Last weekend the focus of Benicia’s art community was Open Studios, the annual event when artists, mostly in the Arsenal, open up their work spaces for visitors.
This Saturday the focus shifts to downtown with Art Walk, the monthly event that draws tourists and residents alike to First Street for events, shopping and gallery gazing.
This month’s Art Walk, the second of 2015, aims to solve the eternal parental conundrum of finding a babysitter. The solution: Bring the kids!
The theme is Kids’ Eco Art, combining art with ecology, recycling and nature, Art Walk coordinator Judi Morales Gibson wrote on the Art Walk website, beniciaartwalk.org.
“With summer approaching, parents will be looking for activities for their kids so we hope to inspire families to seek creative projects using sustainable natural objects, as well as upcycled materials and obtainium,” Gibson wrote.
Outdoor guest artists will be set up at Treasure Commons, Benicia Plein Air Gallery, Joyous Spaces and Gallery 621 … all located on the 300 block of First Street.
“We are consolidating outdoor guest artists because people naturally head to the foot of First Street for events, so the top of First got no foot traffic last month,” Gibson said.
Some of the highlighted guest artists, who all work with upcycled materials, are Jennifer Negrette of Eva Knox Jewelry, which is all made with vintage findings; Leoni Lanzas, who makes upcycled jewelry and crafts; and Vicki Ovens, who makes upcycled steampunk jewelry with found objects.
Free family activities will include chalk art at the Tannery, hosted by Once Upon a Canvas, and an upcycled art project at Joyous Spaces, 301 First St., that will be led by Gibson.
Also at Once Upon A Canvas, 129 First St., Suite J, from noon to 6 p.m. Caroline Patrick will show paintings from her collection and talk about her upcoming classes.
Other Art Walk highlights:
• New work will be on display by featured artist Marshall Lockman at Benicia Plein Air Gallery, 307 First St. Lockman, a longtime LIFE Magazine photographer and NBC cameraman who retired in 1989, paints vignettes of life as he observes it. An opening reception for Lockman will be from 3-6 p.m. at the gallery.
• Across the courtyard, Gallery 621, 309 First St., celebrates its first feature artist since opening at the new location. Linda Stevenson Dunlop’s show “Making Waves” features her approach to monotypes utilizing sandpaper plates. New work by the Gallery 621 artists also will be on display. An opening reception will be from 5-8 p.m.
• Closer to the top of First Street, Lee Wilder Snider’s paintings grace the walls of Olson Real Estate, 920 First St., Suite 101. Wilder Snider paints a wide range of subjects, from everyday life scenes to humorous subjects. “Whether rendering dusk on a marsh, backlight through trees, or strip mining in a rain forest, I work to reflect both the beauty and vulnerability of our world,” she said. Wilder Snider’s opening reception will be from 6-8 p.m.
• Renee Marie Jordan of Jordan Real Estate, 1038 First St., has converted part of her business into a new co-op gallery called Gallerie Reneemarie. The co-op currently has 16 contemporary and urban artists as members. The gallery’s new co-coordinator and director, Stephanie Gray, is the first featured artist with this new configuration. Her work features mixed-media art. A grand opening reception will take place during the hours of the Art Walk, noon to 6 p.m.
• Meanwhile, over at the Arsenal, Arts Benicia is planning its EcoArt Summer Camp for Kids, which is four weeks of five- and four-day camps, with ecological themed art projects. This camp, which starts in June, is supported by the city Community Sustainability Commission. More information can be found at artsbenicia.org/eco-art.