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Kate Johnson, "CTG 50th" (2017), LA City Hall & Grand Park, 27-story tall digital projection on LA’s City Hall and accompanying multi-channel video and sound installation throughout Grand Park, commissioned by LA County in commemoration of the Center Theater Group’s 50th anniversary. Concept, Producer, Director, Animation, Photography and Staging by Kate Johnson.

You can sense that Kate Johnson was one of those people who left her mark on whatever she touched. The Los Angeles-based multi-media artist and educator was always finding ways to expand her creative reach, involving herself in all aspects of her films and video artworks, from writing scripts and soundtracks and even computer code. She became known for her gorgeous, large-scale projections on buildings, from LA City Hall to the Getty Center, and in 2014 Johnson won an Emmy for her documentary on the Croatian ballerina Mia Slavenska. Over the course of her 27-year career, Johnson impacted the lives of many students (she taught at the Otis College of Art & Design), as well as the performance artists with whom she collaborated. On Saturday, March 20, some of these individuals will remember Johnson, who passed away from cancer one year ago.

EVERYONE WAS INVITED: The Hyphenate Art and Life of Kate Johnson will be an epic virtual evening of performances and short screenings hosted by 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, where Johnson was an artist-in-residence for 20 years. The special lineup includes the legendary feminist performance artist Barbara T. Smith, who became close friends with Johnson after working with her on various video projects.

“So many artistic marriages emerged from her fingers and vision on that keyboard,” actor and spoken word artist S. Pearl Sharp told Hyperallergic. “No divorces! She was, and remains, a one-of-a-kind spirit.” On Saturday, Sharp will read one of Johnson’s poems, as well as a piece Johnson wrote about cancer. Other performances will include an original piece composed by pianist Mike Garson and a “performance rant” by Michael J. Masucci, the chair of the Santa Monica Arts Commission and Johnson’s partner in life and art.

EVERYONE WAS INVITED promises a heartfelt celebration and opportunity to get to know this under-sung yet influential artist.

When: Saturday, March 20, 5pm (PST)
Where: online at 18th Street Arts Center

More info at 18th Street Arts Center

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Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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