Written by Kristen Schweizer
August 31, 2021
Andrea ‘Angie C’ Chandler is a fire-starter; a self-lit woman committed to illuminating historically excluded art and artists. Like a campfire, Chandler’s energy both draws people together and drives away the darkness. Based on her arts resume in San Diego, it scarcely seems possible that she only arrived in the city in January 2020.
While a relatively new gal in town, Chandler wrote an op-ed published in The Union Tribune as a response to the paper releasing its 2020 artists’ reflection, which featured no Black, Indigenous, or Southeast Asian voices. Despite the modern-day popularity of digital discourse, the reality of initiating difficult conversations – especially with established institutions – is no laughing matter.
In June 2021, she dropped Part One of a months-long Cultural Mapping San Diego project conceived to assess the offerings and needs of San Diego’s Black, Indigenous, Southeast Asian, and MENA arts and culture practitioners and organizations.
While her consultant title is ‘Cultural Arts Strategist,’ it hardly encompasses the pioneering work she initiates throughout the city. Chandler currently serves as the Audience and Engagement Specialist at Balboa Arts Conservation Center alongside board appointments at San Diego Mesa College Worlds Arts Collection Council and Charlotte Center for Literacy, as well as the advisory board of the Visual Arts Program at the San Diego Public Library. She has been a guest on The Old Globe’s WordUp, an art and activism performance series. She currently is a program director for the grant-funded Counter Surveillance Project at The AjA Project. This three-year project is funded by the California Arts Council Innovations and Intersections Grant. Her hands-on attitude means that she can speak directly to the difficulties facing arts organizations and artists today. When COVID-19 shuttered and shuddered the city’s arts industry, Chandler made ends meet with an admin job for the City of San Diego’s vaccine clinics.
The currently un-monetized #CulturalMappingSD project is taking submissions for Part II. She knows the importance of a good team with a shared vision, speaking highly of the help she has received on it. She also praises her current team at the Balboa Arts Conservation Center.
Rather than just surviving an unexpected first year, Angie C. has kept her heel on the gas pedal and San Diego is better for it.
Follow Angie on Instagram: @theartlovingaries
CLICK HERE to Learn more/Submit to Cultural Mapping San Diego
(All photos courtesy of the artist)