In commemoration of our 25th year, Meridian Gallery is thrilled to present the June Benefit Series, a month-long fundraiser comprising a series of weekly lectures and performances, culminating in the Benefit Dinner & Concert featuring the celebrated jazz vocalist, Kitty Margolis. The June Benefit Series celebrates all facets of Meridian, highlighting Meridian Music: Composers in Performance, the Meridian Interns Program (MIP), and our renowned exhibition programming.

With the June Benefit Series, we hope to ensure Meridian Gallery’s continued presence in San Francisco’s historic Union Square. Like so many non-profit arts organizations in San Francisco, Meridian Gallery was recently threatened with eviction from our longtime home at 535 Powell Street, but with the help of our many friends and supporters, we were able to extend our tenancy until June 30, 2014. We are determined to secure a new, very long-term lease at that time. The funds raised with this Benefit Series will be used towards that end, and, by extension, to support all of the programs housed at Meridian, including the Meridian Interns Program (MIP), Meridian Music: Composers in Performance, and Meridian Dance.

John Santos in Concert
Thursday, June 5, 2014.

Renowned band leader, percussionist and musicologist, John Santos, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. A multi-Grammy nominee, faculty member at both the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, and the College of San Mateo, and resident artistic director at the new San Francisco Jazz Center, Santos is an acclaimed performer, composer, and educator. Santos will perform in the intimate space of Meridian Gallery with his Quartet (Saul Sierra, Marco Diaz & David Flores) against the stunning background of the concurrent exhibition of Carolyn Castaño’s recent works.

Renny Pritikin in Conversation with Carolyn Castaño 
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Renny Pritikin, the newly appointed Chief Curator of San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum, considers Colombian-American artist Carolyn Castaño’s most recent paintings in this visual arts lecture (her show, Narco Venuses and Other Stories, will be on display throughout the entire Meridian Gallery Benefit). A renowned curator, author, and poet, Pritikin is a pillar of the San Francisco arts community who is also well acquainted with the artist. Pritikin is the former Director of the Richard L. Nelson Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection at the University of California, Davis. In 1992, he became the Director of the Visual Arts Program, and, in 1997, Chief Curator of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Carolyn Castaño is a Los Angeles based artist with strong ties to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, Castaño was awarded an artist grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. She is a 2011 California Community Foundation Getty Fellow and recipient of the prestigious C.O.L.A Individual Artist Fellowship 2011.

Narco Venus and Other Stories: Paintings and Video by Carolyn Castaño explores personas and narratives associated with the narco-wars and political dramas currently unfolding in Latin America. Pritikin will open the conversation with an historical discussion of Spanish colonialism and consequent drug-related violence in the New World, which Castaño will then link with Narco Venus through a show-and-tell presentation of various documents, such as botanical illustrations and geographical surveys, that situate the present conflict in a particular time and place.

Sound, Listening and Public Engagement with Brenda Hutchinson and Terri Cohn
Thursday, June 19, 2014.

In this rare and timely event, Brenda Hutchinson and Terri Cohn will consider the themes of sound, listening, and public engagement against the background of art and technology in the Bay Area. Each of these conversants are long-time Bay Area residents who bring an experienced perspective to the on-going and too often conflicted conversation about the relationship of “arts” and “technology.” This evening will contribute new and insightful perspectives that challenge the rhetorical dichotomy of art and technology. 

Brenda Hutchinson is a composer and sound artist whose work is based on the cultivation and encouragement of openness in her own life and in those she works with. Through her work with large-scale experiments in socially based improvisations and interactions, Hutchinson encourages participants to experiment with sound, share stories, and make music. Ongoing projects and invitational work can be accessed through the dailybell2008 blog and various Facebook pages (dailybell sunwatch and whatcanyoudo2012).

Terri Cohn is a writer, curator, art historian, and editor. Her research and writings focus on conceptual art, technology, public art, and socially-engaged art practices. A Contributing Editor to Artweek magazine for 20 years, she currently writes for various publications including Public Art Review, Art in America, SFAQ, Squarecylinder, Art Practical, and Terri co-wrote and edited Pairing of Polarities: The Life and Art of Sonya Rapoport (Heyday Press, 2012), curated exhibitions of Rapoport’s work for Kala Art Institute and Mills College Art Museum (2011, 2012). She teaches for the University of California, Berkeley, in their Art and Design Extension program.

Benefit Dinner & Concert featuring Kitty Margolis
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kitty Margolis is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and inspired singers in jazz today. Her imaginative improvisations, dynamism, and inventive scat have redefined the art of jazz vocals. Jazz Times has praised her "visionary approach to melody and rhythm," and noted New York writer Stanley Crouch observes, "Kitty Margolis is an original who has made the heritage of all the great jazz singers her own. Beyond her virtuoso technique, she has an epic feeling, a willful breadth of emotion that is artfully focused on the details of life. She is not afraid to be as intimate as a diary or as athletic as necessary in order to stand up to the power of her band. Like all true artists, Kitty Margolis adds something good to the world that it did not possess before she came along. She is, as they say, "the real thing.”

16 Years of Meridian Music
Thursday, June 26, 2014.

Founded in 1998 by Anne Trueblood Brodzky, Anthony Williams and Philip Gelb, Meridian Music: Composers in Performance presents a wide range of rare new-music from the vital Bay Area scene and beyond with monthly concerts featuring both established and emerging composer/performers you are not likely to see elsewhere. 16 Years of Meridian Music celebrates the history and creative spirit of Meridian Music, featuring several of its curators, past and present. Continuing the previous week’s theme of bridging the gap between art and technology, several of the participating musicians specialize in computer music and improvisation, sound art and invented instruments. This dynamic concert will take place on all three floors of the historic Perine Mansion and will therefore highlight the wonderful Victorian architecture of Meridian’s longtime home.