fagundes, the second judge. "First I looked at how close the pieces are to our theme. Then I picked by personal opinion whatever stood out."

The First Place ribbon and a prize of $300 was awarded to Eric Jacobson from San Jose for his laser etched acrylic piece "Trapped Circuit Head."

"The trapped circuit head is an interesting take on the traditional bust. Rather than carve the form from a block of material, the form is actually etched into a series of sheets of acrylic that come together to create the entire form," writes Jacobson.

"I was thrilled to see this piece won Best in Show. It encourages me to continue exploring sculpture," says Jacobson, who works in software and takes art classes at Mission College. "You're never finished. There are always new ideas and techniques."

One of 10 Merit Award winners, Mission College art instructor Lynne Todaro was in competition with several of her students, including Jacobson.

"I wish my students would quit beating me out in all these contests, but it makes me feel I'm doing something right over at Mission College," says Todaro. "The Mission program for studio art has a really good variety of classes, emphasizing skills and craft as well as theory and creativity."

"I have no argument with the judging. They did a good job judging," says Greg Falberg of Santa Clara, viewing the exhibit with his wife, Magaly Falberg.

The Second Place prize of $200 was awarded to Brenda Mosher for "Bone Box," made of copper and bone. The Third Place prize of $100 was awarded to Gary Barton for his wood, plastic, and glass box titled "A-Four." The 10 merit winners each won a certificate and $50.

"I like the pieces," says Magaly Falberg. It's interesting how the artists used different materials and mediums to do their artwork. I wonder what they were feeling when they produced their artwork."

"The artwork is very different. Some [pieces] I can relate to, some I can't relate to," says San Jose resident Majid Amjadi, whose wife, Minoo Amjadi, was a first-time contest participant with her mixed media entry "I Will Survive," made from recycled materials.

View the "Breaking Out of the Box" free art exhibition at City Hall (both buildings), 1500 Warburton Avenue, during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ask for a brochure at the information desk. Most art pieces are for sale.

"It's wonderful that the city does this [contest]. It's wonderful to live in this city!" says Magaly Falberg.