‘Centered on the Center’ celebrates art in Huntington Beach

Adeola Davies-Aiyeloja is shown with her "Mother Earth, She Wears her Golden Crown" totem at Huntington Beach Art Center.
The Huntington Beach Art Center’s “Centered on the Center” exhibition features 200 artists, including Adeola Davies-Aiyeloja with her “Mother Earth, She Wears her Golden Crown” totem shown above.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Adeola Davies-Aiyeloja might live in Loma Linda, but the Huntington Beach Art Center is starting to feel like home for the multidiscipinary artist.

Davies-Aiyeloja has two pieces — a large sculpture and a wall piece — on display at the art center’s largest exhibition of the year, “Centered on the Center.”

The show held its opening reception in late January and runs until March 16.

Plenty of Surf City locals are also entered in the non-juried, open call show, which allows for two pieces per artist and features about 200 local, regional and national artists in total.

"Centered on the Center" features work from fine art photographer Dan Meylor.
“Centered on the Center” features work from fine art photographer Dan Meylor, with his “All in a Summer’s Day” shown at left.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Davies-Aiyeloja, who has a home studio and also works at the Makery in downtown Los Angeles, created the totem that greets visitors near the exhibition’s entrance. It’s called “Mother Earth, She Wears Her Golden Crown.” The bottom part features a globe, which she said is symbolic for the quest for world peace.

She created her other piece, “Golden Elegance,” when she was selected to participate in the Los Angeles Lakers’ “In the Paint” program last year.

“‘Centered on the Center’ has been a very impressive show, because it allows a lot of artists to be able to participate,” Davies-Aiyeloja said. “Even though it’s a salon style, it’s still well-put together. The staff do a wonderful job of curating the show. I was really impressed with the groupings this year. That’s hard to do when it’s an open call.”

Dan Meylor, 84, has been on the Huntington Beach Art Center Artist Council for more than a decade now. The Westminster photographer formerly documented homeless people in Los Angeles for several years, and his craft and the art center have helped him find solace after his late wife passed away. In 2016, his work was part of an art center exhibition called “Time Lines,” showing the various definitions of aging.

A whimsical art piece is featured at "Centered on the Center."
A whimsical art piece is featured at “Centered on the Center.”
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

He has seen the Artist Council grow from about 75 people when he joined to 209 current active members. So too has the “Centered on the Center” blossomed since it began in 1996.

Meylor also has two pieces in this year’s exhibition.

“It’s a major show for the art museum,” he said. “I think the quality of the work has really risen. It’s much more expansive and diverse, with so many interesting expressions from different cultures. It’s a real treasure for the city of Huntington Beach.”

Fine art photographer Dan Meylor poses with some of the artwork in the "Centered on the Center" exhibition.
Fine art photographer Dan Meylor poses with some of the artwork in the “Centered on the Center” exhibition.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach City Councilwoman Natalie Moser feels the same way. Moser, also a photographer, hosted the opening reception for this year’s “Centered on the Center.”

She said she plans to enter a piece in the annual “Inspired” exhibition, coming to the Huntington Beach Art Museum this fall.

“If you think about it, you have all of these individual artists who are maybe not working in isolation but working in their own space,” Moser said. “All of a sudden, you have this show and it brings all of them together, all of this art and ideas and expression together in one place. They get to show their art and see each other’s art and share that with their family and friends, especially on the opening night.

“It’s just a really great opportunity for the community to come together, for artists to come together and for all of them to be able to share their ideas and the way they see the world, or whatever their subject is. As a photographer and artist myself, it’s really cool to be a part of a Huntington Beach community that celebrates such diversity and creativity.”

Wendy Soto Garcia's "Zombie Bob" is featured in the "Centered on the Center" exhibition.
Wendy Soto Garcia’s “Zombie Bob” is featured in the “Centered on the Center” exhibition at the Huntington Beach Art Center.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Davies-Aiyeloja, in her second year participating, said she appreciates the opportunity to showcase her work.

“Even though it’s once a year, it also creates that longing to look forward to the show every year,” she said. “My participation last year put it on my radar, put it on my calendar. Even if I don’t get any notice from them, I go out searching for the notice.”

Admission to the “Centered on the Center” community exhibition is free, and the event is open to the public. For more information, contact the Huntington Beach Art Center at (714) 374-1650 or email

"Centered on the Center" includes Veronica Preciados' Mexican wrestling mask "Zacatecas."
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)