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A couple of colleagues and I recently had the pleasure of traveling to sunny Los Angeles with a group of Crystal Bridges’ Guild-level Members. As a part of the Museum’s travel program, we toured some of LA’s most extraordinary private art collections in magnificent homes in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles. (Because I’ve been asked numerous times, I’ll go ahead and answer for you, too—yes, an A-list celebrity gave a tour of her home. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.)

Crystal Bridges’ Members and staff in Adonna Khare’s studio.

This immersion into the art scene in LA delighted our group, as we caught glimpses of how individuals collect and live with spectacular works of art by some of the world’s best known masters. We also enjoyed an insightful and rare view behind-the-scenes at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Yet, most of travelers proclaimed that these events were not the highlight of their week in LA.

On the last morning of our trip, we visited the quiet Burbank neighborhood of Adonna Khare. Just the day before, the LA Times had announced that Adonna was one of two LA artists who will be featured in State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition at Crystal Bridges. Don Bacigalupi, who was traveling with us, purposefully did not prepare us for what we were to experience. Similar to his and Curator Chad Alligood’s experiences as they were seeking artists for State of the Art, he wanted us to be surprised and to draw our own conclusions of Adonna’s work. Twenty jaws dropped the moment we walked into her studio.

Artist Adonna Khare shows the headline in the LA Times announcing her participation in State of the Art.

I heard a plethora of words to describe Adonna’s large-scale pencil drawings…. whimsical, mysterious, playful, intricate, gorgeous. She mesmerized us with the life story that inspires her work—drawing parallels from her life’s moments that translated to specific images on paper. Several in our group commented to me about the juxtaposition of seeing works by masters in the homes we toured and meeting a living, working artist from whom we can hear about life’s influences on her work. Adonna captured our hearts.

At the conclusion of our studio visit, one guest commented, “Adonna is so lovely. Let’s take her home with us.” I simply responded, “We already have.”

See Adonna’s work at Crystal Bridges in State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now beginning September 13, 2014.

Jill Wagar is Director of Advancement at Crystal Bridges.

Category: Artists, Behind the Scenes, Membership, State of the Art, Adonna Khare, Guild Members, Los Angeles, Member Travel Program