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'Valley Vista' art exhibit argues the Valley is no 'cultural wasteland'

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Mention "the Valley" and for many, what comes to mind is suburban sprawl, fast-food joints, mini-malls. Vibrant art scene is not exactly what most people associate with the San Fernando region.

Mention the "the Valley" and, for many, what comes to mind is suburban sprawl, fast-food joints, mini-malls, and "Valley girls."

A vibrant art scene? Not so much.

That all may change thanks to a new book and art exhibit titled "Valley Vista: Art in the San Fernando Valley, ca. 1970-1990" from art historian and Loyola Marymount University associate professor Damon Willick.

In the book, Willick argues that artists in the San Fernando Valley made important contributions to Los Angeles's art history. And the fact that the artists were overlooked for so long, he explains, actually allowed them more freedom to express themselves in innovative ways.

"That freedom that a lot of the Valley artist describe," he says "is the same freedom that Los Angeles in general has always had for artists. This isn't Manhattan where you have all the artists living in the same neighborhood, they have to go far and wide to find each other. But that freedom and space allows them to experiment, to not follow dogma and trends, and to create really remarkable works of art."

The "Valley Vista" exhibition runs through October 11 at California State University, Northridge.

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