Walnut Creek has one of the most amazing ongoing public art projects a city can have and another one has just been completed. Strolling through Duncan Arcade downtown (the covered passageway that connects Main to Locust by the Amplify Barber Shop), I was thrilled to see some beautiful murals on the walls!
Bay Area-based artists Velia De Iuliis, Cannon Dill, Casey Gray, Sirron Norris, and Ricky Watts are responsible for the art and did so in partnership with Walnut Creek Public Art. The murals were described by Bedford Gallery as “dynamic and colorful,” and that description really nails it.
As for the future, the city plans to rotate murals regularly, to give new artists a chance to participate in the project. For now, I’d highly recommend making a detour next time you’re wandering downtown to see these murals.
This visually improved the walkthrough from Main to Locust! Check out the shops along the way, Norf London always has fun items, and now there is a photography venue focusing on baby pictures.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!