(Editor’s Notes: I first learned of Cheri Gaulke from Dr. Cheryl Revkin, prominent local Chiropractor and President of the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce. I invited Cheryl to be interviewed for “Who’s Who in Silver Lake” and while honored, asked that I first get to know Cheri Gaulke, the artist who was selected in a recent public art competition sponsored by the Neighborhood Pride Initiative of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. I have since learned of her many amazing and important contributions to the community through her art. I know you will be excited about meeting her as well).
Cheri Gaulke has made a significant impact on our world through her art which by design raises “consciousness, invites dialogue, and transforms culture”. She recently won a local competition sponsored by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Pride Initiative to develop a series of permanent medallions to be hung at major entrances to Silver Lake that “celebrate Silver Lake’s Traditions of Diversity, Innovation & Harmony;”
a cause that reflects and defines the artist herself.
Gaulke’s art and life were profoundly changed in 1975, when she moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles to be involved with the Feminist Studio Workshop at the Woman’s Building. She worked primarily in performance art from 1974-1992, addressing themes such as religion, sexual identity, and the environment. She also co-founded collaborative performance groups Feminist Art Workers (1976-81), which merged feminist art and education techniques into interactive performances; and Sisters of Survival (1981-85) which wore nun’s habits in the spectrum of the rainbow and presented their anti-nuclear performances in Europe and the U.S.
Gaulke’s earlier feminist art strategies that she innovated in the ‘70s have continued in her work today. She sees her work as a vehicle for social commentary and as a way of telling stories of the under-represented in society, embracing a variety of media including video presentations, installation, artist’s books and public art. She has completed three public art projects including a Metro Rail Station in Los Angeles that tells stories about the Los Angeles River, an outdoor sculptural piece for a library in Lake View Terrace, and three stainless steel and glass glowing “pillars of community” for the City of Lakewood. Her current projects include the Street Medallions for Silver Lake, a Filipino World War II Veterans Memorial (at Lake Street Park in Historic Filipinotown) and designs for three bridges over the Los Angeles River. She was honored with a prestigious mid-career fellowship from the Cultural Affairs Department (COLA grant) in 2004-05.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1954, Cheri lives in Silver Lake with her life partner, Sue Maberry, and their twin daughters, Marka and Xochi, in their duplex home/studio on Lake View Avenue. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Minneapolis College of Art & Design and a Master of Arts Degree in Feminist Art & Education from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. She teaches Video Art at Harvard-Westlake School, a private high school in Los Angeles where her students have created award-winning work.