A quick visit to John Muir

A couple of weeks ago, I went to take a run in my neighborhood. I got about 10 yards from my house running with my sunglasses on, before I stepped into a small hole I hadn’t seen, caught the edge with my toe, and fell flat on my face. Not my proudest moment!

Anyway, after a zoom video with my doctor, she recommended an X-Ray, so off to John Muir I went. It wasn’t really a pleasant reason for meandering around the John Muir Hospital campus, but I ended up catching some pretty cool art.

I love this blue, meandering line of glass depicting a river that starts at the waterfall rock. When I first started writing this blog, I did a quick picture to ask if people could guess where it is, but decided it was better to go more in-depth. It really is a peaceful place to sit and take a lunch or a reprieve from a sick or dying family member’s situation.

The hospital’s namesake, John Muir, also has a statue in the roundabout of the campus. I took a few shots of that as well! Visits to the hospital aren’t really something people look forward to, but props to John Muir for decking out the area with some serene artwork to make it a better experience!

Art Town: Re-visiting the “Folded G”

A while back, I shared an Art Town blog about the deconstructed “letter G” statue near the BART station. I had a little bit of information (included in that link) about the creator of the sculpture, but I received a comment on the blog shortly after posting regarding the artist and the piece!

It came from a reader named Rob, who wrote: “This sculpture is painted aluminum. A few years ago, it was painted a steel grey. It’s a deconstructed letter G, from the alphabet.” He also included the artist information (Fletcher Benton), date of creation (1984), and more.

So, I reached out to Rob via email and asked how he knew so much about the piece that I couldn’t find a lot of information on! He wrote back with an interesting story and connection: not only was he an artist himself, but Benton, the artist of the piece in question, was his sculpture teacher in college!

Small world, huh? It turns out that Rob works at SFMOMA and had some information on another piece in the area I was curious about. We’ll save that piece for another Art Town post, but thought you’d enjoy revisiting this one and hearing that story!

Art Town: Unknown Sculpture

This cool sculpture is at the roundabout on Pleasant Hill Rd. and Newell. I hadn’t noticed it before, but it’s pretty interesting! I like how the artist made the towering cubes curve an bend like that. Hopefully we keep our eyes on the road while driving the roundabout, instead of on the art!

On View at the Bedford Gallery: The Great Wave

I love venturing out to our little downtown art gallery and seeing the new exhibits every couple of months. The current one on view is titled The Great Wave, and it is all contemporary ocean-themed art. Much of it is also climate change-related, created out of ocean plastics and debris.

Here are some photos from the exhibit:

Two of my favorites were the woman crouching (see above), as that was created all out of plastic found in the ocean. The picture above that shows a bunch of small Buddha heads – the artist did a project where he buried those heads in the sand at beaches and let the natural erosion of the waves unveil them.

The cost to get in is $5 adult tickets, $3 youth (13-17) tickets, and FREE tickets for those 12 and under. The first Tuesday of every month is free and they also coordinate some sort of art work for kids on that free Tuesday. I love that we have such a great arts community and to quote Oscar Wilde: Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

The exhibit was inspired by Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave,” which is recognized across cultures as a symbol of the unpredictable power of the ocean.

The Great Wave exhibit at Bedford will be there through March 22. Be sure to check it out before then!

Art Town: Broadway Plaza fountains

There are tons of new pieces of art popping up around Walnut Creek all the time. Thank goodness, otherwise we’d run out of content for this monthly feature on the blog! In all seriousness, it’s sometimes fun to look back and remember art that has been around town for a lot longer than most.

Take, for example, the fountains at Broadway Plaza. The one above is a lionhead statue with a scaly column and small streams pouring into the base. It’s always been a favorite of mine as you stroll through the shops and just outside of Nordstroms and was kept during the complete revamp of the Plaza!


Similarly, this large, round fountain has seemingly adorned Broadway Plaza (across the street from the first one, basically!) through thick and then, renovations and all. I’m sure every resident of Walnut Creek has sat on those steps, or thrown a penny into the water at some point.

I remember when my son Jackson was at a young age, always running around (“Action Jackson,” we called him) and we were standing by the fountain. Next thing I know, Jackson was in the fountain and a very tall man was pulling him out. My husband at the time said, “Do you know who that was? It was Chris Mullin!” (when he was GM of the Warriors – such an interesting memory of the fountain)

So it is nice to see these timeless fountains still churning away and making our little town a beautiful sight to see (and in my case a fun memory!). And yes, Jackson was okay. He was playing in the fountain the minute I turned my back!

Art Town: Civic Park Fossil

I’ve seen this little “fossil” artwork on the side of the ceramics building in Civic Park a few times before, but I still don’t know much about it! I think it looks cool, especially given its placement on that building in particular. Does anyone know anything about it? Send me a message!

Art Town: Lululemon Tree!

Sometimes, we can find some of the best art in the most random places in town. For instance, did I expect to see a really cool piece while wandering past Lululemon of all places? Definitely not. But here we are!

The store has a really interesting matted tree on its entrance, that looks sort of like a shadow and sort of like a permanent installation. Obviously it is there to stay, but it still kind of sneaks up on you until you pull back and look at it! The city of Walnut Creek is big on Art and require developers to have some sort of art at any new building project.

I have to say, a storefront like this is much more appealing to me than just a regular one with a bunch of signage and branding. What appeals to me most is it is unexpected, but blends in well.

Have you noticed any other uses of this style in downtown or around Walnut Creek? Send me pictures! I might feature it on my next Art Town blog! One that comes to mind is a past blog in front of the building across from Target – the trees on the front of the building look like shadows, but it is really hard to tell that is actually a piece of art.

Art Town: Fountains

With so much changing around downtown Walnut Creek at any given moment, it’s sometimes nice to reflect on the places that have been around for years. One of those places is the J. Rockliff real estate building at the corner of N. Main and Civic.

You’d recognize the building by its brick-on-brick look. It sits right across Civic from City Hall and diagonally across from La Scala. It almost looks like a mini-brick castle. Anyway, they have fountains out front that I never stopped to look at before, and they are gorgeous!

The fountains complement the property and the real eye-catcher is the wrought-iron statue in the middle, perched atop a mosaic base. It’s quite mesmerizing up close!

Take a minute to recognize an old classic in Walnut Creek next time you’re in the area. With buildings and blocks changing all the time, it is nice to see something stay the same.

Art Town: Mural by MCXT

Two renowned Bay Area artists, collectively known as “MCXT,” have been commissioned by Bedford Gallery to complete a mural on the Civic Park Assembly Hall. I got a picture of the finished product, and thought the individual parts were the most interesting. It does brighten up this spot dramatically!

Monica Canilao (MC) and Xara Thustra (XT) teamed up to create the mural, and it looks awesome! MC is an internationally-acclaimed multimedia artist from Oakland who has a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts. And XT is an activist for art and a member of San Francisco’s “Mission School” art movement.

True to form, the two artists put together a dazzling display of geometry, wildlife, and color to add a nice splash of eye-popping creativity to downtown Walnut Creek. I love the push over the last several years by our town to embrace art and make it a focal point of the everyday experience.

I initially stopped by while MCXT were painting it. They were on their lunch break, there was rain forecasted for Friday (and it was Wednesday), and so they were hurrying to get it finished. I mentioned Monica looked liked Frieda and she acknowledged the reference and said people ask her if she is trying to copy Frieda and her response is she is just being her authentic self.

I also asked about the surface they were painting on as it looked very smooth for an old building. Xara said the city prepped it before they started so there was a clean smooth surface to work with. If you spend some time in front of it, you will realize it is quite intricate, because just in passing it looks like some simple modern art piece. Please take a browse and enjoy.

Props to MCXT and the Bedford Gallery for another work of sheer energy and beauty to add to Walnut Creek’s growing collection. Have you had a chance to stroll through Civic Park and see the mural in person? What did you think of it?

Pianos everywhere!

The other day, I was wandering in downtown Walnut Creek and had to do a double-take as I passed a spot I’d seen a thousand times before. In that spot, there was a wildly painted piano with a sign saying “play me!”

I’m not sure exactly when this art installation was put in place, but it’s really cool! There are eight pianos around downtown all painted different colors. They are really eye-catching, and all of them invite people to play on them.

Check out this article for a little more background on the project. It looks like the project is called “Painted Pianos” and they were donated by Steinway Piano Gallery and hand-painted by local artists. They will be out there for the public to play until Oct. 18.

Additionally, there will be some live performances by special guests every Tuesday from 12-1 p.m. (September 10, 17, 24 & October 1, 8, 15) from 12-1 pm at three locations: 1655 N. Main St., 1501 Locust St., and 1328 N. Main St.
The goal of the project is to bring community members together to create a musical memory! I love this! Take your lunch, walk downtown, and enjoy some music!