Picks for December ArtHop

Holiday gifts are a favorite this time of year, plus two non-holiday shows at 1821 Gallery and Spectrum Art Gallery

In a time when any holiday present under the sun — including original art — can be ordered online and whisked to your home, there’s something refreshingly retro about wandering through your neighborhood gallery looking for gifts. For December ArtHop, many galleries make it possible to buy local art. My top pick of the month, then, is a compilation from the Fresno Arts Council master ArtHop list of promising places to do a little first-minute Christmas shopping:

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Barbara Van Arnam’s “Pear and Coffee” at Gallery 25.

Gallery 25: A fundraiser titled the “Giving Tree” includes a symbolic representation of a tree that will have works of art of “purses” created by gallery members. The remaining part of the gallery will be a members’ exhibit.

Sorensen Studio and Galleries: The name of the game is affordable, with participating artists agreeing to feature at least one artwork for $100 or less.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Nov. 3)

You can win a pair of tickets to New York-based Ballet Hispánico, which performs Saturday at the Saroyan. Plus: It’s time for ‘A Christmas Carol’

Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Ballet Hispánico

Simply put, this is one of the prime dance events of the year, and it’s thanks to the Lively Arts Foundation. The New York-based Ballet Hispánico is making a special “run-out” to the West Coast just for Fresno.

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Direct from New York: Ballet Hispánico performs Saturday in Fresno.

Plus: I’m giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday’s Saroyan Theatre performance to a lucky reader of The Munro Review. (Details on the giveaway are below.)

Diane Mosier, artistic director for Lively Arts, who prides herself on keeping up on the contemporary dance scene, has followed Ballet Hispánico for about six years.

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5 picks for November ArtHop

Options include the Fresno City College Art Space Gallery, the Fresno Arts Council, Chris Janzen at Fresno City Hall, Enrique Meza at Jeffrey Scott, and ‘Nudes in November’

Elena Harvey Collins is in her first semester as curator of Fresno City College’s Art Space Gallery, and she’s excited about the new exhibition she put together for November. Los Angeles-based Rebecca Campbell is the featured artist. Her intriguing sounding lineup of paintings and installation pieces leads off picks for ArtHop (5-8 p.m. at most venues Thursday, Nov. 2).

Here’s a rundown:

The show’s title: “a little breath that always goes the distance longing requires.” It’s from the poem “Oklahoma” by Fresno-born poet Larry Levis.

art space gallery

The themes: Campbell explores the complexity of identity, the nature of memory, and the representation of women in the art world.

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Joan Schulze breaks new ground with quilting and collage

Fresno Art Museum’s Distinguished Woman Artist of 2017 celebrates 80-plus-1 years in a new exhibition. She’ll speak at the museum on Thursday

Eleven years ago, when the acclaimed quilt and collage artist Joan Schulze turned 70, she wrote a poem. This was not out of character. She considers herself both a visual artist and poet. Often for her the two art forms complement each other, blending into something greater than the sum of the parts. She ended her birthday poem with the lines:

Stay afloat
Who’s the wild one?

People seemed to get a kick out of that.

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“It apparently set everybody off thinking that 70 wasn’t such a bad thing,” she tells me.

I’m sitting with Schulze on a bench in the middle of her Fresno Art Museum exhibition, which she will talk about in an “Art in the Afternoon” lecture 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2. Schulze is the museum’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist of 2017, a slightly unwieldy title, but an important one. Around us are her artworks: on one wall, the triptych “Opus,” the largest collage she’s ever done; and on another a 15-work collage series titled “Mt. Fuji.” She has worked long and hard on this show, and she’s proud of it.

The title? “Joan Schulze: Celebrating 80.”

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Oct. 20)

Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Drive-through

All eyes on Saturday will be on the Fulton Mall — whoops, Fulton Street, and it will be a while before I can train myself to automatically say that — for the official ribbon-cutting and opening celebration. This isn’t just an event; it’s an historic occasion. I remember when I came to Fresno more than 25 years ago for my job interview, and my future boss took me to lunch at the Downtown Club, pointed in the direction of the mall, and told me, “We hope this can be revitalized soon.”

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Photo / Downtown Fresno Partnership

So, decades later, change is in the air. I’m crossing my fingers.

Bethany Clough has a nice list in The Bee of pop-up stores and restaurants that will line the street for the 3 p.m. ribbon cutting at Fulton Street and Mariposa Mall. Most will be open until 10. (It’s nice to see the Fresno Art Museum on the list with a wine/shopping option.) There will be two beer gardens and three stages for live music.

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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.

Bend on the Road
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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