ArtHop special: ‘The Munro Review on CMAC’ puts the spotlight on Scarab Creative Arts, ‘Boom Oaxaca’ at Arte Americas, and Mac Mechem at Downtown Artist Gallery

Just in time for this month’s ArtHop: I present to you a special show devoted to the visual arts! Here’s the May episode of “The Munro Review on CMAC”:

Two of the three featured segments focus on two specific ArtHop shows:

Scarab Creative Arts

In a wide-ranging interview, Kia Cotton — the owner of Art Lab 559 and an instructor at Scarab — covers a lot of territory, including a history of Scarab Creative Arts. Owner Maggie Courtis kept the name of the old Scarab gallery and did a complete renovation and expanded the number of artists and media presented. There are two major events happening at the May ArtHop:

Marina Holladay, another of the gallery members, is a native of Kyiv, Ukraine, and has been working these past few months on art-related fundraisers to support humanitarian efforts in her country. In April, Holladay sold ceramic jewelry she painted blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine, and raised more than $5,000 in the process. For May, she’s expanded the concept. Artists donated original works and prints for a silent auction that will be held during ArtHop proper. Among the donations are works by Robert Weibel, an original plein air oil painting by Andy Gonzales, a ceramic vase by Heather Hubbard, wall hangings by Dawn Hart, and much more.

Corky Normart is featured artist for the month of May at the gallery. He’ll be featuring both old and new work. Here’s a studio-tour and interview I did with him in 2021:


• Kia Scott spends some time in the segment talking about Art Lab 559 and what it’s like to teach art to kids.

Downtown Artist Gallery

The second ArtHop segment is an interview with Mac Mechem, whose restrospective show at Downtown Artist Gallery includes works from the past 50 years. Mechem is best known in recent years for his pointed political commentary, but he also has a fascinating body of work from earlier in his work. The longtime McLane High School teacher touched countless student lives over more than three decades. Now he enjoys commenting on current events.

‘Boom Oaxaca’

The stories above are covered in a talk-show format. For an in-depth look at “Boom Oaxaca” at Arte Americas, CMAC producer Kyle Lowe and I went on location to take a tour of this remarkable exhibition, whose major artists include Narsiso Martinez and the artist duo Tlacolulokos. Our guide is Jesus Pelayo, a member of the Arte curatorial team, who gave us a meaningful and moving tour. Your first priority should be getting down to the cultural center before it closes Aug. 14. The next best thing is to take a tour via The Munro Review. The story starts at the 12:42 mark.

The Munro Review has no paywall but is financially supported by readers who believe in its non-profit mission of bringing professional arts journalism to the central San Joaquin Valley. You can help by signing up for a monthly recurring paid membership or make a one-time donation of as little as $3. All memberships and donations are tax-deductible.

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (1)

  • Alice

    Downtown Artist Gallery hours of operation? Phone is disconnected.


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