top of page

Chi Essary - Bio & CV

CHI ESSARY studied printmaking and photography at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. She curates cross-disciplinary exhibitions that bring artists together with other fields of creative inquiry such as contemporary literature and science, as she is a firm believer that, “The best gift to humanity is bringing people together.” She took the helm of the SD Art Prize in 2019, streamlining and updating its committees and processes. Working to promote and share the San Diego region's borderland talent with a broader audience she brought in jurors from New York City, Miami, San Francisco and Mexico City for the 2022 season to make the final selection of artists. A board member of Vanguard Culture since 2014, Chi also applies her talents to supporting the arts in San Diego in addition to writing her series Poetic License: Artist Studio Visits.


Curriculum Vitae 


Pacific Northwest College of Art,Portland, Oregon 1993-1995

Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon 1997-1998

Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 2000-2001

Mesa Community College, San Diego, California – Various courses


Professional Service

2019- 2023     SD Art Prize Curator and Administrator, San Diego, CA

2019-2022      Exhibitions & Collections Committee, Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA

2016-                Blog writer and photographer, Poetic License: Artist Studio Visits, Vanguard Culture, San Diego

2014-                Board Member, Vanguard Culture, San Diego, CA

2000-2001     Master printmaker Apprentice, Mahaffey Fine Art, Portland, OR 

1999-2001        Artist Relations, Photographic Image Gallery, Portland, OR                       


Curated Exhibitions

2023   Lost in Translation: A Game of Telephone, San Diego Central Library Gallery, SD, CA

              Local artists played a game of telephone with local authors over a year using the magic of interpretation

               as ideas were translated from image to words back to images, etc. 

2021   Trifecta: Art, Science, Patron, La Jolla Historic Society, La Jolla, CA

              Local artists informed by world-class scientists whose chairs were endowed through the Jacob's

              Chair Challenge and local philanthropists

2020  Illumination: 21st Interactions with Art + Science + Technology, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA

            Cross-discipline exhibition pairing 16 artists and 16 scientists from seven science institutions

2019   Xquisite Corpse, Bread & Salt, San Diego, CA

            Cross-discipline exhibition pairing 20 artists and writers to play a game of Exquisite Corpse 

2018   Textura, Becky Guttin Solo Show, VC Headquarters Gallery, San Diego, CA

2017    Extra-Ordinary Collusion, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA

             Cross-discipline exhibition pairing 25 artists with 22 Salk Institute Scientists



Seth Combs, "Chain of Inspiration", San Diego Union Tribune, Jan. 29, 2023 (print full page Sunday)

Jasmin Rosemberg, "San Diego's Finest Fine Art Exhibits", Modern Luxury, December 9, 2021, Here

Julia Dixon Evans, 5 works of art to see in San Diego in October, KPBS, Oct. 6th, 2021, Here 

Ashley Mackin-Solomon, "New La Jolla Historical Society exhibit to feature art inspired by science" La Jolla Light, Sept. 11th, 2021, Here

Julia Dixon Evans, 'Trifecta: Art, Science, Patron' Exhibition, KPBS, Sept, 2021, Here

Chi Essary , 'Trifecta: Art, Science, Patron', Time Keeper, Fall/Winter 2021, Volume 40 NO 3, p6-7 & 11 

Nina Garin, "Meet artist and curator Chi Essary" Pacific Magazine, March 2020. page 46-47

Also online: Here

Julia Dixon Evans, "Illuminating The Intersection Of Art, Science And Technology", KPBS, Feb. 4, 2020, Here

Martina Schimitschek, "'Illumination' Sheds Light on Research", San Diego Union Tribune, Night & Day section,

Feb. 13, 2020, Also online Feb. 7, 2020: Here

Chris Jennewein, "New 'Illumination' Show at San Diego Art Institute Pairs Science with Art",

Times of San Diego, Feb. 7, 2020: Here 

Lonnie Hewitt, "Art, science and technology converge in San Diego Art Institute's 'Illumination' exhibit",

Del Mar Times, Feb 19, 2020

Also online: Here

Kinsee Morlan, “Culture Report: Salk Scientists’ Latest Experiment Is 

            Collaborating with Artists”, Voice of San Diego, May 16, 2017: Here 

Ramin Skibba, “The Force of Fields”, San Diego Home & Garden, Vol. 38,

             Number 10, June 2017, p. 96-98

Lonnie Hewitt, “In an ‘Extra-Ordinary Collusion’ Art/Science join forces for 

            exhibit in Balboa Park”, La Jolla Light, June 15, 2017: Here


Artist Exhibitions


2018    -CNote, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA

2018    -Nexus, Bread & Salt, San Diego, CA

2017    -Snap to Grid, L.A. Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA

2016    -Celebrating the Art in Archaeology, Barracks 26, San Diego, CA

              -Re-Make, Expressive Arts Studio, San Diego, CA

              -Play to Create, The Front, San Diego, CA

2015    -No Obvious Parts, Viz Cult art show, San Diego, CA

              -Taxidermy, good: a gallery, Portland, OR

Contact Me


Thanks! Message sent.

bottom of page