The 40 Acres Art Gallery in Oak Park
A spokesman for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says the mayor will do everything he can to keep a vibrant art scene in Oak Park after the head of a gallery founded by the mayor resigned this week, citing Johnson’s "personal behavior and actions."
When Kevin Johnson needed someone to run his St. HOPE non-profit’s new art gallery in Oak Park, he turned to Kim Curry-Evans – someone he knew from his NBA days in Phoenix. And ever since the 40 Acres Art Gallery opened in 2003, Curry-Evans has been its heart and soul. Rhyena Halpern with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, or SMAC, says Curry-Evans has done amazing work.
Halpern: “She had this really strong model for it, a museum model. She put together these exhibits that were so crisp and tight in terms of the way they’re hung, the literature that went with them, but most importantly, the content.”
Associates of Curry-Evans and Johnson say they were extremely close. But recently, something went wrong – a personal dispute, Johnson’s spokesman says. And this week, Curry-Evans said she’ll leave the art gallery in December, saying Johnson’s “personal behavior and actions” made her unable to continue working for St. HOPE. She also resigned from the SMAC board, where she served as vice chair. She said the mayor’s new arts initiative would place her in an “uncomfortable position” if she stayed.
As for the future of 40 Acres? That’s up to St. HOPE officials, who say they’ll try to keep the gallery open.
Kim Curry-Evans's resignation email to the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission board, which includes her resignation letter to the St. HOPE Academy:
Hello SMAC staff and Commissioners -
As long-time supporters of the 40 Acres Art Gallery, and as the one organization in Sacramento with which I have maintained ties since my first day here, wanted to make sure you were aware of something that has recently occurred. The following statement has been distributed to St. HOPE's board.
I will also not be able to continue on as a commissioner with SMAC, effective immediately. There is much that I must do and consider as I move forward with the next chapter in my life, and SMAC's work with the city, particularly in light of Kevin's arts initiative, places me in an uncomfortable position.
I appreciate your understanding.
"I have recently received information regarding St. HOPE founder Kevin Johnson's personal behavior and actions that make me unable to continue working for St. HOPE. I have pursued St. HOPE's and the 40 Acres Art Gallery's missions with passion but I cannot continue that passion given my new knowledge.
As a result, the 40 Acres Art Gallery will close its doors on December 23, 2009. This date coincides with the closure of the exhibit, Amazing Wonders: Quilts by African Americans in the Northern California Region. I am duty-bound to continue my work on this monumental and important project and to honor my commitments to the staff, artists, lenders, students, and sponsors involved in the exhibition.
I am very proud of the seven years that I have contributed to Oak Park and Sacramento and pleased to have affected so many lives. Knowing that this region's art landscape has been forever transformed as a result of 40 Acres' exhibitions, educational programming and outreach, also gives me great pride and I trust that the arts will continue to flourish in the region."
40 Acres Art Gallery