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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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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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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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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5 picks for July ArtHop

From James Dean at K-Jewel to an artistic musical bash at Tower District Records, here are promising options for the monthly open house of galleries and studios

If it’s the first Thursday of the month, it must be ArtHop. My own arts home might have changed recently, but at least one thing is still the same: my picks for this popular monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District areas. Here are five venues that sound promising:

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Entertainment icon: S.W. Parra’s ‘Marilyn Monroe.’

K-Jewel Art Gallery

S.W. Parra, or “Surfwest” as you might know him under more breezy circumstances, is a well known local artist thanks to his long tenure as a cartoonist and illustrator at a certain Fresno daily newspaper. In January I was wandering through the Chris Sorensen Studio “Black and White” show when I bumped into Parra and his big, award-winning entry in the exhibition: a 5-foot-by-6-foot painting of James Dean titled “Icon.”

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