The William D. Cannon Art Gallery is a focal point for art and culture in the City of Carlsbad and in San Diego’s North County. Through changing exhibitions, school outreach programs, docent-led gallery tours, hands-on family activities, lectures and publications, all of which are designed to engage and enrich the individual and the community, the Cannon Art Gallery strives to encourage lifelong learning in the arts and to make the visual arts an accessible and integral part of peoples’ lives.
National quality/regional focus: It is an overarching principle that Cannon Art Gallery exhibitions will be of regional and national significance and quality, setting a standard that visitors can look to and trust. Taking advantage of its geographic location, the Cannon Art Gallery focuses on the presentation of work by artists from the Southern California region, realizing that some of the nation’s finest artists—recognized and appreciated by curators, museums and collectors across the country—reside and work here. The gallery will take a leadership role in becoming advocates for these artists by originating exhibitions of their work, publishing related catalogues and generating widespread media coverage.
Variety and balance: The Cannon Art Gallery will be known for its audience-centered approach to its exhibition schedule—that is, the gallery will consciously and actively reach out to the diverse audiences of the region through the choice of its exhibitions. To do this effectively, the program strives for variety and balance in its exhibition schedule. Variety in the gallery’s exhibition schedule (when looking at two- to three-year spans) comes in all forms—media (photography, crafts, installation and folk art as well as painting and sculpture), art historical movements, period (historical as well as contemporary), demographic representation and audiences targeted. Balance in the schedule comes from a careful and conscious mix of thematic, group shows with one-person shows; popular, audience-building shows with more focused shows; regional shows versus national shows; touring shows versus those organized by the gallery—understanding that there are important and valid audiences for each category and type of exhibition.
Introduction of new work to this region: In the context of the exhibition schedule, “new work” is broadly defined to mean the work of young, emerging regional artists; a new body of work by mid-career or established artists seen in a fresh way because of its recontextualization in a thematic group show; or a retrospective look at the work of under-recognized veteran artists. The Gallery’s Biennial and Invitational exhibitions are especially designed to offer emerging and mid-career San Diego County artists the opportunity to present their work to the public.
Arts education opportunities: Encouraging audiences to make the arts an integral part of their lives is a basic goal of the gallery and the Cultural Arts Office programs. There is no better place to start this process than with the youth. The Cannon Art Gallery already has a strong connection to its area elementary schools through its Three-Part-Art program (which includes the resource guides written for the teachers to use in class, then a gallery tour of the exhibition for the kids, followed by a hands-on art activity related to the exhibition). The gallery will continue to search out and present exhibitions that lend themselves to expanding the success of the Three-Part-Art education program.
Accessibility: The Cannon Art Gallery’s commitment to the education of, and outreach to, new audiences is embedded in every phase of its exhibition program. The gallery believes that to present exhibitions without effectively involving the viewer in the looking and learning process only continues the mystification and exclusion surrounding art, especially contemporary art. Therefore, the gallery is committed to breaking down those barriers—to demystifying the art, in effect—by being responsive to the diverse learning styles and needs of its visitors, whether novice or experienced. The Cannon Art Gallery strives to make sure that the exhibitions are both physically and intellectually accessible so that visitors feel welcomed, comfortable and competent in the gallery.
Cultural Equity: The need for cross-cultural understanding and respect in society requires that the Cannon Art Gallery’s exhibitions be culturally diverse. These exhibitions must acknowledge the voice and authority of the cultural participant and scholar, and should be designed to attract multiple and diverse audiences. These exhibitions ask visitors to consider the rich diversity of the human experience and to learn from cultures different from their own.