There is a very good chance you’ll recognize today’s Art Town sculpture. Even if you don’t bank with Chase (or Washington Mutual, as it used to be known), you’ll surely have wandered past “Family” on the corner of Newell and S. Main before.
This is a bronze sculpture (it has changed colors over the years because of basic exposure to the elements) created by Richard Ellis and placed on that corner in 1982. It was one of the first public pieces of art in Walnut Creek!
Ellis made the 9-foot tall sculpture to represent a timeless scene of “a fleeting moment in time.” Very cool! Fun fact about Ellis, who studied Sculpture in Los Angeles: he crafted the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award that was presented to Oprah Winfrey in 2002.
I love this utility box art on Locust St. and Cypress St. by Ruth Kolman Brophy. She is an Austrian artist living in the Bay Area. As you can clearly see by this beautiful mural, she is very influenced by working with bold colors. What a great piece!
Z Gallerie has made a triumphant return to Walnut Creek!
Years ago, the furniture and home decor store was open where Patio World currently resides and now it has a new home where Anthropologie was on Locust St. This location might have more staying power than the last one, given their nice new storefront and the addition of more parking.
I went there recently and saw some fanciful items. The store is organized primarily by color. I especially liked the cool skull selection – also love those pillows. It is very hip with many accouterments, some furniture, and perfect for some last-minute Christmas gifts, too!
I remember when I first moved to San Francisco, I would browse Z Gallerie and think about the days I could afford their stuff and have a home to put it in. Flash forward to today: I see a lot of stuff that isn’t really needed, but are extras to decorate your home with in current styles. Either they’ve changed their merchandise, or I’ve changed my views!
One of my favorite utility box art projects is on the corner of Cypress and N. Main St. in downtown Walnut Creek near Bonanza; it’s called “Laws of Nature,” and was done by Netsanet Tesfay.
Information on the artist and the piece are scarce, but I love the childish, cartoonish lion overlapping with a passage from C.S. Lewis’ collection of signature spiritual classics.
Walnut Creek has been doing a really cool utility box painting project for a few years, and they’ve recently changed some of their art for 2017. You can see more information on the program and recent additions here, but we’ll be including some in Art Town moving forward.
This one is called “I’m Your Puppet” by Jennifer Bain and covers the utility box on the corner of Newell and Main. Check it out!
I had a client who recently moved here from Seattle and texted me asking if I knew of any shops to buy cute gifts for the home, kitchen, and/or baby. She had found these types of boutique shops in Seattle and Minneapolis, but didn’t know where to go in the East Bay.
She was insistent that it be a small, boutique-type store rather than your typical Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn stores. I immediately recommended Wish on Boulevard Circle in Walnut Creek. They are located in front of my favorite yoga studio (Just Be Yoga – another blog coming soon!), and I often meander through their store when I finish yoga.
Wish opened in 2013 and is owned by three generations of women: Susie, Sasha and 2-year-old Mila, who the website says is working on expanding their baby department! They’ve been in retail for decades, as Susie has owned retail stores all of her life and Sasha was in corporate retail in San Francisco. Wish also has a great vision of supporting the local community and giving back to it.
They always have creative, unique gift ideas and they sell my favorite candle, “Votivo Red Currant.” There is barbecue stuff for guys, jewelry, bridal shower gifts, decorations and tons of baby items. If you need to buy a gift or something special for yourself this is the place to go. Just take a look at the photos – a picture is worth a thousand words!
A fixture of the downtown Walnut Creek art scene since 1985, Jacques Overhoff’s “Lost in the Mail” sits on the corner of Civic and Main, across the way from the police station.
If you’ve ever grabbed a coffee at La Scala or strolled from Stadium Pub to Dan’s on a weekend night, you’ve passed this ceramic sculpture.
Overhoff, a Dutch artist, named this piece after the plans to assemble it literally got lost in the mail.
The design is supposed to be texture-focused and allow for softening and hardening of the features depending on the angle of the sun.
According to the Walnut Creek Arts Commissioner, some people believe the sculpture looks like a pizza with two slices taken out of it. I personally see some sort of decaying sun dial, but to each his or her own!
Have you ever been wandering downtown by Broadway Plaza and turned the corner around Nordstrom and ended up staring into the open mouth of a big, golden fish statue? It startled me the first time I saw it.
Of all the strange art in Walnut Creek, this is a strong contender for weirdest of them all.
The fish, which is actually entitled “Bronze Carp” is the brainchild of the late Luciano Tempo, a Venetian-born artist who specialized in classically-hand carved stone planters, tables, and statues.
If my research is correct, Tempo also has a bronze alligator and frog somewhere in Walnut Creek. I haven’t seen those, but they are said to be placed around Broadway Plaza in a similar setting to the Bronze Carp.
Though the fish isn’t the prettiest to look at, it’s fascinatingly strange and adds a little bit of spice to our downtown art scene. It seems Walnut Creek isn’t shy about throwing random artwork together, huh?
Last Thursday, you may have been startled by big explosions in downtown Walnut Creek. Don’t worry, it was only fireworks signifying Broadway Plaza’s grand re-opening at their “Party in the Plaza” event! If you missed the food trucks and concert that night, you can still catch the encore to the celebration tomorrow (Fri., Sept. 9) from 6-9 p.m.
Tomorrow’s festivities are themed “A Night of Thanks” and is aimed to thank the community for its patience and support during construction. There will be in-store events, musical performances, food and wine tastings, and more. Boudin, Clarks, GAP, Diablo Magazine and the Walnut Creek Downtown are sponsors and partners of the event.
We can’t guarantee more fireworks, but this seems like a pretty great way to spend a warm summer night downtown, exploring the newest re-addition to the city. The one-night only celebration will include a special “Meet & Greet” from a NYX celebrity beauty influencer, a Fall Fashion sneak peek, and a fundraiser for Wardrobe for Opportunity.
Stores participating with special events or deals include:
- Allen Edmonds
- Hanna Andersson
- J. Jill
- Kate Spade New York
- Soma Intimates