A new art exhibition launches this week in the East Village, and we were lucky enough to pin down curator Mark Murphy for a Q&A session about the project. Survey Select, opening at the Wonderbread Factory on July 16, will introduce the public to 55 artists from around the world in one gallery, plus offer an eight week art enrichment program that includes hands-on-workshops, demonstrations, films, live performances and networking receptions. Murphy describes the exhibition as "history in the making," and it's available to everyone in San Diego--free of charge--Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-5pm from July 15-September 5, 1400 Imperial Avenue (14th and Imperial next to Petco Park).


SDM: Tell our readers about Survey Select. It is different than a typical art show or museum exhibition, right?

Mark Murphy: Survey Select is a narrative art exhibition that takes place in the heart of downtown San Diego from July 15-September 5 and presents over 100 fine art works by 55 artists from around the world. Survey Select is one part museum exhibition, one part live performance venue and one part art enrichment program.

SDM : What kinds of art will be on display?

The art on display is vibrant and a mix of large and smaller works. The application of the art is diverse and eclectic, presenting figurative, abstract and urban inspired works. Each canvas is densely covered, presenting you to Narrative Art or work that celebrates visual storytelling. I think many people will make a return trip to Survey Select to take it all in.

SDM: How long has this exhibition been in the works, and what was your original inspiration?

MM: Survey Select has been in the works for seven months and will take place over the next eight weeks. The inspiration of my life’s work is to archive living artists, introduce the public to innovation in the arts and to actively create opportunities that celebrate the arts. You have to dream the impossible, invite the community to participate and make these dreams possible. Thousands of volunteer hours have been spent by nearly one hundred people involved in this event. Pretty amazing.

SDM: What was involved in curating the show? Was there a lot of artist-wrangling involved?

MM: Working with artists is an honor that takes months of advanced planning and follow through. Survey Select invited 100 artists back in January of this year to create original artwork celebrating visual story telling or narrative art. The artists selected represent a diverse age range from 18 to 75 with unique cultural backgrounds and eclectic artistic styles. With everyone facing the pressures of daily schedule 55 artists created over 100 original artworks for the show.

SDM: Talk about the Wonder Bread Factory. Do you view the location as adding to the show?

MM: The Wonder Bread Factory is an open space with dramatic vaulted ceilings and has been completely transformed into a conceptual exhibition space. Bells and Whistles created one-of-a-kind furniture, entry wall and donation box that is sure to impress. Collaborating with Bells and Whistles has been a fruitful experience as they embody innovation and artistic eye. The location is about access, and with the space running itself like a museum six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday with a full schedule of nightly events, I believe it is an essential space for the community to enjoy.

SDM: Who or what else are you watching in the local San Diego Art Scene right now? What makes Survey Select standout?

MM: San Diego is beginning to mature, and there is great history in our region. From Picasso to Robert Irwin, there are many artists who chose San Diego as their home for inspiration. The secret to a thriving art scene is to educate the public about supporting the arts, bringing together artists, collectors and advocates of culture. 

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