Embark Gallery Opens at Fort Mason Center to Support Bay Area MFA Students

First Exhibition Features Eight Artists Considering the Theme of Embarkation

(artist rendering)

(artist rendering)

On February 20, 2015, San Francisco’s newest art gallery will open at Fort Mason Center. Embark Gallery, a 1,500 sq. ft. non-profit art space supported by the Kabouter Foundation, provides exhibition opportunities to graduate students in Fine Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, fosters an environment for an engaged community of artists, curators and scholars, and expands the audience for up and coming contemporary art. The gallery represents the diversity of the talented artists studying at seven local art institutions including California College of the Arts, Mills College, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Stanford University, and University of California, Berkeley.

Bimonthly juried exhibitions will be held at the newly renovated space in the Fort Mason Center’s Building B. The gallery will host opening receptions for each exhibition and also provide the artists with professionally published catalogs. Embark Gallery will be open to the public the opening weekend of every exhibition and then by appointment only.

On view from February 20 to March 22, 2015, the inaugural exhibition titled Embark relates to the physical location of the gallery. Housed in the historic Fort Mason Center, once called the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, the very architecture of the Embark gallery is imbued with the spirit of the 1.6 million passengers who came to Fort Mason to commence voyages into the unknown. Artists were asked to submit works of any media pertaining to the theme of embarkation: the inception of change, beginning anew, and journeys of any kind. Whether the understanding of “Embark” was narrative, philosophical, abstract or otherwise, artists were encouraged to provide innovative submissions with exploration and risk-taking in mind. This exhibition includes work in all media from artists including Bobby Anspach, Matt Smith Chavez, Jose Figueroa, Matthew Goldberg, Omar Mismar, Jacqueline Norheim, Michelle Ott, and Courtney Sennish.

Student applications were reviewed and selected by a jury of experienced and knowledgeable local art professionals. The first three shows were selected by Julie Lazar, independent curator and founder of ICANetwork, conceptual and performance artist Michael Zheng and Embark Gallery Director Angelica Jardini with support from Catharine Clark, owner and director of Catharine Clark GalleryThis jury panel will also select the artists for the two subsequent exhibitions, What Grows Here and Perception.

Jardini says, “As a graduate of the Master’s program in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art at SFAI, I valued the collaborative exploration of ideas there among peers. As Director of Embark Gallery, I am excited to facilitate similar dialogues that extend beyond isolated institutions to expand conceptions of what contemporary art is in the Bay Area, and what it can be.

Gallery founder Tania Houtzager comments, “I’m so excited to introduce Embark Gallery to the art scene in San Francisco. With decreasing numbers of commercial galleries and art spaces in the Bay Area, especially those that showcase student art, Embark is an opportunity to support the art schools and vast community of artists at the very beginning of their careers. Fort Mason is the perfect location for our gallery with the arts and cultural community already here, its a dynamic center for creativity and innovation.”

Fort Mason Center Executive Director Rich Hillis adds, “For nearly four decades, the Fort Mason Center has provided an affordable home for the arts in San Francisco. We are proud to support Embark Gallery and are enthralled at this opening as we continue to create a home for the next generation of San Franciscan artists here.”

Following Embark, the exhibition What Grows Here will be on view from April 10 to May 25, 2015. For this exhibition, artists were asked to submit works that engage with the exhibition Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California on view through April 12 at the Oakland Museum—artwork as varied and diverse as California itself. Topics include local or personal histories, California style, past or current political issues, the ever-changing landscape, and art that engages with contemporary California culture.

From June 12 to July 26, 2015 the gallery will host Perception, an exhibition that highlights the diverse possibilities of a specific medium, in this case performance and installation, with the goal of showcasing work that explores the relationship between the environment and the artist and how shifts in one might change the other.

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Media Contacts:

Libby Garrison                        Carolyn Nickell

libby@sartle.com                     carolyn@sartle.com


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Embark is a not for profit gallery funded by the Kabouter Foundation, a private not for profit registered in California. Kabouter Foundation also supports Sartle.com, the world’s #1 resource for salacious, sizzling, art history news. Kabouter is a Dutch word which means gnome.

For more than 35 years Fort Mason Center has served as a unique destination in San  Francisco, hosting arts and cultural events, organizations, and programs in a historic campus along San Francisco’s scenic northern waterfront. It is an extraordinary example of repurposing former military land and buildings for contemporary uses, including museums, performance spaces, and a vibrant schedule of art and cultural exhibitions and events. Each year the Fort Mason Center provides more than $2.2 million in grants to local arts groups like Embark Gallery. With more than 1 million annual visitors, the Fort Mason Center is one of the highest attended arts and cultural organizations in the Bay Area. For more information, visit www.FortMason.org or call (415) 345-7530.

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