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!

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: 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: 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.

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: 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?

Art Town: Egrito Grande

This utility box, though it’s beginning to peel, is so majestic to add to the utility box blog posts for art in Walnut Creek! It’s called “Egrito Grande” and features what looks like a giant, white crane with a nice red-orange backdrop that reminds me of a sunset.

You can check out this box on the corner of Broadway and Cypress. It’s been there since 2015, which is quite a long lifespan for utility box artwork in downtown! The artist, Chris Giotta, is local to Walnut Creek.

I tried to find out more information on the artist, but nothing came up in my search; it would be nice if Walnut Creek added a bit of information about each artist and the work even if it just a utility box. Luckily, one of my team members personally knows the artist and said Chris Giotta is a long-time resident of Walnut Creek who used to teach at W.C.I.!

Do you have a favorite utility box in Walnut Creek? Share them with me!