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!

Art Town: Broadway Plaza

You can walk around Broadway Plaza anytime, and between the masses of people and the high-end stores, you’ll discover some truly stunning works of art. This has always been the case, but even more so now that have remodeled the entire plaza.


Not long ago, I was wandering downtown and found this elegant deer sculpture in the bushes on one of the main roads of the Plaza. As you can see from the placard, it is aptly-named “Bronze Buck.” It’s a nice, nostalgic piece in my opinion – I don’t know about you, but I regularly get deer running around my neighborhood! It’s kind of a staple of the suburban areas of Walnut Creek! This statue is almost life-like.

Across the street from the bronze buck, I discovered this gorgeous mosaic on the side of the building next to L’Occitane. It looks like there is a string of flowers coming from each side of the frame and wrapping around the trunk of a luscious tree. It won’t surprise you to hear that this reminded me of walking in the Open Space.

What kind of artwork have you found while exploring Broadway Plaza? What about the rest of downtown? There is never a shortage in this charming little city of ours!

Art Town: Painted Frog!

I recently came across this in sculpture on my way to Physical Therapy. I hurt my shoulder back in March while skiing at Jackson Hole and kept thinking it would heal. In June, I finally went to my doctor to see if the PT would help. Muir Orthopedics recently moved to 2625 Shadelands Dr. in Walnut Creek. On the corner of Shadelands and N. Wiget, there is a community garden. On the Wiget side, I drive past this artwork and every time I laugh. This may not be the typical type of Walnut Creek art that I have shared in the past, but it is so funny and cute, I couldn’t pass it up!

The structure is made of rock, and shaped into a large frog with its tongue out, which is like a mosaic. The rocks have been painted to create a cute sculpture by the garden. I don’t know who created it, but I love it!

It’s refreshing to have a nice mix of goofy and eclectic art in our little town. We have a beautiful city to wander through, and this just adds another level of charm!

Art Town: BART parking

We discussed these cool pieces in a previous post about the Walnut Creek Transit Village, but I wanted to share the art and focus specifically on that. Also, you might need this link with so many changes coming to the BART parking situation. You’re welcome!
https://www.wcbartparking.com/

Dan Corson was the selected artist for the BART Station and it looks like it is part of his Grandicus work. This artwork celebrates its urban nature with bold colors that juxtapose its silhouettes against the beige backdrop of the parking structure. Sculpturally expressive in the daytime, the form and colors are designed to stand off against the neutral backdrop of the parking structure night, the artwork is designed to be responsive to the adjacent train environment.

It will celebrate the arrival and departures of the trains by changing color and providing chasing sequential colors that emanate from the cobra head fixtures. It is the intention that the colors will be more quiet and subdued (shifting between blues/teals/greens/yellows) and both sculptures slowly morph in the same color palette most of the time. When the trains arrive, the colors and speed of color changes and chases will become more “dynamic” and “active” and moveto a warmer palette (oranges/reds). Each train platform will be assigned to interact with one sculpture providing a sense of interactivity and dynamic change.

I have not seen it at night, but think the changing light will be in line with his other work that is quite spectacular. Check him out at: www.corsonart.com.

Monthly prices for a reserved spot in privately owned BART parking lot is now $120 a month. With Walnut Creek becoming such a hub for traveling workers, (see Riv.com a recent blog) it makes sense. All rents seem to be rising, look at the all changes in our local restaurant scene lately. At least this art brightens things up a bit!

There’s a new Bedford Gallery exhibit!

I love going to see local art in Walnut Creek, and the Bedford Gallery in the Lesher Center is one of the best spots. They rotate their exhibits seasonally, and their latest one (which unfortunately just ended), was called “Tradition Interrupted.”

From the Bedford Gallery website: “‘Tradition Interrupted'” explores the methods used by artists to conflate contemporary ideas with traditional art and craft in a range of media, from prayer rugs on skate board tops and quilts to metal and ceramic. After hundreds, sometimes thousands of years of crafting and creating, many traditional practices continue to visually define a culture. Merging age-old customs with innovation, the artists in this show redefine or reclaim culturally historic ideas to create hybrid works for our contemporary world.

That pretty much hits the nail on the head! I found all of the work from interesting and out of the box from artists around the world, including Azerbaijan, Morocco, and India in works seen in these photos. Up next, the Gallery is doing inflatable contemporary art starting July 14th. They have free admission every first Tuesday of each month. I highly recommend visiting!

Art Town: Untitled?

There is a new, and maybe unfinished, piece of art near my office by Walnut Creek BART! You can see in the pictures below that it’s a very interesting structure comprised of multiple circles – some of which have openings among them.

There isn’t really any information online and no plaque at the structure itself, so I do wonder what the origin of this piece is? I want to know if it was designed to look old and rustic, or if it’s just incomplete (or old, and I’d just never noticed it before!). Does anyone know?

Event Round-Up: May 18th

We’re almost all the way into summer here in Walnut Creek! The kids will be out of school soon, and the days will keep getting longer and warmer, giving us ample opportunities to take advantage of some awesome Bay Area events.

Diablo Symphony – May 19th (Walnut Creek)

The Diablo Symphony presents Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Bach’s Double Violin Concerto tomorrow at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek! You can get tickets at the door, preceding the 2 p.m. concert. The Symphony Orchestra will be joined by members of the San Ramon Valley High School orchestra for this performance!

Rooftop History Walking Tour – May 31st (San Francisco)

Real estate nerd alert! This sounds so interesting to me, and if you like rooftops with beautiful views, you’ll be amazed by which buildings in the city might have them. This is a really cool tour to take if you like history, as you’ll get into some of the more exclusive private buildings in SF. Tickets are just $35.

Art & Wine Festival – June 1st (Walnut Creek)

For the weekend of June 1st, you can take advantage of an awesome event right in our own backyard! Pair your wine and beer with food vendors, art, live music, a Kids Zone, and more! It’s time for the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival. More info here.

Image result for wine tasting

Walnut Creek First Wednesdays – June 5th (Walnut Creek)

Did you miss out on last month’s First Wednesday celebration? Because they are a great time! You can make up for it by coming downtown on Weds., June 5th to take part in a small street fair right here in Walnut Creek. Get more info here – you won’t want to miss it!

Walnut Creek Uncorked – June 20th (Walnut Creek)

Sip, stroll, socialize. Walnut Creek’s Uncorked event is taking place on June 20th downtown! You can sip wines, eat local food, listen to live music, and just wander downtown with your wine. I’d recommend getting tickets in advance, as this event is popular every year!

Art Town: “Dogs” and “Cats”

Anyone who knows me knows I love animals. I have a Weimaraner, Bodie, who is my best buddy! We go hiking together all the time, and I can’t wait to get home to him every day. He even occasionally comes into the office.

So, when I saw this utility box, you know I had to stop and check it out! They are simply titled “Dogs” and “Cats” by Ammo Waylon. I couldn’t find much information on these online, but they speak for themselves!

Two sides of the box are dedicated to dogs and two sides dedicated to cats. It sits right in front of Walnut Creek Yacht Club, which has some fun upcoming events and starting their 23rd year in Walnut Creek on May 7th. Check out the utility box when you stop by for either Mother’s Day lunch or dinner with a special fixed price menu (note: they are normally closed on Sundays or May 29th with their annual Rum Dinner); June 26th is not a Wine Dinner – its a Beer Dinner with the special guest founder of Calicraft Brewing. And finally Oysterfest #7 is on August 11th.