The 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica is kicking off its 2010 season with Love in a Cemetery, a visual arts laboratory involving young artists from the Otis College of Art and Design in Westchester, beginning Saturday, January 23rd and continuing through March 26th.

The event will begin with an opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. January 23rd at the arts center, 1639 18th St., Santa Monica.

Love in a Cemetery is a collaboration between artists, curators, graduate students, and community organizations that creates a participatory “laboratory” at the gallery that sponsors community dialogues, public presentations and interventions, exhibits of artworks and project data to explore the social and political dimension of art organizations.

Robert Sain, Los Angeles County Museum of Art lab founding director and Los Angeles-based visual artist Andrea Bowers were commissioned to organize this visual arts laboratory with artists from the Otis master’s Public Practice program, involving projects reaching out into the greater Los Angeles community.

Guest artist Olga Koumoundouros will create a special

sculptural installation for the event.

Sain says he wants to investigate the opportunity and obligation for arts organizations to be socially responsible and responsive in an age of diminished resources. He hopes to provoke a community-wide dialogue about the role, function, and fundamental purpose of the city’s arts organizations.

For the project he has invited over 100 artists and arts leaders to address the role that arts organizations play in the city.

As an integral part of the project, Bowers is working with Pauline Kanako Kamiyama and the Otis program to organize numerous discussions between cultural and community organizations.

The 18th Street Arts Center is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.Information,