Llisa Demetrios, an Eames Legacy

Opens: TBD  |  Closes: TBD

Welcome to a series of person-to-person interviews about the people at the Petaluma Arts Center who make the art, make the phone calls, create the brochures, hang the work.  The people who donate the money, choose the art. It is people who work the magic.
photography: © jude mooney, 2018
Home for Llisa Demetrios is a rambling west Petaluma property and studio, filled with the energy of she and her husband’s lively young family and their recent addition of a rescue puppy. It’s a rustic, unassuming sort of place ideally suited for an accomplished third generation artist to live, work and play.

Only Llisa’s passion for the arts, design, history and family extends far beyond the peace and privacy of the southern edge of the Sonoma County border. There is much to learn from the Bay-Area-raised, Yale educated, bronze sculptor and mother-of-two, whose highly collectible bronze sculptures grace contemplative retreats, indoors and outdoors, in homes and private gardens and also in corporate spaces around the country.

As curator for Power of Ten: Scaling Up, the highly anticipated, inaugural 2018 exhibition of the Petaluma Arts Center,  where she also serves as a board member, Llisa is a grounded and quietly dynamic force. The artist’s unique, creative vision, energy and positive drive is no doubt derived in part from genes, in part from spending quality time as a child with her maternal grandparents, iconic American 20th Century designers, the late Ray and Charles Eames.

A board member of the Eames Foundation, created to preserve and further the legacy of her grandparents, Llisa preserves her family legacy as archivist and registrar of the Eames Collection. She travels frequently, within the U.S and abroad in her staging of various Eames exhibits.

An enthusiastic and warmly welcomed recent addition to PAC’s board exhibition committee, Llisa was excited to hear that there was a time slot available for the center’s 10th anniversary exhibit. The Eames’ 1977 film Powers of Ten, exploring the connection of how the smallest and largest of known things in the universe are connected, resonated with the committee as it contemplated how best to launch into the art center’s second decade.

“I’ve led many Powers of Ten workshops for all age groups over the years,” says Llisa, who began her archiving career at the German-American modernist architect Mies van der Rohe Archive at MoMA in New York. She emphasizes the significance of outreach for the arts center as it extends its impact on the community outside of the center itself. “Programs such as the Art Bus, Idea Lounge, school tours and Visual Thinking Strategies are of equal importance to exhibits within the center’s walls.”

With Llisa at the helm, the exhibition team reached out to ten artists within the community at large, looking further and more deeply at matters of scale through painting, photography, sculpture, architecture, design and film.

“These artists explore how issues of scale shape how we source materials, select foods, conserve resources, build homes and protect the environment,” Llisa explains.

She is one of five Eames grandchildren, her late mother, Lucia Eames, only child of Charles and stepdaughter to Ray, created the Eames Foundation. Lucia was a sculptor and worked alongside her daughter in their rural studio for years.

“I see a new decade for the arts center as a tipping point to scale up, an opportunity to listen and see what the needs are for the arts in our community, in all their forms,” Llisa shares.

“It feels fantastic to be working in the city I’ve called home for 25 years, she says. “It is such a pleasure to reach out beyond the center itself. We need to make better choices, become better citizens, it’s about the people, building stronger community relationships, especially after the fires.”

Behind the Frame is a monthly look at the men and women who make the wheels of the Petaluma Art Center turn as beautifully as they do. From artists to curators and volunteers, from donors to administrators and board members, we will shine a light each month on an individual without whom the Petaluma Arts Center would not be the extraordinary community resource that it is today.

Special thanks to Frances Rivetti for text, Jude Mooney for photography and Elaine Silver for creative guidance.

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