How Channing Dungey and More Hollywood Figures Are Showcasing the Art of Inclusion

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Channing Dungey and husband Scott Power at the 2017 Emmys.

The Netflix content exec and former ABC entertainment president will explore fine art and its value to the entertainment industry at the Not Real Art conference on March 16, where she'll speak alongside animator Jorge Gutierrez and artists including Man One.

"What's exciting about the world we're living in is everyone is recognizing the importance of diversity and being inclusive," says Channing Dungey, just days into her new role as vp original content for Netflix. The former ABC entertainment president is speaking not just about TV, but also fine art and its value to Hollywood — a theme she'll explore at the Not Real Art conference on March 16 in L.A.'s Highland Park, where she'll speak alongside Golden Globe-nominated, Mexico City-born animator Jorge Gutierrez and artists including Logan Hicks and Man One (tickets are $100). Artists will learn how to protect and market their work during panel discussions with titles like "How to Legally Protect Your Art," "Selling Art on Social Media," "How to License Your Art" and "Curating Art on the Street," among others.

Highland Park's ties to the L.A. art world date back to the late 19th century, when the home of journalist and preservationist Charles Fletcher Lummis was the center of a loose nexus of socialists and artists. Over the decades, the area has been home to screenwriter Dalton Trumbo as well as artist Mike Kelley, and is the current home of installation artist Diana Thater. Still, the population of the neighborhood remains roughly 72 percent Latinx.

"When I started out, I was always told, 'We like your work, but we don't do stuff like that,'" says Gutierrez, whose show, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, won a Daytime Emmy Award. "So that was shocking to see, as a Mexican and a Latino. A producer took me aside and said, 'I love your work, but I'm going to give you some advice — the only person who's ever going to hire you to do this type of stuff is you. You have to pitch your own show, pitch your own movie, get yourself out there."

It was sound advice, the type that he and Dungey hope to pass on to young artists at Not Real Art, 12 of whom will win $1,000 grants to create original work for an exhibition in the fall at Art Share LA in downtown.

"One of my greatest mentors was Mark Pedowitz, who was my boss when I was working at ABC studios when I first came over to television," recalls Dungey. "Lucy Fisher was one of my early mentors at Warner Bros. I think that's what we’re doing here in terms of helping to mentor these artists."

Dungey, whose husband, Scott "Sourdough" Power, is Not Real Art's founder, says she hopes to help artists "see that their art may have value in more than one medium." That group includes Gutierrez, currently at work on a limited series, Maya and the Three, for Netflix: "For the first time in my career I'm being told, 'Your audience is not the U.S., your audience is the whole world and it's OK to be culturally specific as long as you're universal with your themes,' " he says of the streamer. "They've figured out that no one is going to be harder on the creators and filmmakers than themselves."

A version of this story first appeared in the March 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.