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The Canyon project: Artivism


The Canyon Project: Artivism

Laguna Art Museum

October 18, 2015-January 17, 2016

For thirty years, The Laguna Canyon Project examined, considered, and lobbied for the very existence of Laguna Canyon. Primarily photographic documentation, the Project functioned in turns as art and activism. It unfolded in 16 phases, the first in 1980, with the final phase culminating the project in 2010.

The Tell, the 8th and paramount phase, was a 636-foot long photographic mural, mounted in the canyon in 1989 in celebration of the Orange County Centennial and the Sesquicentennial of the discovery of photography. Erected in the Sycamore Hills area of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, it was comprised of more than 100,000 personal photographs, donated by individual contributors.

the tell

Although organized and primarily executed by artists Jerry Burchfield and Mark Chamberlain, thousands of volunteers participated. Burchfield and Chamberlain founded BC Space, the gallery and photo production studio in downtown Laguna Beach, which served as the de facto headquarters for the project.


As this public installation was located on Laguna Canyon Road—the main artery into Laguna Beach—and across this road from a proposed massive housing development, it became the focal point and catalyst for massive public demonstrations, protesting that project. The Tell ultimately served a crucial role in the preservation of Laguna Canyon.


the tell


This exhibition is curated by Mike McGee, Cal State Fullerton’s Begovich Gallery director, and director of the school’s Design/Museum Studies Program. 


The Canyon Project: Artivism will feature photography, assemblage, documents, and ephemera related to various phases of the project. 


Laguna Art Museum is at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949-494-8971.


For additional information please contact the gallery or Mark Chamberlain.


BC Space Gallery

235 Forest Avenue

Laguna Beach, CA 92651