The Feisty Marriage of Art & Politics

Edward Goldman


The political discourse and drama of the last few months has been –– to put it politely –– unprecedented. Someday, hopefully, we will be able to make sense of it. With so many walls separating and dividing us ideologically, as well as physically, we need more than ever the wisdom and guidance of art to help us understand and evaluate the world we live in.


With that, you can probably guess my reaction to the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. Of course, politicians should be afraid of a confrontation with strong, politically charged works of art. While politicians talk and talk, artists create powerful artworks worth a thousand words. ...Continue Reading


How an Art Library Is Changing Lives in L.A.

Isaac Kaplan


In 2004, Dan McCleary’s mother passed away. “My parents were avid book readers and collectors of art books,” the artist told me. “So instead of buying flowers, I told everyone to buy me books.”


That was the early genesis for a library of art books that grew to become the core of Art Division, an L.A. nonprofit space that provides free art education to underserved young adults in the city’s MacArthur Park neighborhood. As word spread that McCleary was collecting books, more donations came in from friends and fellow artists. “Chris Burden heard about it, got in touch with me and said his mother had just passed away, and did I want her books?” McCleary recalls. “He had amazing art books from his mother’s library. That was one of the big donations right at the beginning.” Today, Art Division boasts an impressive collection of over 8,000 books. And it’s still growing... Continue Reading

Church. Museum. Art & Spirit.

Edward Goldman


Driving through our City of Angels, I'm often tempted to stop and check out impressive-looking churches. Upon entrance, some of them turn out to be rather disappointing. Others surprise with their architecture and stained glass windows, and occasionally with their artwork. For years, I've been visiting First Congregational Church of Los Angeles near MacArthur Park. It's difficult not to be impressed with its Gothic Revival architecture, but what I particularly like is its 20,000-pipe organ, the largest organ of any church in the nation. There are regular concerts there that are attended by a number of people, including many non-believers like myself. But today, I want to talk about an art exhibition, Art & Spirit, recently installed inside of the Church's Shatto Chapel. The exhibition includes a surprising range of artworks, from etchings by Rembrandt and Dürer, to contemporary works by Ed Ruscha, Sister Corita Kent, and John Nava... Continue Reading



‘Art and Spirit’ at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles

John Seed Professor of Art and Art History, Mt. San Jacinto College


Beginning on February 27th the Shatto Chapel of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles will be displaying the works of 69 artists in a themed exhibition titled Art & Spirit “I’m so pleased to open the doors of First Church as wide as we can as we invite everyone in the city of Los Angeles to explore that fascinating intersection where Art meets the Spirit.” says First Church’s Senior Minister, Dr. R. Scott Colglazier, who, along with Joan Agajanian Quinn, first conceived the idea of Art & Spirit as a theme for the show. “Not only are we creating this opportunity for the public, but our connection with Art Division has allowed us to tap some of our city’s new artists to respond to this theme in their own unique way... Continue Reading

What Happens When You Feature Secular Art in Sacred Space

Kimberly Winston


To walk into First Congregational Church of Los Angeles on a Sunday morning is to see all the trappings of the mainline Protestant denominations pundits say are dying for lack of innovation, of relevance, of connection to the world outside church walls.


There’s the robed pastor and choir, the 20,000-pipe organ playing the expected Bach interlude, the white-draped Communion table set with silver goblets, the well-thumbed pew Bibles, and the paper church bulletin being used as a fan by a couple of overly warm parishioners.


But step into the hall next to the main sanctuary and it’s a different story. There, the church has been transformed from 1930s Gothic-style cathedral to 21st-century art gallery, with painting, etchings, photographs, drawings, collages, and prints by artists as renowned as Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Durer and as obscure as the Latino neighborhood’s young men and women, hanging side by side.


Titled “Art & Spirit,” the show features 85 works by 69 artists that showcase what is sacred to each of them. So renderings of the stations of the cross hang next to a cross composed of brain scans, and the Virgin of Guadalupe hangs above an acrylic painting of a single upholstered chair... Continue Reading

Jack Black, Patron of the Arts

L.J. Williamson


We know actor Jack Black for his "best band in the world" bluster as half of Tenacious D, and for his on-screen persona: a heavy metal pothead. But Black also happens to be a patron of the arts. Or just stuff that he thinks is cool. Black and his wife, Tanya Haden, have helped fanned the flames of small, select handful of projects including Art Division, an organization run by Dan McCleary, who teaches painting to young people in the Rampart district; and a short animated film about a hot air balloon explorer... Continue Reading

Review: Paintings reveal teacher-students dynamic at Craig Krull

Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic


Dan McCleary is one of the finest figure painters working today. Since 2010 he has also directed Art Division, an after school arts program for young adults. Now he is showing with Javier Carrillo and Emmanuel Galvez, talented former students at Art Division. Their recent paintings begin with a stylistic clarity and precision familiar from their teacher's example, while wholly transforming his precedent in distinctive ways... Continue Reading

Art Library Launched

Richard Guzmán


For years veteran Los Angeles artist Dan McCleary has been a mentor to young aspiring artists through his Art Division program, which teaches art to underserved youth. He’s also been an avid collector.  His collection includes work from masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso and it spans multiple genres, from sculpture and photography to painting and illustration. But what he’s collected isn’t hanging on the wall of some gallery or museum. Instead, it’s all neatly stacked on plain woodenartis shelves in a simple room less than a block from MacArthur Park... Continue Reading

Dan McCleary: The Mentor

John Seed Professor of Art and Art History, Mt. San Jacinto College


Veteran Los Angeles artist Dan McCleary is used to having his paintings — which exude measured clarity and a sense of calm — compared to those of Renaissance masters, especially to those of Piero della Francesca. As it turns out, McCleary is like a Renaissance artist in another way as well: he has been serving as a mentor to two young artists, Javier Carrillo and Emmanuel Galvez, whose works will be shown alongside his at the Craig Krull Gallery from March 9 through April 13. McCleary’s dedication to identifying, encouraging and educating a new generation of visual artists with traditional skills ... Continue Reading

Tapestry Adds Twist to Ronald Tutor Campus Center

 Cristy Lytal


USC’s busy master’s and Ph.D. students might see something familiar in the new “Head Spin” tapestry hanging in the Graduate Student Lounge at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. Javier Carillo’s tapestry of a hip-hop dancer spinning on his head is an image “everybody can identify with,” according to artist John Nava, who served as a mentor for the project. “Metaphorically, everybody feels like their whole lives are spent spinning on their heads trying to get things done, so it works on a double level. Probably those graduate students who are madly studying in that lounge can relate... Continue Reading


2418 West 6th Street

Los Angeles CA 90057

Mailing Address:

Art Division

PO BOX 57630

Los Angeles, CA. 90057


(213) 385-1585