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Bakery Art Exhibitions was a non-profit visual art exhibition program in the Culver City Arts District. Paintings, drawings, prints, collages and photographs were exhibited in the gallery and music performance space of The Jazz Bakery from 1999 to 2009. BAE exhibited emerging artists, art related to jazz history and performance, exhibitions related to art education and visiting international artists. Since the Jazz Bakery lost its lease in the Helms Buliding in 2009, Bakery Art Exhibitions has been without a permanent gallery facility. This site contains an exhibition history and image archive.

© 2007 Joel H. Mark The Jazz Bakery

The Jazz Bakery, a Los Angeles jazz space, moved into the historic Helms Bakery Building in 1993. Singer Ruth Price, founded the non-profit music venue which earned an international reputation. For sixteen years the LA institution occupied a small chunk of what was formerly a commercial bakery built in1930. A fine example of the "zig-zag moderne" style, the exterior facade was preserved while the interior was rebuilt as a listening room and a lobby with cafe and art gallery. William Claxton was its first curator. In addition to world-class jazz, the Jazz Bakery brought visual art to an area that, since 2004, has become the Culver City Arts District, home to over forty galleries.

Joseph De Mario became Visual Art Curator in August 1999. The artist, curator and MFA graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, greatly expanded the Jazz Bakery's commitment to the visual arts. He founded and directed BAE, Bakery Art Exhibitions, a program that continued until May 2009 when the Jazz Bakery ceased its operations in the Helms complex.

In the Music Room and Lobby Gallery, art by emerging and mid-career artists was on view throughout the year in BAE produced exhibitions. Appropriately, jazz history and its representation was a focus, but the curatorial emphasis was primarily on the presentation of contemporary art. At the Jazz Bakery, visual art coexisted with or was in dialogue with the music, but always respected as an autonomous mode of expression.

In addition to being an exhibition space, BAE was a career development program. The curator's schedule included frequent studio visits with emerging artists to develop concepts for exhibitions. Dialogues continued for months and sometimes years before exhibition opportunities were realized. As an artist's career and work progressed, many returned to exhibit again as part of a continuing dialogue.

BAE supported art education as part of its mission. Exhibiting artists like San Francisco photographer Michele Clement, Los Angeles graphic designer and photographer Ave Pildas and Oakland collage artist Robert Bagnasco Murray were among the visiting artists. They talked about their careers, their gallery exhibitions and reviewed portfolios during Saturday artist talks with college students.

BAE grew over a ten-year period into the most extensive art exhibition program associated with a jazz venue anywhere. International in scope, BAE showed work by foreign artists from Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Poland and Uruguay, as well as from every region of the United States.