2015 was one epic emotional ride for WSOHOIDPS! It was a transformational year to say the least. The year started off with a continuation of our monthly themed group house shows; each delivering one memorable performance after another from local, national and international artists, scientists and musicians.
The year saw the emergence of our curator Lianne Mueller and the enigmatic thunderbolt Addison Stonestreet whose contributions have been superhuman to say the least. If you know either of them I need not say more.
Our ability to sustain what we’ve been doing has been a group effort with individual donations from well over 2,000 event participants, Wells Fargo Bank, Stone Brewing Company, Artist & Craftsman Supply, Old Harbor Distillery, among others. 2015 also saw new major funding from Rob and Lianne Mueller and the La Jolla Playhouse. But none would be possible without the guidance of our prime benefactor, co-founder Dan Fauchier. Over the past 5 years Dan has helped WSOHOIDPS stay afloat so we can continue providing a voice for culture in southern California. We also want to acknowledge the many volunteers, contributors, supporters as well as members of our governing and advisory boards for helping to further this thriving community and the blossoming art scene in San Diego. One other guiding light shines bright, Director and scientist-in-chief, John Reynolds of the Salk Institute, whose intelligence and steadfast support makes this foundation very special.
In the spring of 2015 our one-year gallery experiment at Flower Hill Promenade came to a close. This invaluable experience created many lifelong friendships and helped shape our focus for the future. The whole year, however, was shadowed by the impending sinking of our beloved mid-century house that became somewhat of a cliché as each show was hailed to possibly be the last but trust me it was no ploy. We knew that day would arrive but had no idea a nonprofit would unexpectedly emerge adding more pressure on its continuation after all the a great responses from the creative community.
As the summer approached and the deadline lingered there were a lot of unknowns. We couldn't help but think about the concept of ownership. Serendipitously, what went down as our final show at the house, “Control, Conquest, Confinement” presented international Mexican artists the de la Torre Brothers featuring their exhibition “Quemando Las Naves” which translates to “burning ships” and refers to a famous phrase taken from the stories of Alexander the Great and Hernán Cortés, who after having their own ships burned to prevent any means of escape from seemingly insurmountable odds, told their men, “the only way we get home is on enemy ships, you have no other choice now, conquer or die.” It was a wildly entertaining show that closed out an epic 5-year run at the Del Mar house with a set by the local genre-defining Cholo Goth band Prayers. A fitting ending to a peculiar dynamic of raw thought provoking dialogues being discussed within an affluent suburban cul-de-sac.
“We need to be students for life”, reminding words from artist/architect Patrick Shields who helped guide us on our Rhodopsin 2.0 installation that was exhibited at the WoW festival this year at La Jolla Playhouse. We are continuing to develop and explore this fascinating experiment and couldn’t be more grateful for the guidance and support from vision scientist Patrick Cavanagh and Salk neurobiologist John Reynolds. Future versions are already in the works so stay tuned.
So as the doors closed on our Del Mar house, we set sail on the city of San Diego with welcoming arms from some of our friends in the community hosting shows at Helmuth Projects, Bread & Salt, Space4Art, SDAI, and culminating with our most ambitious event to date, Convergence. The purest example of the inspired talent, drive and dedication of our team is found in that landmark November show at Cabrillo National Monument, envisioned and spearheaded by the fearless Lianne Mueller and featuring 50 local, national and international artists and three musical acts with installations utilizing the entire grounds of the park and lighthouse on an amazing Pacific night. One for the books!
The process of organizing each of these events, structuring a growing nonprofit, the somewhat dramatic and happenstance discovery and acquisition of our new Ship 2.0 property, followed by a three-month epic move and ongoing renovation lasting through the new year has been nothing but profound… and we couldn’t be more delirious in retrospect.
- RJ Brooks, Co-Founder and Executive Director