Gk Callahan is a trans-media artist. He earned his MFA in social practice at California College of the Arts and his BFA in painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. Creating cultural change through social engagement, Gk focuses on humanitarian issues around public health. His practice also includes traditional mediums like painting, sculpture, and mixed media works. As a maker, the visual art he creates is drawn from life experiences, focuses on play and the narrative line between reality and fiction, often incorporating children’s stories to illustrate adult metaphors. After years working in the community, he cultivated his main practice to both create art and facilitate others’ creative exploration through participatory collaboration, and curatorial work. He sees the balance between contemporary art and community engagement as a temporal opportunity to shift cultural knowledge.
Gk is the founder of The Please Touch Garden (PTG), an outdoor community space that addresses urban agriculture, arts, and disabilities. Prior to his work with PTG, Gk produced various exhibitions in galleries and alternative spaces throughout the San Francisco Bay, and co-founded art collective Catasta Gallery©. He has taught art to the blind and visually impaired, as well as to grade school children, within the non-profit arts sector. Gk has done this in conjunction with facilitating several community based public murals around the San Francisco Bay area. Gk’s curatorial practice investigates the relationship between every day public spaces, contemporary art, and preconceived notions of adversity.
Currently, Gk is producing Contracting an Issue a collection of public, spoken-word documentary performances focusing on the stigma and body politics around HIV and AIDS.
Alongside the development of his career in contemporary art, Gk has also built expertise in cultural development, working at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts under the Curator of Public Programs in the Community Engagement Department, and with the City of San Francisco working on public health policies. Currently he works in arts administration working for the University of Missouri Community Arts Program as a Regional Community Arts Specialist, where he uses the arts to focus on economic and community development in Missouri communities.