Chouinard school to host conversations with artists

Times Staff Writer

The fledgling Chouinard Foundation School of Art in South Pasadena will launch a visiting artists series this weekend with appearances by Larry Bell and Ed Bereal. The program will be the first public event at the school, under construction in a historic two-story building at 1020 Mission St.

Bell and Bereal -- alumni of the school's predecessor, Chouinard Art Institute, which closed in central Los Angeles in 1972 and evolved into CalArts in Valencia -- will conduct what they describe as a freewheeling conversation about creativity and artistic integrity tonight at 8. They will teach a master class Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

The weekend program is part of a five-year effort to re-create Chouinard that began when artist and contractor Dave Tourje bought a fixer-upper in South Pasadena and discovered that it had been the home of the original school's founder, Nelbert Chouinard.

Tourje had no connection to the school but became fascinated with it and obtained the support of painter Robert Perine, a Chouinard alumnus who chronicled the school's history in a 1985 book. They established the Chouinard Foundation in 1999, then organized an alumni exhibition, held a benefit art auction and leased the Mission Street building.

Renovation of the 16,000-square-foot structure is about two-thirds complete, Tourje says. Meanwhile, the school's first 63 students are taking classes in drawing, design and color theory at the unfinished facility.

Tickets to the artists' conversation, "Bell and Bereal in Dialog," cost $10. Tuition for the master class is $50. Information: (323) 982-1773 or

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