Any description of the city of Monterey's visual arts scene should include the Monterey Museum of Art, with its two beautiful buildings, vast collection of art and objects, its busy event programming and influential exhibitions. The Museum of Monterey is retooling its identity (Mark Baer has stepped down as executive director), but it's been a major showcase of art.
Other art spots include the city's own Alvarado Gallery, which must get herds of foot traffic in its Monterey Conference Center location. Green Chalk on Lighthouse has been keeping the contemporary art flame alive. The-Contemporary got off to a hot start but seems to have simmered, but there's Youth Arts Collective in downtown and Venture Gallery in the Marriott. There's Z Folio Gallery, Thomas Kinkade Gallery (more on that later) and the Monterey Peninsula Art Foundation, all on Cannery Row; and Levin Gallery and Willem Photographic (home to a vast collection of fashion photography) on Calle Principal. Bet you didn't know there's a jam-packed art gallery at the Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater.
The point is, any description of Monterey's visual arts can be rich and packed like sardine. So what's with the "Visual Arts" portion of Monterey's Wikipedia entry? Here it was, as of this month, in its entirety, as it existed perhaps for three years:
Monterey is also the home of the Monterey Museum of Art. Also, the Thomas Kinkade National Archive was founded in 1994 and is located within the Harry A. Greene Mansion at 361 Lighthouse Avenue. Kinkade originals have been limited in availability since 1997, however the museum does display many of the artist's earlier work and on rare occasions and at the discretion of the artist, more contemporary works. All works in the Archive are original Kinkade works of art. The mansion is Moorish-Victorian style and has been restored to its original 1886 condition. Monterey is also the site of numerous waterfront arts and crafts festivals held in the Custom House Plaza at the top of Fisherman's Wharf.
The write-up gives MMA one line, an askew glance on its way to slathering over the Thomas Kinkade National Archive, which has name brand recognition, but it also hasn't existed for three years, according to Rick Barnett. He's the owner of the Masters of Light Gallery, which is located where the Archive used to be.
Kim Perata, the owner of the only authorized dealer of Thomas Kinkade art in Monterey, thinks the Wikipedia write-up, with its omissions and skewed coverage, still serves to bring people to the location where Masters of Light Gallery resides.
"[Rick] was the marketing genius behind Thomas Kinkade," she says. "You don't argue with a genius." Barnett was a longtime friend of Kinkade and did marketing for the "painter of light" as part of the Media Arts Group. But he says he did not write Monterey's "Visual Arts" Wikipedia entry, that he wasn't even aware of it, and that the Archive exists more as a body of work than a physical location. Which doesn't stop people from coming to Masters of Light Gallery looking for it, though his gallery isn't open for regular hours right now.
"Sure, some people come here because of the location," he says.
But if those people are looking for Kinkade work (Barnett carries work by three artists, but no Kinkades), he sends them to the authorized art dealers in Carmel or Cannery Row.
"When people go [to Masters of Light Gallery] looking for Kinkade, he points down the hill [to my gallery]," Perata says. "When they're looking for other [artists], I can point up the hill. We're two blocks away from each other."
As to the erroneous Wikipedia write-up, Perata says, "I don't have anything to do with it." Barnett says, "I have no experience in how to change or add to Wikipedia."
Charlotte Eyerman, executive director of Monterey Museum of Art, responded: "We conferred with our social media expert on staff. He reports: Wikipedia stipulates 3rd party content changes. It would be a conflict of interest for MMA to make updates to pages that concern the Museum. Indeed it should be updated."
The response from Arlene Krebs, Monterey History and Art Association board member, writing for the Museum of Monterey: "Thank you for the 'heads up' that MoM was not included. Neither is the Arts Council nor dozens of other significant arts-related venues (as PG Art Center for example) and yes Kinkade is very outdated-it doesn't exist. Question: Are you Walter going to update the entry or do you want us to?"
Theoretically, I could have done it. Maybe as a community service? As an entry point for, potentially, many-upon-many people to get acquainted with Monterey's visual arts landscape, Wikipedia is a clearinghouse for information. The entry should have been updated. But someone has already gotten to it. There were two updates on Aug. 5, the latter of which read:
Monterey is also the home of the Monterey Museum of Art. Within the Lighthouse and Cannery Row districts, the Thomas Kinkade National Archive originally founded in 1994 was located within the Harry A. Greene Mansion at 361 Lighthouse Avenue. The mansion is Moorish-Victorian style and has been restored to its original 1886 condition and currently presents (since 2011) The Masters of Light Gallery, exhibiting Robert Lyn Nelson, Simon Bull and Howard Behrens which is open to the public by appointment (www.mastersoflightgallery.com). Monterey is also the site of numerous waterfront arts and crafts festivals held in the Custom House Plaza at the top of Fisherman's Wharf.
[Aug. 14 update: A Wikipedia editor didn't think it was better. On Aug. 10 he further edited the entry, citing this article—in classic meta fashion—as a source: Monterey is the home of the Monterey Museum of Art and the Museum of Monterey. There are many commercial galleries located on Cannery Row and Calle Principal. Monterey is also the site of numerous waterfront arts and crafts festivals held in the Custom House Plaza at the top of Fisherman's Wharf.]