Sacramento Art History Consortium’s Featured Artist: Linda Gelfman

by Bree Garcia

LG: Linda Gelfman has enjoyed a 35 year romance with clay.  She is the highly popular and much acclaimed ceramics professor at American River College where her ceramic mural classes have colorfully decorated campus walls.  Linda’s figurative sculptures combine heads, faces, and body parts in often humorous and incongruous ways which create profound psychological and spiritual insights.  Her most recent work incorporates fabric and yarn into these ongoing tableaus.  Linda is a founding member of Sacramento’s E Street Gallery and Studios.

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SAHC: Can you give us a brief description of your creative process? What is your preferred medium and style?

 LG: I go into the studio and I make things. I obsessively make things. I feel like I am wasting my time unless I am creating something out of whatever material is in my hands. I think about my life, my family, my friends, and the world, then out it comes; some emotion, thought, or idea challenging me to bring up its form into the physical world, communicating to whoever will listen, look, and experience.

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SAHC: As a Sacramento artist what responsibilities do you believe that you have to the local and the global community?

 LG: I am an arts educator. I teach, mainly ceramics, to students all across the board. My responsibility, as I see it, is to teach them how to access the creativity within them. I teach them how to experience and appreciate all of the arts. I help them gain confidence in themselves through the creative process to access their voice. It is all about communication and compassion. I believe that when you tap into both your spreading the word of Art and community. Showing people how to connect globally.

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SAHC: What advice do you have for emerging artists, or those pursuing a career in the arts?

LG: Follow your passion and do not let anything or anyone get in your way. Be selfish and work your ass off every day.  You are not going to get there unless you work hard, keep challenging yourself, try new things and keep an open mind. Don’t get discouraged it takes time. Look at and experience all different styles of art and life and be inspired. And know it’s not about the money.

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SAHC: Who are some of your favorite Sacramento Artists, and why?

LG: My studio mate Larry Love-he constantly inspires me with all the work he does and has been inspiring me for 25 years.  My husband, Thomas Powell-recently transplanted here from New Mexico, blows my mind how he puts different media together to create his sculptures and paintings. I have never met a painting by Joy Bertinuson and Pat Wood that hasn’t completely touched and awed me.  Jodie Hooker is the best photographer in town especially with her alternative processes. Matt Rhoades’ paintings are so lush and colorful…all the artists at E Street Gallery and Studio are just amazing. The Art Faculty at American River College are all top notch, working artists that I am privilege to be working with…shall I go on? I feel like I am accepting an Oscar and going on and on in my thank you speech. 

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SAHC: Where are some of your favorite Art/ Art History resources found?

LG: Of course SAHC is my number one my list. The Crocker Museum. I love going to the De Young museum.  When traveling, we go to the museums where ever we visit. We just came back from Mexico City and the museums there were Fabulous!

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SAHC: Is there anything else about the arts here in Sacramento that you would like share with our reader?

LG: There is more to life than pretty landscapes and pretty couch art that Sacramento tends to favor.  Get gritty and deep! Don’t be afraid. Take a stance and really delve into the dark side and share it with us instead of trying to be trite, non offensive, and commercial!!!!

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 SAHC: Where can your work be viewed, or found online?

LG: E Street Gallery and Studios-my studio is there and I curate an annual Heart Exhibit in February, and we are open every Second Saturday. I will be showing at the Blue Moon Gallery in April with Jodie Hooker. I am sorry to say but I let my website lapse but I post my work on Facebook often.

If you are interested in being one of SAHC’s featured artists, email us at: