5 picks for April ArtHop

Fresno State’s new exhibition of art from Avenal State Prison is a highlight of the month. Other picks include Spectrum Art Gallery, Fresno City Hall, Corridor 2122, Arte Americas and fres.co

My ArtHop picks for April include a meaningful new exhibition at Fresno State’s M Street Graduate Studios. “Insider Art: Exploring the Arts Within Prison Environments” features work from incarcerated individuals serving time at Avenal State Prison. More than 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures and other work — most created by men in prison art classes — will be on display. But this is more than a simple exhibition. It’s meant to be an immersive experience. The multimedia elements include a video of a performance by the prison’s theater group, recordings of music from the prison’s five different bands, recorded interviews with some of the artists, and a series of photographs by Fresno State professor Neil Chowdhury offering a behind-the-scenes view of prison life.

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Joseph Frye, who contributes to the catalog for “Insider Art,” has this artwork in the show.

ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, runs from 5-8 p.m. at most venues on Thursday, April 5. My other picks (which you can read about below) are at Spectrum Art Gallery, Fresno City Hall, Corridor 2122, Arte Americas and fres.co.

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5 picks for January ArtHop

Options include Edward Gillum at Spectrum Art Gallery, Mike Garcia at 1821 Gallery & Studios, Caleb Duarte at Fresno.co and a chili fundraiser at Clay Hand Studios

Let’s get the new year off to an artistic start with these ArtHop picks:

Spectrum Art Gallery

Edward Gillum is not an artist who works in a vacuum. Is he troubled by this nation’s current political climate? Most definitely. But he’s also intrigued. “We live in a special time, as marvelous and mysterious as it is shameful and hideous,” he says.

Gillum has long brought both a keen intellectualism and a visceral, political anxiety to his wide-ranging works, which include installation art, sculpture and photography. His latest exhibition, “Alphabet of Meaning,” weaves his childhood love of books and the written word with his concerns about a culture that he feels is resembling Orwell’s “1984.” It opens Thursday at Spectrum Art Gallery as part of ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.

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5 picks for August ArtHop

From Kerby C. Smith’s bracing winter photography at M Street to the glory of ink pens at Bitwise, here are promising options for Thursday

One of the great things about ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods, is that it’s year-round. We don’t take the month off in Fresno just because it’s a little toasty outside. Here’s a list of five cool picks for August. ArtHop at most venues runs 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, but check the Fresno Arts Council website for variations.

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Woman in red: Kerby C. Smith’s “Pohono Bridge.”

M Street Arts Complex

I like the way Kerby C. Smith thinks. He waits until the hottest time of the year to unveil his new exhibition of 18 images he photographed in January through March in the Yosemite Valley as the park was buried in winter’s bountiful snowfall. My guess is that your internal body temperature will go down a few degrees just looking at these crisp and creative works. (And it helps that the M Street Arts Complex galleries are air-conditioned.) I caught up with Smith to chat about “Cool in July,” which has been extended through August. The exhibition is sponsored by the Fresno Arts Council, the Chris Sorensen Studio, Electric Motor Shop, Horn Photo and Abby Pet Hospital.

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