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A Tribute to Pam Whidden: Models are to Artists Like Flowers are to Bees


The human figure has captured the imagination of artists and viewers for centuries. It represents both a tangible and intangible reality; a scientific and spiritual wonder; a microcosm of the macrocosm. Artistic depiction of the human figure allows us to see and appreciate what we already know about ourselves in private in a completely public way. This collaborative interaction between artists and models is a major reason why the human figure is still so central to the creative process.   

This exhibition, curated by artists Stephanie and Ken Goldman, highlights the historic impact that model Pam Whidden had on San Diego’s art modeling community.

In the early 1970’s, it was difficult to find good models. Pam was an exception: an expressive sitter with a reliable work ethic. By the 1980’s, Pam not only made a living for herself, but also began training friends to be art-models. Through this entrepreneurial effort, she single-handedly changed the art-modeling world by creating The San Diego Artist Model’s Guild. This new guild solved two major issues: ensuring that models were paid a fair wage by artists and that models would show up on time and work in a professional manner.

In the late 1990's and early 2000’s Pam became a part of the Athenaeum, working tirelessly by assisting at events, scheduling models, and monitoring the Sunday sketch group which is still active today.

The curators of this exhibition conducted an open call to receive submissions of artwork that depicted Pam during her modeling years. Although the artists vary in style and medium, the subject’s gifts are evident in each depiction, showing the versatility and range of talent in Pam’s modeling and the enthusiastic, expressive responses she evoked from the artists.

Earlier Event: November 24
Rising Tide