Ann Berchtold supports San Diego art. She's the producer of several local art shows and the founder of Art San Diego, the city's first and only annual contemporary art fair.
Berchtold's curation has never gotten political. However, with racial violence, immigration and deportation as hot news topics, and with an upcoming presidential election, she felt Art San Diego had to address them. Berchtold organized two collaborative art projects called "Art Lab projects" that discuss these issues.
"I would say there was intent this year," says Berchtold of her curation. "Typically, my procedure in the past is finding an artist or institution I wanted to work with."
The first piece, Open Walls Project, invites artists to create art on billboards across San Diego. For the third year of Open Walls, Berchtold asked internationally renowned artist Marcos Ramírez to assemble artists known for their political work to create 10 pieces. The billboards will be revealed this month.
The second, Heroic Procession, is a performance piece exploring migration and movement showing at Art San Diego on Nov. 5.
Although Berchtold's curation takes a different approach this year, it always takes San Diego into consideration. She is compelled to create opportunities for local talent and feature art that touches on regional issues—just like this year's Art Lab projects do.
"I think it's a nice extension of what we're doing," says Berchtold. "It brings awareness to immigration. I think San Diego is a major player in this conversation."