Art Town: Bike Watchers

Walnut Creek isn’t just becoming a hot spot for dining options and to live – it’s also quickly filling up with quirky, mesmerizing art! That’s probably because city ordinance says 1% of any new construction project budget must be dedicated to erecting public art or donated to a public art fund.

Check out this new piece next to the Teleferic/Rooftop/Vineyard Vines building:

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Take a stroll around town, you will be amazed at all the art there is to see … one just needs to be observant.  Enjoy!

“Flux” on display at Bedford

IMG_9128 Sometimes you just have to get out of the office. Our Walnut Creek Lifestyle Group decided to take a little outing to the Bedford Gallery for its new exhibit (free to the public each first Tuesday of every month!), which preceded our meeting over beers at ØL around the corner.IMG_9125

The exhibit on display through the end of August is called “Flux” by artist Crystal Wagner.

The colorful art installation was built from chicken wire and disposable tablecloths and takes up almost all of the gallery space.

One of the most interesting things about the artist is that she does not pre-plan her installations; she looks at the space available and creates a twisting shape to fit it.

Wagner, according to the accompanying information at the exhibit, intentionally builds installations where the viewer is overshadowed by an enormous sculpture. She wants the viewer to be surrounded by bright colors and feel as if they are dwarfed by all the surrounding textures.

IMG_9127Her work is anchored in herIMG_9126 anxiety about the compromised state of the natural world but is designed to bring joy to her audience. The piece was really quite remarkable.

Check out the timelapse from the Bedford website below, as well as all the pictures my team took.

Also, keep an eye out for that ØL blog next Tuesday!

Live music in Broadway Plaza!

Courtesy: Foreverland.com
Courtesy: Foreverland.com

Looking for something to do on a lazy weeknight in Walnut Creek? Maybe craving another local live music show after your BottleRock or OutsideLands weekends? Well, you’re in luck!

Broadway Plaza is hosting its Summer Concert Series every Thursday night of this month. Each concert is free and open to the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

You’ve already missed one show on August 4th, but you can still catch:

  • Foreverland on August 11th
  • Mustache Harbor on August 18th
  • Tainted Love on August 25th.

Also, don’t forget the Party in the Plaza on September 1st: it’s a special event featuring a concert with Mark McGrath and Pop Rocks! For more information, click here. broadway plaza

This year’s event will be located in Broadway Plaza’s brand new Event Plaza, which is near Macy’s and the newly opened Broadway Lane.

They don’t allow outside food or beverage, but will sell both at the shows! Of course, you could always wander over to pretty much any bar or restaurant for a drink or a bite afterward from that location, too.

Walnut Creek continues to find cool ways to get its people outside this summer – enjoy and have a great time!   Just bit bummed about not bringing my cooler, but maybe that keeps it free!

Summer Music in Walnut Creek

Who doesn’t love sitting in the grass under a warm summer sun, jamming to some live music? Opportunities to do so are common in the Bay Area, but you don’t need to spend a ton of money or travel to San Francisco for a music festival to do so.

guitarIn fact, two events are happening in Walnut Creek this summer that may be the perfect fit for someone looking to take in an easy, cheap outdoor concert.

Summer Sounds Outside is a series of free concerts on the Lesher Center for the Arts plaza. On June 30th from 5:30-7:00 p.m., Box Set Duo Trio – who has played with artists like Dave Matthews Band and Willie Nelson – performs. You can take your pick from jazz to classical to acapella – check out the lineup and additional dates on their website here.  In addition to Box Set Duo Trio, Chris Cain, Anderson & Roe and Blue Jupiter A Capella will perform this summer.

If you’re still looking for something fun to do on 4th of July, you can check out a free musical tribute by the Walnut Creek Concert Band (under the direction of Harvey Benstein). Head out to Civic Park before 6 p.m. to catch the show!

Always a fun evening, so don’t forget about the Broadway Plaza Summer Concert Series, which has live performances every Thursday night in August:

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  • August 4th: Petty Theft
  • August 11th: Foreverland
  • August 18th: Mustache Harbor
  • August 25th: Tainted Love

Hope to see you there!

 

A Walnut Creek Art Show…Made from LEGO’s!

IMG_7796Everybody is familiar with the little multi-colored plastic bricks that we all used to build towers and spaceships out of. Well, New York artist Nathan Sawaya has taken LEGO creativity to a whole new level. He builds everything from life-size skulls to dresses out of LEGO’s.

If you visit the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts through December 20th, you can see Sawaya’s exhibition “The Art of the Brick” and a collaboration with photographer Dean West called “In Pieces.”

The art looks truly amazing and impressive. Whether you go alone or take your kids, this is a fun way to spend a few hours in downtown Walnut Creek this holiday season.IMG_7830

On Tuesday, I visited the Bedford Gallery to see the exhibit myself. One that really caught my eye was “Dress,” which shows a woman’s red dress, made entirely out of LEGO’s, disintegrating into the wind. According to the placard next to the piece in the exhibit, the piece leaves it up to the viewer to decide who she is, why she is standing there, and what happens to the little red bricks of her dress floating in the wind.

Another cool exhibit is his multi-colored skulls which represent his rocky past with LEGO, which initially sent him a cease and desist letter for his work using the trademark.
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The artist’s ability to speak to the emotions of the viewer and human nature in general is what makes the artwork resonate with me. His intricate portrayals of human nature and the general struggles one faces in a lifetime is what draws us in. The ability to create these messages out of a children’s toy is what will keep me coming back.

Bedford Gallery will also display an exhibition of sculpture by Jud Bergeron during this time, which reflect the experiences of becoming a parent. To see all the exhibitions at Bedford Gallery, get more information here.

General admission for “The Art of Brick” is $7, youth (5-17) are $3 and children 4 and under are free. Also, First Tuesdays are free admission for everyone. This weekend, it’s free with an arts and crafts show dispersed throughout the Lesher Center. Go check it out! Here are some more photos of “The Art of the Brick” exhibit below:

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Banjo Hall of Fame Artist Live in Walnut Creek

Peets Coffee & Tea

There’s absolutely nothing better then a crisp California morning with a hot coffee and live banjo music. Yes, I said it banjo music. Most mornings from 8 to 9, Harry Higgins and friends come together to entertain folks getting their day started with a hot drip. The group performs for fun outside Pete’s Coffee and Tea on Locust Street in Walnut Creek. If only I could start every morning listing to the beats of a Banjo Hall of Fame musician. Hopefully you can make it one morning, this video doesn’t do it justice.  Just another thing I love about living in Walnut Creek!!!

Public Art Walk thru downtown WC

Are you aware there is a thriving public art program in Walnut Creek or do you make the same drive every day not noticing some of the special work residing in the downtown area? Commercial development in Walnut Creek is to thank for the Public Art expansion. In 2000 the stipulation was created that commercial projects over 25,000 sq. ft. must commit no less then 1% of the building costs to an art installation. Smaller projects must also commit a less percentage. art_WC A cool concept with the premise that public art helps make our city more livable and more visually stimulating. The experience of public art makes the public areas of buildings and their grounds more welcoming and it creates a deeper interaction with the places we visit, work and live.

Can you think of the many works of art in and around our city? I can’t wait to see the living wall on the building currently being built next to La Fogata on the corner of Main & Mt. Diablo and hey, what about the great visuals on the fences to block the construction site!

If you would like to know more about art in Walnut Creek, join the Bedford Gallery docent led walking tour of our prime public artworks the third Saturday of each month from April – November. Admission is $5. Meet in front of the Lesher for an 11:00 am start which lasts 1 hour. Then enjoy lunch in one of our many wonderful restaurants. What a relaxing way to spend a Saturday.

Utility Box Art in Walnut Creek

The Bay Area is a region of cutting edge ideas, that runs on creativity and vision.  Walnut Creek as a city and a community finds it important to incorporate these inspirations of creativity and art into the evolving landscape of the city (which I might add has been well planned for years, starting with the insight to set aside open space for all of us to enjoy so close to home).

The Utility Art project demonstrates the growing public art movement of the city.  These ugly utility boxes that stand on street corners, now curiously feature works by local artists featuring animals, abstracts, landscapes on eleven signal boxes throughout downtown.

The first time I saw one, I wondered about it, it definitely will spark a conversation.  You may like them or you may not – they are bright and different, but isn’t that what art is suppose to do – make you think differently!

Share with me your favorite and least favorite.  The painted utility boxes are to stick around for 18 months, I think they should stay, maybe with rotating artists.   I could only find 9, but one article said there were 11, does anybody know where the other 2 are located?

Left “Crossroads 4”  Right “Freedom”   |   Artwork by : Carol Aust   |  Located at N. Calif & Olympic (Sports Authority)

U1

“Humility”  |  Artwork by Andrea Thrams  |  Located at N. Main & Civic (Eleve)

U2

“Windy Day”   |  Artwork by:  Carol Aust   |   Located at N. Main & Bonanza (Wells Fargo Bank)

U3

“Where The Other Sock Goes”   |   Artwork by: Julie Alvarado   |  Located at Locust & Mt. Diablo (Union Bank)

U4

“This Is How It Is”   |   Artwork by:  Nathan Huff   |   Located at N. Main & Cypress (A1 Shoe Repair)

U5

“All That”   |  Artwork by:  Jake Watling   |   Located at Botelho & N. California (Project Pie)

U6

“Mt. Rosalie”   |  Artwork by:  Mary Anne Kluth    |  Located at S. Main & Olympic (Talbots)

U7

“Above and Beyond”   |   Artwork by:  Marcos LaFarga   |   Located at N Broadway & Lincoln (Library)

U8

Left “Don’t Worry Mountain”  Right “Hexagons”  |   Artwork by:  Kristin Farr    |   Located at Civic & Locust (Lettuce)

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Detail on “Don’t Worry Mountain” |   Artwork by:  Kristin Farr    |   Located at Civic & Locust (Lettuce)

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Christmas Caroling in Parkmead Neighborhood

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Saturday, December 20th 7:00-8:30 – Starting at 1701 Lilac, ending at 190 Arlene Dr. Please, note the different starting place!!

All are welcome to come along and sing holiday songs. Make sure to dress warmly, wear your festive apparel and be ready to sing and meet your neighbors.!

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Lyric sheets can be printed at www.parkmead.org.

Hot chocolate & cookies will be involved 🙂

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The event will be on regardless of rain

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Organized jointly by the PCA Board & neighborhood youth.