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SMUD Art Gallery

SMUD Gallery
Located at Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Customer Service Center
6301 S Street (at 65th Street), Sacramento, CA 95817
Hours:  Monday-Friday 8am-6pm

The SMUD Art Gallery is a partnership between the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission with additional funding from the City and County of Sacramento.


In Response: Poets and Artists in Dialogue

November 17, 2017 - January 9, 2018


The artist receptions are held at the gallery location and are free to the public.

November 16, 2017, 3:30 - 5:30 PM. Meet the artists and poets and view their work.


In Response celebrates the collaboration of a diverse group consisting of 16 pairs of local poets and visual artists. 

Through a variety of mediums, including encaustic, ceramic, paintings, drawings, textile and collage, Sacramento area visual artists provide one half of the dialog. The contributing visual artists are Arturo Balderrama, Cynthia Charters, Fred Dalkey, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Frankie Hansbearry, Jim Hensley, Laura Hohlwein, Maggie Jimenez, Jaya King, Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, Sue Menebroker McElligott, Frank Ordaz, Deborah Rhea, Daniel Schoorl, Angela Tannehill, and D.R. Wagner.

Among the 16 poets included in this dialog are the current Sacramento Poet Laureate, Indigo Moor, erstwhile Laureate, Julia Connor, Victoria Dalkey, Lisa Abraham Dominguez, Joey Garcia, Traci Gourdine, Patrick Grizzell, Ed Hensley, Laura Hohlwein, Kathryn Hohlwein, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Charlie Mariano, Arturo Mantecón, Annie Menebroker, D.R. Wagner, and Mary Zeppa. 

Poets/artists Susan Kelly-DeWitt, D.R. Wagner and Laura Hohlwein perform double-duty in the show, collaborating as both poets and visual artists.

Creative collaborations between visual artists and writers are nothing new in the Sacramento art community. Artists illustrate collections of poems, painters make “live paintings” at musical events, musicians accompany poets at readings and performances, and poets are inspired to write by the work of painters and sculptors and musicians. A lasting example of this effort includes Julia Connor, who conceived the Poet Laureate’s Park and sculpture garden at The Natomas Library, a project which itself included a response to poetry by sculptor Troy Corliss. 

The idea for the show was itself a collaboration of sorts. Co-curators Lorrie Kempf and Patrick Grizzell were installing a show in the Robert T. Matsui Gallery in City Hall when artist Arturo Balderrama and writer Charlie Mariano happened by. The two were meeting to discuss illustrations Arturo was making for a book of Charlie’s. The ensuing conversation was the genesis of this exhibition.

The artists and poets processes varied. In some cases, the poets wrote to the visual work, or the visual artist responded to the poem. But there was no formula. Each collaboration was different, reflecting the broad spectrum from which the participants are drawn. Many of them are long-time participants in the art community, some are newly emerging, and all of them brought something interesting to the table, and to the exchange. There are a few people included who are no longer with us physically, but their inspiration, and their work, lingers. They include poet Ann Menebroker, and painter Gilbert Lujan, who were included in an honorary capacity; and Jim Hensley, who passed away during the course of this undertaking. 

Jaya King, Live Wire, encaustic, 24“ x 48“, 2017

I tell my beginning drawing students there is no such thing as line
(though I love line and the week before told them to draw
every kind of line they could possibly make).
This week, there is no line.
A line is just a concept.
There is no such thing as a physical line
just value next to value.
The birds I love again are back —
aligning on the straight length of wire that is not a line,
as it was not last year,
— the starlings, their wire, their pause and direction, just deeper blues
in a field of blues
in a field, deep field, of black, expanding.
This is how painters see things
— the space between the nucleus and the path (not a line)
of the electron
probably a color of some kind
probably very hard to get right
The direction of gaze
not a line with beginning or end
but a field in which one can suddenly lift in a startled
movement of living.

Image: Jaya King, Live Wire, encaustic, 24“ x 48“, 2017.
Poem: Line, by Laura Hohlwein.