Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Oct. 12)

Options include a Fresno State lecture-recital about a memorable woman scientist, theater openings in Merced, Visalia and Reedley, and a photo exhibition about Afghanistan

Here’s a rundown on promising arts/culture picks for the weekend. (Note: I’m posting this a day earlier than usual because of a Thursday night option.)

Remembering Hypatia

Earlier this year I got to wander the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, and there I learned about a remarkable woman: Hypatia, who is said to be the first woman philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. She was renowned for her intelligence and scientific insights. But she got caught up in the religious battles of the times. Hypatia was a pagan, and she was (horribly) murdered by an angry Christian mob in the year 415 A.D.

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Hypatia’s life story is the focus of a fascinating sounding interdisciplinary lecture-recital on Friday at Fresno State. The event is an exploration of the ways in which women use their voices and are silenced in male-dominated societies.

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5 picks for October ArtHop

Ginny Burdick’s A Sense of Place gallery hosts a national pastel show. Also: Check out exhibitions at Fig Tree Gallery, Spectrum Art Gallery, Jeffrey Scott Gallery and Gallery 25

Coarsegold artist Ginny Burdick is a pretty happy gallery owner these days. A Sense of Place, her handsomely renovated gallery — right across from Fresno High School — is now in its fifth successful year.

She nabbed a prestigious exhibition to show off that space: the national invitational of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, the second largest association of pastelists in the world. And to top things off, one of her own pieces was selected for the show by jurors. (“It would have been embarrassing if I hadn’t gotten in,” she says with a laugh.)

It’s no wonder, then, that Burdick’s gallery leads my picks this month for ArtHop, the monthly open house of studios and galleries in the Tower District and downtown neighborhoods of Fresno. (Most venues are open 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.) The show includes entries from all over the world in a variety of subjects, including landscapes, portraits and abstracts. I dropped by this week to ask some questions and get a quick video tour.

Q: How did you persuade the pastel society to pick Fresno for its show?

A: Three years ago I was approached by the then president of the Pastel Society of the West Coast who was trying to find a venue for the show in central California. He lives near Porterville and felt it was important to have this area represented. He had tried for the Fresno Art Museum but they never contacted him back. Then he reached out to me, came to see the gallery and felt it would work for the show.

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On the road with Sierra Art Trails

The annual open studio tour gives you the chance to meet nearly 100 artists and enjoy the scenic Sierra foothills

One of the joys of this time of year is the Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour. The annual event is a great excuse to drive up into the beautiful foothills of eastern Madera and Mariposa counties and be invited into the home studios and display spaces of nearly 100 artists in a variety of genres. If you luck out, you get some nice, crisp, fall-like weather. And I’ve always enjoyed the friendly atmosphere you find at the different venues, with artists taking the time to explain how and why they work the way they do.

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Mixed media: Susan Mitchell-Van Slyke’s “Bend on the Road.”

This year Sierra Art Trails, which opens Friday, Sept. 29, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 1, celebrates a major milestone: its 15th anniversary. To mark the occasion, I’m introducing a newcomer artist, Susan Mitchell-Van Slyke, who recently moved to Mariposa from the Bay Area — but whose Sierra roots run deep.

First off, a few details about logistics:

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Quick pick: ‘Claiming Face’ at Fresno State

Here’s a chance to spend part of a day with a noted illustrator, author, progressive educator, activist and publisher. Maya Christina Gonzalez is the second winner of the artist-in-residence fellowship prize given by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Fresno State. As part of her week-long residency at the university, Gonzalez is offering a workshop using self-portraiture titled “Voice is a Revolution: Personal Healing to Change the Larger Narrative.” It is free and open to the public.

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The workshop is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, in Room 140 of the Kremen Education Building. Lunch is provided. A description:

Participants are asked to bring a photo of themselves. This begins the journey. Using exercises from her “Claiming Face” curriculum, Gonzalez leads people through beautiful portraits to personal stories and finally toward larger healing narratives as the day’s workshop progresses. No creative experience or proclivity necessary, only the call to attend and claim your voice.

I like the the three rules of “Claiming Face”:

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Sept. 21)

Options include new exhibitions at the Fresno Art Museum and Armenian Museum, two chamber music concerts and a closing reception at Corridor 2122

(Note: I’m posting this a day earlier than usual because of a Thursday night option.)

The Fresno Art Museum has a venerable tradition: Each year a museum group called the Council of 100 selects an outstanding woman artist over the age of 60 to celebrate. The artist traditionally lives 100 miles or more away from Fresno. This year’s honor goes to a prominent Bay Area fiber artist who just had her 80th birthday. (What a way to celebrate!) The exhibition “Joan Schulze: Celebrating 80” opens with a reception on Friday, Sept. 22.

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Delicate quilting: Joan Schulze’s “Not So Long Ago.” Photo / Fresno Art Museum

There’s another exhibition opening as well: selections from the famed AIDS Memorial Quilt cared for by the NAMES Project Foundation. The show is a partnership by the museum and the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

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5 picks for September ArtHop

“Geek Artistique” returns for a 2nd year of pop-culture art dedicated to science fiction, fantasy and comics. Also: Don’t miss shows at Gallery 25, Jeffrey Scott Gallery, Clay Hand Studios and CMAC

Lisa Anderson and Martin Shapiro, professors at Fresno State with very busy lives, didn’t quite realize what they were getting into nearly eight years ago when they organized an exhibition titled “Art Scientifique” at the Chris Sorensen Studios. They hadn’t thought beyond that first year. But Sorensen, a wily arts administrator and judge of human behavior, knew exactly what he was doing when he talked to them about the show’s success.

“You have the March slot now,” he told Anderson, as she remembers it.

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Greetings from a Minion: a work by Todd Runberg in “Geek Artistique.” Photo / The Munro Review

They’ve kept up the schedule, opening the seventh annual “Art Scientifique” in March.

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When in Sacramento, don’t miss the Crocker

On the road: The Crocker Art Museum is a great way to spend a few hours or more while in the state capital

MUSEUM ROAD TRIP

SACRAMENTO — I’ve always loved the Crocker Art Museum. Even the act of getting there. After I exit the confusing downtown tangle of freeways leading to the museum — yep, I’m still a little mystified by Sacramento traffic after all these years — I’m able to slip into the relaxed ambiance of the parklike setting. Seven years ago, the Crocker embarked on an ambitious expansion campaign, connecting a sleek modern building to the original 1871 mansion, and the result is a sophisticated blend of old and new that tripled the size of the museum.

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Old and new: Sacramento’s Crocker Museum includes a strong collection of contemporary art. Photo / The Munro Review

On a recent drive through I reconnected with the museum, which I hadn’t visited in several years. I highly recommend dropping in the next time you’re in Sacramento. Give yourself a few hours to experience this high-caliber institution.

Here are five tips:

1. Don’t miss the strong special exhibitions. You’ll have to visit soon to catch “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose,” which runs through Sept. 17. This exhibition highlights works by artists who have been prominently featured in the contemporary art magazine Hi-Fructose. There are 51 works in the show by such artists as Beth Cavener, Mark Ryden, Olek and Tara McPherson.

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Masked identities, lucha libre style

Southern California artist Sergio Teran visits Arte Américas Saturday in a reception for his exhibition “South of the Grapevine”

Arte Américas has a lot to celebrate this month. On Sept. 30, the cultural arts center marks its 30th anniversary with a big bash. And it’s nearing the end of a successful run of “South of the Grapevine,” the second annual exhibition featuring well-known Southern California artists.

One of those artists is Sergio Teran, who will be honored at an artist’s reception at Arte noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2. (He’ll give a lecture at 1 p.m. followed by a gallery tour of his show.) Teran is particularly known for his lucha-libre mask motifs and his examination of bicultural identity.

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Devil winds: Sergio Teran’s “Jardine Del Diablo.”

Teran shares the exhibition with fellow artist Rick Ortega. “The two create strong works that excite the eye and engage the soul,” says Arte executive director and exhibition curator Frank Delgado. “The colors of their palettes are bright and distinctly Latino — and their content is beautifully executed and filled with deep narrative.”

I caught up with Teran via email to talk about “South of the Grapevine.”

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