The annual event first began in 2005, organized by a group of CSULB grad students as a response to another Los Angeles master’s student exhibition called Supersonic. The Supersonic exhibition collected and exhibited grad student work from art programs out of private schools and the University of California system. Cal State programs were not invited to submit work, according to the GLAMFA curators.
“If you’re not invited to the party, you throw your own,” said McLean Fahnestock, curator and a CSULB grad student.
A group of eight CSULB grad students spent the months between January and June 2008 evaluating more than 140 student submissions, visiting 12 open student galleries in the greater Los Angeles area to evaluate the works.
“It’s a long process and it’s been getting bigger every year,” said Christen Sperry-Garcia, a CSULB grad student and curator.
Works in the final GLAMFA roster come from 13 universities and art colleges from as far north as UC Santa Barbara, as far south as UC San Diego and as far east as University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“It’s not about representing each school,” Sperry-Garcia said. “We look at [the quality of the] work before where it’s from.”
According to Fahnestock, the Supersonic show fell apart right before last year’s GLAMFA show, leaving the pool of students gathering at CSULB as “the only group in town that offers a large survey of MFA works.”
“The ante has been upped quite a bit since the first show,” Sperry-Garcia said. “Every year has been built upon the last,” and the result has been a growing community response.
Jay Kvapil, associate dean of CSULB College of the Arts said in an e-mail that GLAMFA and the concurrent Open Studios exhibit are “immeasurably important” to CSULB, because it places the university “at the center of the many graduate programs in the Southern California region.”
GLAMFA held its grand opening Sept. 7, concurrently with the Open Studios exhibit showcasing the work of CSULB master’s of fine arts students, and will end Wednesday, Sept. 10.