MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA, 5/3/22 – First Friday art walks are held in historic downtown Ukiah and Fort Bragg the evening of the first Friday of each month, in this case May 5. Galleries and museums open their doors to the public for free, often offering live music, beer and wine, and special activities to complement the art works presented. Here are our picks for what not to miss during May’s First Friday tour.
Start the evening off with a celebration of the newest murals in downtown Fort Bragg. The project titled “Join the Band” features three works by artists from Art Explorers, a nonprofit creative arts program that primarily serves adults with developmental disabilities. The murals comprise “Lady With Guitar,” designed by Kevin Pearl and painted by Pearl and Mike Barnes; “Drumming Kitty,” designed by Jonas Knutson and painted by Knutson, Jerry Turner, Stella Peterson and Robyn Peterson; and “Frilled Lizard Playing Piano,” created and painted by Jackson Deyerle. First Friday attendees are invited to celebrate the new murals with refreshments and snacks at the Art Explorers gallery. The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. The murals are located at 310 N. Franklin St. and Art Explorers is located at 333 N. Franklin St., Fort Bragg, (707) 961-6156, artexplorers.org.
The newest visual arts space in Fort Bragg, Art Scene Studio, hosts an open studio for First Friday. Located in the Forrester Building, Art Scene Studio is a co-working space for artists, providing work and gallery space. While there, check out the intense, emotional paintings of Tibi Geis. The Venezuelan-born American artist creates colorful large-scale works, often portraits, that are meant to be “deeply felt,” Geis says. Her works explore a wide range of topics from politics to art history. Artists Rebecca Wallace, Randy Tuell, Mark Baggueley and Cynthia Sumner will also display works. As a bonus, the studio’s new neighbors, the Mendocino Dance Project, will perform an improv piece. 5 to 8 p.m., Art Scene Studio, 309 E. Redwood Ave, Fort Bragg, (707) 633-4366, artscenestudio.com.
This month’s featured artist at Edgewater Gallery is popular ceramic artist Alexis Moyer. Moyer has been working with ceramics for over thirty years and owns the Pot Shop on Highway 128 in Philo. Moyer is best known for her animal sculptures, which appear to come to life whether as one of many creatures on her totem poles or displayed as stand-alone pieces. Moyer’s sculptures are whimsical, emotive, and bring out warm fuzzy feelings a pet or animal lover will love. This show features new works by Moyer, including animal works (don’t miss the chicken in a pot) and decorative heart sculptures that make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift. Edgewater Gallery, 356 N. Main St., Fort Bragg, (707) 964-4668, edgewater-gallery.com.
Like many artists during the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders, painter Janet Rosen found an opportunity to further her creative skills by drawing or painting a small-scale work each day of lockdown. Eventually, the project evolved into Rosen creating paintings and mixed media portraits of fellow artists from throughout Mendocino County. Each artist sent a photograph of him- or herself to Rosen, who then created a unique artwork using the photograph as reference. “Given the vagaries of photography, it’s often like gazing through distorted window glass to connect with the subject,” Rosen says of the creative process, “There also develops partway through the portrait-painting process a palpable tension between trying to be true to the likeness and surrendering purely to the act of picture-making.” In the exhibit, it’s likely guests will see a familiar face or two. The exhibit, “Art is Made Here: Painting Local Artists” will also feature live music from Clovice Lewis, a chance for guests to make their own artistic drink coasters, and a book sale. 5 to 7 p.m., Ukiah Branch Library, 105 Main St., Ukiah, (707) 463-4490, mendocinocounty.org.
The 14th annual Student Photography Show takes place at the Art Center Ukiah at Corner Gallery. The juried exhibit features works by high school and college students from Ukiah, all taught by photography instructor Lech Slocinski. This year’s theme is “Written in Light” which focuses on the use of light in photography. The show features large-scale works by students, including photos taken with traditional cameras and mobile phones. Live music will be provided by Michael Oberg. 5 to 8 p.m., Art Center Ukiah at Corner Gallery, 201 S. State St., Ukiah, (707) 462-1400, cornergalleryukiah.com.
Submissions for our First Friday June column must be submitted for consideration by Sunday, May 28, 2023 to [email protected]. Please include horizontal high resolution images without watermarks.