When one thinks of an art exhibit, one usually has an expectation of sterile gallery walls – an institutionalized, bureaucratized world where creative expression is reserved for the elite few, the indoctrinated professional artists.
With “Taking Art to the Streets,” Arts Visalia looks to upset that notion a bit by involving the public directly in the production of the artworks in an exhibition. We are literally going to take the production of the artworks in the exhibition out into the streets so that members of the general public can take part in their creation.
The exhibition will grow and transform as the month goes by. Visitors at the beginning of the month will see an entirely different show when they return at the end of the month. New works will be added to the mix while other artworks will have new additions made to them during the show.
Stepping beyond the spectator-only format of art exhibits, members of the general public who attend the Taste the Arts Festival will be able to have a hand in creating the works of art on display by joining in on a series of participatory art-making activities on Saturday, October 11. Led by a talented team of professional artists and art students from local colleges and universities, attendees of the 2014 Taste the Arts Festival, will be able to take a crash course in a variety of traditional and non-traditional art techniques including block-printing, screen-printing, spray painting, stencil-painting and more. Participants will be able to create their own artworks or add to a series of large-scale collaborative works, all under the guidance of professional artists.
The exhibition will feature works of urban art, block printing and screen-printing by the artists of the Urbanist Collective, as well as faculty and students of the College of the Sequoias and the Fresno State University printmaking programs. Artists featured in the exhibition, and leading the public during the festival activities, include Erik Gonzalez and the artists of the Urbanist Collective, Orlycukui, Shortyfatz, DJ Agana, Reydiem, Matthew Hopson-Walker, Francisco Alonzo and Jessica Robles, as well as members of the COS Printworks Club and the Fresno State Print and Glory Club.
Taking Art to the Streets, the exhibition, will be on display at Arts Visalia October 3-31, with an opening reception from 6-8pm on Friday, October 3. Workshops and public art activities at the Taste the Arts Festival will be held from 11am to 6pm at the site of the former Keith Brown Lumber Company property on the corner of Garden and Oak Avenues. Admission to all events is free and open to the public.
Taking Art to the Streets is supported by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society.
For more information, call 739-0905 or visit www.artsvisalia.org.
Kevin Bowman is the director of Arts Visalia and an instructor of art at College of the Sequoias.