Huntington Beach Art Center prepares for ‘Centered on the Center’

Preparator Eamonn Swiftfox goes over his notes as he hangs up art pieces in preparation for Centered on the Center.
Preparator Eamonn Swiftfox goes over his notes as he hangs up art pieces in preparation for the Huntington Beach Art Center’s biggest community-oriented show, Centered on the Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Carol Calkins got into photography as a hobby when she retired.

The Fountain Valley resident joined the Photographic Society of Orange County, which helped her fine-tune her skills. She enjoys taking pictures down at the Huntington Beach Pier or the Bolsa Chica Wetlands.

“My first photo I did was very small, and I only charged $65 for it because I was nervous about even putting that price on it,” she said with a laugh. “And it sold, which was amazing to me. I was thrilled.”

This past year, Calkins attended a Volkswagen van show at the pier and saw an older couple sitting relaxed in front of their van. She asked if she could take their picture, and they agreed.

"The Good Life," by local photographer Carol Calkins, is one if the art pieces entered in "Centered on the Center."
(Courtesy of Carol Calkins)

“It kind of reminded me of the hippies of the ’60s, but the beach lifestyle, that’s for sure,” she said.

The resulting photo, titled “The Good Life,” is one of hundreds of pieces of art that will be on display at the Huntington Beach Art Center’s annual show known as “Centered on the Center.”

The exhibition will have a public opening reception on Saturday evening, Jan. 28, and run through March 11.

“It’s our annual biggest community-oriented show,” Huntington Beach Art Center executive director Kate Hoffman said. “Anybody who would like to submit work for the show merely pays a $20 entry fee for one piece or $30 for two pieces.”

The non-juried show, which Hoffman said will feature about 350 pieces, is eclectic. There are several different mediums including photography, acrylic paintings and sculptures.

"Centered on the Center" features art pieces in a variety of mediums.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

They will be displayed wall to wall and floor to ceiling, salon style, in the Art Center’s 3,000-square-foot galleries, along with a virtual display on its website.

“That’s what makes the show so interesting, the variety,” Hoffman said. “And the fact that since they’re limited to two pieces, there’s no way that one piece of art or one artist dominates the show at all. It’s really very, very fun to see the kind of variety that comes through.”

“Centered on the Center” will also feature the annual “Art for Lunch” day on Feb. 16. Visitors are invited to bring a sack lunch into the galleries on that day to learn more and enjoy the exhibition with HBAC staff. Participating artists also are invited to come share more about individual works and processes.

The Huntington Beach Art Center's "Centered on the Center" will have an opening reception the night of Jan. 28.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Calkins said the opening reception typically has an excellent turnout.

“It’s wall-to-wall people,” she said. “Usually I have to go back during the week, just to walk around and really look at things.”

The Huntington Beach Art Center is located at 538 Main St., Huntington Beach. Hours and additional information can be found on its website,

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.