Modesto's Third Thursday walk fetes 10 years of bringing art lovers to downtownIt began in 2003 with just four galleries as a way to showcase Modesto artists. Now, 10 years later, the Modesto Art Walk still is going strong. It's been held the third Thursday of every month without interruption since its founding.
Sandra Veneman, co-owner of The Chartreuse Muse Gallery and Art School one of the original participants said she's proud of how the art walk has evolved.
"It's probably encompassed a wider range of local artists," she said. "It gives a venue for artists just starting to show some work."
At this Thursday's art walk, there will be 10 participants: The Chartreuse Muse, Crow Trading Company, Barkin' Dog Grill, the Building Imagination Center, Dezignz, Gallery 909 (run by art students from California State University, Stanislaus), Intrinsic Elements, the Mistlin Gallery (run by the Central California Art Association), Paper Planes Tattoos and Peer Recovery Art Project Gallery.
Besides The Chartreuse Muse, the only other group that has participated all 10 years is the Central California Art Association, which in 2003 operated the Modesto Art Center in the basement of the McHenry Museum. The other two original participating galleries the Anderson Gallery and the Edge have gone out of business.
Other businesses have come and gone throughout the years, too, and some have dropped out, in part because they can't commit to staying open late every third Thursday. While initially the art walk stuck strictly to galleries, now it includes other businesses, as long as they show art.
Crow Trading joined the art walk five years ago and co-owner Jennifer Williams soon took on a leadership role in organizing the event.
Her business, which focuses on antiques and home interior, always has sold art, so it seemed like a natural fit. "I think it's a great way for people to see the diversity of the shops downtown," she said.
The event is a way for friends to socialize and check out art around town. There is no admission cost, and many of the venues offer light refreshments. Plus, all ages can attend.
"It's fun for everybody," Williams said. "We'll see art teachers from all over the area bringing their classes to the art walk."
Since she came on board, the art walk has become a more structured event and less casual. Participating venues must now fill out an application to be included and pay a fee to be featured in the art walk brochure and on the Web site. The businesses must commit to staying open for the art walk for at least six months.
This Thursday, Crow Trading will show Raymond Jabola's photography exhibit on the historic California ghost town of Bodie. The Chartreuse Muse is continuing to show its exhibit "The Art of Tea," featuring teapots. Some businesses offer live music. Updated details on other exhibits are posted on Facebook.com/ModestoArtWalk.
Jabola, who has participated in two other previous art walks, said he loves the chance to see people's reactions to his work. "It validates what you do," said the Modestan, who started seriously doing art photography four years ago. "It's good to have people besides your family and friends look at your stuff people who have no bias toward or against you to look at the work for what it is."
Monthly attendance at the art walk usually ranges from 80 to 200. Attendance tends to be higher when the weather is better.
"I think it's great because of the interest it brings to downtown," Veneman said. "It gives Modesto a sense that there is an art community downtown."
WHAT: Modesto Art Walk
WHEN: 5-9 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Chartreuse Muse Gallery & Art School, 918 10th St.; Crow Trading, 1208 J St. and eight other locations (check Web site below for details)
CALL: (209) 522-0935