Weston Teruya


I've been using Instagram for most updates and work-in-progress shots from the studio. Feel free to subscribe or take a look here:


It's a tremendous honor to have been selected as one of the recipients of this year's Investing in Artists grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation (.pdf link). I know the grant is extremely competitive--with hundreds of applicants from across the state--so it's wonderful to have the vote of confidence from CCI and the panelists.

The funded project will involve a partnership with Patricia Sweetow in her new retail/project space in Oakland. I'll be developing a new series of sculptures and engagements with other businesses and institutions in her surrounding neighborhood that I hope will help her build connections in her new community. I will post updates and more details as the project moves forward.

(On a grant process note, this was the third time I applied to this CCI grant category over the last 7 years and the first time I've had a successful application. Last round I got a little closer--made to to the finalist pool--but it's taken a while to hone in on something that would be an appropriate fit and have solid timing both within the arc of my work and broader artistic conversations. Looking back on my past applications, this is the first time I felt confident that I put together a decent rationale for the project. I hope I can use this as a useful example in future grant workshops as I talk to other individual artists.)


I'm very excited and honored to be a part of the Artadia's 15th Anniversary exhibition curated by Gianni Jetzer at Longhouse Projects and the NYC Fire Museum in New York.

The sculptures I created for the exhibition are based on conversations with members of New York's firefighter community. More information and images of the work here.


Courtesy of the Alameda County Arts Commission, here's a video covering the pieces I created for the Highland Hospital Acute Tower Replacement project:

I've also added photos of the drawings to the site here.


Here are some photos from the 9th Island and Other Lands event at the Asian Art Museum courtesy of Quincy Stamper:


This month I'm excited to be a part of two interesting projects: a multi-stage, cross-disciplinary exhibition at Southern Exposure and an event in the Artists Drawing Club series at the Asian Art Museum.

Reverse Rehearsals was curated by Nathan Lynch and Michele Carlson and involves seven writers and six artists working in three phases. First Terry Berlier, Julie Henson, and Patrick Gillespie created large installations that could serve as stages. Then Maria Porges, Jenene Nagy, and I worked on "props" and images to respond to and populate those sets. Finally the writers, Dodie Bellamy, Victoria Gannon, Susan Gevirtz, Kari Marboe, Pam Martin, Kyle Metzner, and Michael Swaine will develop pieces to be presented during the closing event/reading.

The Artists Drawing Club series is curated by Marc Mayer and is meant to provide a space for artists to experiment with new ideas and projects in a public venue. I'm particularly excited that 9th Island and other lands will also feature the work of Kapi'olani Lee, a great filmmaker and artist. She'll be showing her short animated film "In the Land of Po" and joining me in discussion.

I've approached my work for the two projects as the first experimental steps in a longer exploration. The event at the the Asian Art Museum gave me the chance to start the foundational research for this series. I’ve been interviewing other Hawai’i “expats”—folks who grew up in Hawai’i (or in some cases are part of the Native Hawaiian diaspora)—to find objects that represent their relationship the islands. That work is about the direct stories that people have told—recreating the specific objects and documenting narratives behind them. The pieces at Southern Exposure are a more interpretive approach to those stories and objects. But some of the specific details are either taken from the stories of others or my own associations with life away from Hawai’i.

It's been helpful to have the space in both projects to test out new ideas and work through some frustrations and dead-ends. With my last, long-running project around the Los Padrinos/Los Amigos site, I had gotten used to presenting the final stages of something that had been refined over years. At work, we often talk to artists about how it is ok to propose grant events that are work-in-progress oriented so that they have the freedom to focus most of their time on developing the creative project (rather than staging the final production). But I haven't really had the opportunity to create that kind of experimental structure for my own practice. Sometimes it takes institutions and people open to supporting risk and potential failure.

Exhibition/Event Details:

Reverse Rehearsals
Southern Exposure
May 7, 2013-June 1, 2013
closing reception: May 30, 7-10 pm

From a land of low-lying clouds (18+18), spraypaint, drawing media on paper. Cut-out wood screen installation by Julie Henson. Wall painting by Jenene Nagy.

9th Island and other lands
part of the Artists Drawing Club series
Asian Art Museum
May 23, 2013, 6:30 - 9 pm

Ku I Ka Pono t-shirt, spraypaint, drawing media on paper

C's and her son's slippers, spraypaint and pen on paper

Uncle's favorite cookbook, spraypaint and pen on paper

Segment of quilted blanket, given to Uncle by Grandma, now used to care for his grandchildren, gouache on paper


I'm excited that I've wrapped up a collaborative project with Palo Alto community members that is now installed at the Palo Alto Art Center. The piece, We can hear the city breathing, will be on view as part of the Center's reopening exhibition.

If you're in town, come by and take part in the day long activities and workshops.

Community Creates
The Palo Alto Art Center's Grand Opening Exhibition
October 6, 2012 - April 14, 2013

1313 Newell Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303


Kathy Aoki
with Jonathan Friduss, Elani Gitterman, Anne Li, Surya Brown-Foffitt, Elisa Rerolle and Emily Wong

Paz de la Calzada
with Fab Mo and community members

Mel Day & Jeanne C. Finley
with Lytton Gardens Senior Communities, Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, San Francisco Threshold Choir and Cascade Technologies

Anthony Discenza
with the Palo Alto Community

Angela Buenning Filo
with 392 community members, Canopy Girls' Middle School, Walter Hays Elementary School Green Team, and Jacqueline Hurd's 5th grade class at Addison Elementary School

Susan O'Malley
with community members in Palo Alto

Carlos Ramirez
with Center for the New Generation and Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula

Weston Teruya
with Aaron Aknin, Marie DiPasquale, Robin Ellner, Mark and Ben Erickson, Amy French, Margaret Gaynes, Hamid Ghaemmaghami, Sulwen Ma, Scott McKay, Jamila Rufaro, and Ann Vikovic

Lava Thomas
with Next Step Veterans Resource Center, North Bay Veterans Resource Center, Post Commander Shirley Butler, American Legion Post #564, Post Commander Charles O. Wallin, American Legion Post #419, Patrick Mills and Keith Noland


If you live in Palo Alto, I'll be facilitating a free, 2-part sculpture workshop in the coming weeks. We'll be working on pieces that will help shape my installation in the upcoming Community Creates exhibition at the Palo Alto Art Center.

What does the history and future of Palo Alto look like?

Saturday, June 16, noon-4 p.m.
Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Classroom D-1

Thursday, June 21, 5-8 p.m.
Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Classroom M-3

What does the history and future of Palo Alto look like? Join artist Weston Teruya in this free, two-day, sculpture-based workshop and have a hand in creating an installation reimagining the City for the Art Center’s upcoming exhibition Community Creates. On the first day of the workshop, participants will create paper sculpture replicas of objects that represent their ties to the City. The second day will focus on creating our ideal cities.

Participants are encouraged, but not required, to attend both sessions. For the first session, please bring an object (or image of an object) that represents your ties to Palo Alto. This can be something that reminds you of how you came to the City, your family’s history or brings to mind Palo Alto. All ages 10 and up are welcome.

For more information please contact the Palo Alto Art Center at artcenter@cityofpaloalto.org or 650.329.2366


I'm excited to be working on a new series of drawings that will be installed at Highland Hospital through a commission from the Alameda County Arts Commission's small-scale artwork commissioning program. This is my first opportunity to create site-responsive work that will be exhibited within that particlar site. The hospital has a rich history, interesting amalgamation of architectural styles, and diverse community, so there's a lot to draw from for the series. I'll post snippets from the project and research as the work develops.


My mind is still sorting through the compounded collection of ideas sparked by spending time at the Grantmakers in the Arts conference the past several days. I'm still in the process of sorting through my notes and figuring out the best way to utilize, share and build from all the information I gathered. The two overarching threads that ran through the conference were: 1) artists building new participatory and community building models, whether through creative community development or finding ways to build out respectful partnerships between artists and social movement folk; and 2) the changing demographics of the country, the inequities, blind spots, assets and opportunities that have arisen from that.

As I mentioned, I'm still mulling over where this information needs to be directed, but after hearing from artists like the amazing Theaster Gates, I'm struck by the ways in which artists are building upon their many roles within their community. I've often talked with my colleague and occasional collaborator Michele Carlson about what it means to have a dual-practice since we went through CCA's Fine Arts and Visual & Critical Studies programs together and she teaches and founded the current dual-degree seminar. I haven't quite found a way to articulate the way this past week's conversations have reframed the multiplicity of practice for me, but there's something there that needs to be communicated yet is also a very individualized come-to-Jesus moment. In part, it's a collection of thoughts from over the past several years that have been building off of one another. There's the dual-degree thing. It also comes from working at the Arts Commission and hearing my boss, San San Wong, talk about the Arts & Communities: Innovative Partnerships grant as being at least in part about supporting artists as creative leaders in the community, even outside of what might be legible as 'art practice'. It also ties back to what it seemed YBCA was trying to do earlier this year with the conversations leading up to BAN6, where they wanted artists to have opportunities to engage with innovators in fields outside of the arts. That broader role of artist has long been discussed in frameworks like community artist, social practitioner, artist as conceptual practitioner-slash-intentional community builder, etc. But as an artist working fairly traditionally (object-based studio practice), it has been easy to create silos. Putting language to this revelation is difficult at least in part because it's a bit of a psychological dance, finding words to ease the transitions between these different roles. But I'm putting this out there now, to ensure that it's something that doesn't just fall away.

On a somewhat different note, I'm very happy to be working with Carlos Ramirez for the upcoming Working Conditions exhibition at SoEx. Carlos will be creating a process-based installation entitled "Digital Dirt" where gallery visitors will be able to help shape the clay tiles for the sculpture or play Super Mario Brothers in the middle of the piece.

Working Conditions
November 11, 2011 - January 7, 2012

A process-based project with 9 artists selected by the SoEx Curatorial Committee:
Steven Barich
Elysa Lozano
Jennie Ottinger
Nathaniel Parsons
Carlos Ramirez
Zachary Royer Scholz
Charlene Tan
Ethan Worden
Wafaa Yasin

Opening Reception: Friday, November 11, 2011, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Closing Recaption: Friday, January 6, 2011 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 6:00 pm
Holiday Closures: November 21-27, 2011, December 19, 2011- January 2, 2012


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts asked Kai Hsing to create a series of videos investigating the work of a handful of Bay Area Now 6 artists. Here is the profile he admirably pulled together from my nervous explanations about history, ghosts and the possibilities of architectural models:

The opportunity to exhibit at YBCA has been wonderful for many reasons, but my favorite moment has been listening to the profound and frenetic creative response to my work from the brilliant writer/playwright Chinaka Hodge. As part of their Push/Play series of day-long public programs, YBCA played host to a Literary Death Match. Four writers were asked to compose original texts to be presented in the LDM's patented literary reading-turned-American Idol showdown. This time around the authors were asked to select a work in the BAN6 exhibit and spin off from there. This was what she threw down:


Just back from Atlanta for the Material Deposits install and exhibition at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center. A very heartfelt thanks to Stuart Horodner and the rest of the crew at the Contemporary for pulling together a great show and being wonderful hosts during our time there. In addition to the exhibition experience, Stuart helped to facilitate connections between the artists he brought out to Atlanta, including Mel Edwards who had a two-person exhibition at the Center at the same time. Because of this, the entire experience was immensely inspiring as well as deeply humanistic.

On a related note, I was happy to learn about fellow Material Deposits artist, Elonda Billera's curatorial project down in Los Angeles: Summercamp. She co-curates the alternative space in El Sereno with her housemates. While I haven't had the chance to visit, judging from the roster of artists they've worked with (including On the Ground artist Gaye Chan) they're doing interesting programming there.

Also since the last update, Bay Area Now 6 kicked off with a wild and well-attended event. Thank you to the friends and colleagues who braved the crowds to celebrate and check out the work.

Part of the Material Deposits exhibition installation:

Artist Talk Panel (L to R): Seana Reilly, Weston, Elonda Billera, Melvin Edwards, Brion Nuda Rosch, and curator Stuart Horodner

Opening Night of Bay Area Now 6:

BAN6 signage outside of YBCA including a signage-based alteration by Tony Labat:


Today I installed my work at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for Bay Area Now 6. Many thanks to the great installation team there for making things go so smoothly.

Here are a few preview images of the new installation debuting in the show (prior to final lighting):

Time is out of joint (or haunting the future city)
spraypaint and drawing media on paper sculpture


The very smart folks at Resonant City just posted an interview they were kind enough to hold with me. Check out the rest of their site as well. It's full of thoughtfully written critiques, reviews and essays about art, architecture and urban planning.


Bay Area Now 6 is quickly approaching so I've been in full studio production mode. Here are a couple of peeks at work-in-progress. As always, paper sculpture with spraypaint (and acrylic medium in the case of the lenses).


design by Christine Wong Yap

This Friday a show I curated at Southern Exposure will be kicking off. It's been a wonderful to work with this very smart group of artists. Right now we're in the midst of the grind of installation but it's almost here!

As others have pointed out to me, the theme of the show has recently taken on an interesting resonance because of the recent revolution in Egypt--particularly because of Taha and Malak's work in the exhibition. Taha was in the midst of things on the ground there, so the optimism of his project and its imagining of a new, thriving Cairo community is quite moving. I think that sense of hopefulness is an undercurrent to all the work in the show that I didn't necessarily anticipate when I first started planning the show, or even when I wrote the curatorial statement a few months ago. But that examination of possibility reaffirms for me the role that engaged artists play both directly and indirectly in shaping the course of cultures and communities.

On the Ground
A group exhibition curated by Weston Teruya
March 11, 2011 - April 23, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, March 11, 2011, 7 - 9 pm
Artists: Taha Belal, Gaye Chan, Sofia Cordova, Sergio De La Torre, Malak Helmy, Juan Luna-Avin, Jerome Reyes, Rene Yung

On the Ground presents new work arising from artists’ relationship to particular localities.

San Francisco. O’ahu. Cairo. The North coast of Egypt. Tijuana. Puerto Rico and its diaspora. Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey and Queretaro. The artists in On the Ground build from the specific codes and nuances of these places, creating their own narratives and gestures that begin to reveal or reimagine their communities. Whether through community engagement, historical research, musical performance or language, each artist delves into a specific facet of a site’s cultural structure. While each artist has taken his or her own approach to interpreting and dissecting a locality, all of their projects emerge from an honest reflection on the terms and textures of their respective sites. From the particularities of each community, they help to build a sense of differences and shared dynamics globally and locally.

Taha Belal presents Advertisements: a series of Arabic exhibition announcements modeled after those found in prominent art world magazines to imagine a thriving and high-profile arts scene in Cairo.

Gaye Chan’s installation, Free Grindz, extends her ongoing Eating In Public project on O’ahu by documenting the freely available edible weeds through the island.

Through her performative alter-ego, Chucha Santamaria, Sofia Cordova creates an installation and debut LP that hints at the complications of Puerto Rican diasporic identity, the history of colonialism in the region and the liberating possibilities of club music.

In a mysterious but foreboding sequence, Sergio De La Torre’s Nuevo Dragon City depicts six Chinese-Mexican youth slowly barricading themselves in an empty Tijuana storefront in an act that hints at the historic marginalization and underground survival of the Chinese community in Mexico.

Malak Helmy’s Statements from the Compound draws on both location (the North Coast of Egypt) and language, capturing the changing character of a place through a multi-stage translation into a sculptural installation.

Juan Luna-Avin’s exploration of punk music maps a chronological timeline of bands from Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey and Queretaro complemented by the deejay/selector’s interwoven mass of loving details including imagined album covers, a custom playlist and gig flyers.

Jerome Reyes excavates the ghostly histories tied to the former Mabuhay and Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco to create Flash Mab, a pair of drawings and accompanying audio piece that explore the social and political movements surrounding both spaces.

In Whereas: A Declaration of Place, Rene Yung uses the language of legal documentation to engage the neighborhood around Southern Exposure in creating collective statements of belonging and to negotiate a future together.


An interview conducted by the multi-talented Michele Carlson regarding the 2x2 Solos show just went up on Art in America. She did a remarkable job in corralling my ramblings into something coherent.


Danielle Sommer wrote a thoughtful review of my 2x2 Solos show at Pro Arts for KQED.org. I particularly enjoy her opening question, "Just how many landscapes can exist in one space at one time?" and the way it neatly summarizes so much of what has driven my inquiry for many years.


Happy New Year!

The 2x2 Solos show is up at Pro Arts. I'm excited about the new work in the exhibition. I've had some good conversations with friends about what the sculptural turn means for how I've been thinking about the ongoing series of work. I'm not sure that I have a completely statisfying answer for that question yet, but I do know that I'm very happy about delving back into specific site research and grappling with particular histories. Switching formats has been a chance to re-orient myself and perhaps find a more satisfying balance of real references and my own speculative arrangements.

I'm also very happy that the catalogue essay for the show is going to be written by the ever brilliant Shana Agid. I've been hoping to find a way to invite Shana to write about my work ever since I saw his thesis presentation at CCA's Visual Criticism(now Visual & Critical Studies) symposium.

2x2 Solos: Weston Teruya
curated by Michelle Mansour
January 25-February 25, 2011
opening reception: February 4, 2011, 6 pm
Pro Arts
150 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA (@ the Oakland Arts Gallery)

2 x 2 Solos is a series of solo exhibitions featuring new work commissioned from four accomplished emerging artists based in the Oakland/Bay Area. The program recognizes artistic excellence and supports the freedom to create challenging and noncommercial work.

- - -

Yuken Teruya was kind enough to curate me into an upcoming group show at Hiromi Yoshii Gallery in Tokyo. He is one of four curators bringing together artists from their region (Okinawa, Taiwan, Korea and China) or as the case may be, from their respective diasporas (as in my case).

Parts and Whole
March 5 - April 9, 2011
Hiromi Yoshii Gallery
Tokyo, Japan

< newer | 2011 | older >