A simple line painted with a brush
can lead to freedom and happiness.
– Joan Miró
When I’m moved by a work of art, any number of things can happen. I might feel the urge to gaze at it, talk about it, but most of all, I want to share it – especially the diverse and exciting art and artists of Richmond!
The First Brushstrokes
Richmond Art Center’s roots were planted by one woman in 1936. When local artist Hazel Salmi, who worked for the WPA (a New Deal agency), traveled the streets of Richmond carrying a suitcase of art supplies, willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn, she also carried a vision: that within every person lives an artist. This vision still guides the center today.
Today’s art scene is reflected in the rotating exhibits of emerging and recognized Bay Area artists at the Richmond Art Center, the largest art center in the San Francisco East Bay. The fall art selections are exceptional. At the intersection of art + science and artist + builder, reflecting over a dozen unique perspectives, ‘Countersteer’ explores personal expression using motorcycles as the canvas. These custom-built artistic bikes all have unique visions and challenges. One is built with an old Maytag washing machine engine! Get current show info at richmondartcenter.org
Jim Dewitt, a Pt. Richmond’s resident artist, is world renowned for his paintings of racing yachts. This artist/sailor displays his vibrant maritime and sailing paintings online at jimdewitt.com. Drop by DeWitt Gallery & Framing in Pt. Richmond and his daughter can answer all of your questions about the artist.
Ducks in a Row – 34th America’s Cup World Series competition on SF Bay by Pt. Richmond resident Jim DeWitt
Richmond is painted with mural art all around town. I spotted the newest on Nevin Avenue, in Hacienda Grill’s parking lot and artist Richard Muro Salazar is putting on the final touches! It depicts the diversity of the Iron Triangle neighborhood with textiles. The Richmond Arts and Cultural Commission (RACC), the lead organization for the development and advocacy of the arts and culture in Richmond, commissioned this mural.
Richmond Museum of History
There is an amazing story at the Richmond Museum of History about a Richmond Post Office mural created by Victor Arnautoff, protégé of prominent Mexican painter and ‘secret communist’ Diego Rivera. It was lost in 1976, finally found in 2017, restored and is now at the museum.
One of Visit Richmond’s and my favorite art organizations is the National Institute of Art & Disabilities (NIAD) which is a progressive studio redefining contemporary art. Teaching artists pave the pathway for adults with disabilities to explore creativity and acquire new skills to help them earn a living. Find info on their upcoming exhibits and events. http://niadart.org
A recent exhibit featuring the art of Luis Estrada, a NIAD artist, expresses his observations of the elements, the moods they create, dates and numbers and their impressions upon him and the world. These pieces are part of the Downtown Art in Windows program, which invigorates Downtown Richmond, changing storefronts into living breathing art spaces.
Arts of Point Richmond
Arts of Point Richmond is a membership group dedicated to promoting, supporting and exposing the arts in the community. They offer artists opportunities to exhibit their work around the Point and have an online gallery. Explore more at http://artsofpointrichmond.com
Point Richmond Business Association
For the creatives out there, the brand new Point Richmond Sidewalk Arts Festival is now part of the Point Richmond Business Association’s Pt. Richmond Fall Fest. Artists and aspiring artists create chalk masterpieces while listening to music and enjoying entertainment. This year’s theme was Saving the Amazon Rainforest. Read more about this fun event at https://www.sfonthebay.com/pt-richmond-harvest-takes-on-the-amazon-rainforest-with-chalk
In December, Downtown Richmond magically turns into a glistening winter wonderland. Merchants’ lighted storefronts, a holiday parade and the lighting of the tree are fun for the whole family — and any scrooges out there who need their spirits lifted!
Our own Nutcracker
The annual holiday party of performances at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts includes their unique take on a holiday tradition with the ‘Richmond Nutcracker’. If you haven’t seen it yet, go! I promise you’ll enjoy it. Refreshments and photos with Santa are part of the fun. Local businesses support this event, all the way down to the appetizers! Check for current year events here. This year’s Downtown Holiday Festival is Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 4-7pm at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, 339 11th Street in Richmond.
Support for the Arts
If I’m moved by the art, I’m inspired by our community’s support for the arts! This vibrant arts community flourishes because the City of Richmond, residents and businesses contribute their resources and support to keep the arts thriving.
Just one small example of this is the partnership between the business community and two organizations who provide great community music events featuring local bands and talent: Main Street Initiative and Pt. Richmond Music. Local businesses support these events through donations, like East Brother Beer Co. who donates to both these groups. “We love being part of the Richmond community, playing our small role in bringing folks together – keeping them hydrated and having fun!” says East Brother Beer Co.’s co-founder and VRC Board Chair, Rob Lightner.
The arts are a significant, nourishing and transformational force in community life, the economy, and education in Richmond. This is made possible through the work of the City of Richmond, grants and the generosity of local philanthropists and organizations.
Chevron Richmond Refinery’s contributions designated for Richmond Art Center enable the center to continue its outreach to the community, including their arts in the schools programs with high caliber curricula prepared by Bay Area teaching artists. Find out more about Chevron’s commitment to the communities they serve here: https://www.chevron.com/corporate-responsibility
Mechanics Bank is a long-time supporter of the East Bay Center for Performing Arts. “The Center” teaches 85 different classes for youth in music, dance and theater. According to Rauly Butler, Mechanics Bank VP and Vice Chair of the Visit Richmond California board, “The Center is able to provide resources and a learning experience for local youth that is well beyond what we could provide as a community. Richmond’s youth, and our future leaders can discover their talents here, learn to practice hard and pursue their dreams.” You can find out more about Mechanics Bank’s legendary community giving programs here: https://www.mechanicsbank.com/About-Us/Community-Commitment
Whether you’re local or visiting, I hope that you take part in the art of Richmond. Enjoy the ‘Fall Out of Summer” and see you around town at a gallery or a show! If you’re interested in supporting the arts check out the resources below.
For assistance in planning your visit, call me at 510-660-2807 or stop by 229 Tewksbury Avenue, Suite B and pick up a Trail Guide for all the best places to eat, drink, stay and play in Richmond. Find Richmond events at http://www.visitrichmondca.com/event-calendar/
Until next time, stay creative!
Matt & Desiree (Rosie) and Frangi who looks forward to all of her many dog-friendly events, restaurants and parks!
Visit Richmond CA
Visit Richmond CA
Visit Richmond CA
Resources for Giving to the Arts
Masquers Playhouse https://www.masquers.org
NIAD Art Center (National Institute of Art and Disabilities)
Richmond Arts & Culture Commission https://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/104/Arts-Culture-Commission
Resources for the Artist in You!
Bridge Storage & ARTSpace: With a passion for building community around the arts in Richmond, Bridge Storage & ARTSpace disrupted the storage business by creating an art gallery, filmmaking/sound studios, woodshop, art studio and metal shop. When you visit you can find art and music events, record swaps and cultural gatherings from holiday events to film screenings.
Art classes in Richmond:
Did you know?
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Richmond Shipyards sprang up along the city’s waterfront. Workers poured into Richmond from all over the country, quadrupling the city’s population, and this deluge of new workers raised the city’s artistic realization. Eight movie theaters lined the lively MacDonald Avenue downtown and new music from all over the country, including Gospel & Blues, flooded out of the clubs and churches. Read more: http://www.visitrichmondca.com/learn/a-rich-history/