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Heart themed art captures holiday representation

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, senior Stephan Melendez chronicles his once-a-month visits to ArtHop.

For the month of February, love was in the air in downtown Fresno, as many artists dedicated this month’s ArtHop to the beauty of hearts, Feb. 7. Several artists created heart sculptures, panting, and design to add flair to their pieces.

Artist like David Medley showed his artistry through heart representations. Using variations of the heart to the actual diagram and symbolism.

While various galleries were open still showcasing non-holiday art, Gallery 25, among only a handful of other galleries displayed Valentines day themed art. This was my first time seeing a theme art show, last time I attended one of Gallery 25’s art galleries I was displeased because the Christmas themed night they advertised did not happen. To see bright lights draped with red and pink colors was mood softening.

Walking into the gallery I saw each wall filled with a different interpretation of love, whether it was in a form of collages, sculptures, hand-crafted pieces, and paintings. It was interesting to see each individuals reaction to different ideas of art, for example the cement heart with rusted nails protruding out of the heart was one of my favorite, but the person next to me made the comment of “that’s stupid”.

I liked the cement heart because it kind of reminded me of myself, I am hard to understand and know, almost like the analogy of the onion, I construct cement walls around myself to guard from hurt and pain. The nails in my life represent how someone tries to hurt me, they will feel pain ten times more than I did. The sculpture of the cement heart hit home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how unique it was.

The gallery also previewed various art pieces by Medley and Karen LeCocq. Gallery 25, different from the other ArtHops that I visited that night, also entertained the viewers with an arts and craft table; anyone who attended had a chance to to create their own version of art from: cardboard paper, tissue paper, and other supplies. I thought it was great for the gallery to give everyone an opportunity to show off their own art.

The same night I also visited 1821 Gallery and Studios, which is another studio that promotes art by crafted by locals. Even though 1821 was not promoting a Valentines day themed art, it was still intriguing and brought in many people that night. I do commend 1821 Gallery and Studios for their patriotic art piece of the early American Flag; of all pieces that night I saw I could not stop thinking about the flag, there was something that drew me back again and again. Overall I think that was the best art show I had seen at 1821 Gallery and Studios, and was truly impressed with the priceless art that was unveiled.

After viewing 1821 Gallery and Studios, I ventured to the Arthop located in the Water Tower, by Art By hand, which also featured heart themed designs. Art By Hand is a part of Hands on Central California (HOCC), a non-profit organization that provides volunteers for over 300 agencies in five Central San Joaquin Valley counties.

After visiting Gallery 25 and 1821 Gallery and Studios, I ventured to the Historic Fresno Water Tower, which hosts an ArtHop gallery, Art By Hand.

Art By Hand sponsors multiple artists which provides dioramic designs, jewelry, as well as painting and sculptures which add creativity to the uniquely shaped gallery in the Water Tower. So along with the usual art that resides within the gallery, Art By Hand hosted Valentines day art pieces.

In the back of the gallery, a variety of jewelry and miscellaneous artistry was displayed with a back drop of heart themed paintings. The usual artistic wind chimes were replaced with holiday hearts designed in pink hues, adding to the detail and close-net homey environment of the gallery.

Unlike 1821 Gallery and Studios, Gallery 25 and the Water Tower used a creative outlet to capture the theme of Valentines day. Even though only two of the three galleries I visited were themed, 1821 Gallery and Studios still had creative art that captured the eye of the viewer.

Overall, Gallery 25 was probably one of the best ArtHops I had ever been to, I will definitely be attending the next one.

Check back next month for coverage on ArtHop, March 7.

For past coverage on ArtHop, read the Jan. 8 article, Alumna artist featured at local ArtHop.

Ryan King, Photo Editor also contributed to this article.

For more opinions, read the Feb. 8 article, Fifth Quarter creates sanguine atmosphere, relaxation (PODCAST).

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