Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

ArtHop picks

I’ve already told you about the Jerry “Zits” Scott exhibition at 1821 Gallery & Studios — the “celebrity” show of the evening. Here are a few more picks on a busy ArtHop evening:


FIRST LADY FRENZY: A set of portraits of the first ladies of the United States is featured at Fresno City Hall. All but one of the paintings are by famed portrait artist Lawrence Williams, known for his depictions of U.S. presidents and other world leaders.


The collection was donated to the Fresno County Office of Education by the late Joe Levy, chairman of Gottschalks, the former Fresno-based department store chain. Levy purchased the set from Williams, who died in 2003 before the election of President Obama. To round out the collection, the education office commissioned a painting of Michelle Obama by local artist Ma Ly.

The exhibition, which continues through April, is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Fresno. Tonight’s ArtHop reception includes a 6 p.m. program featuring league member and Fresno State professor Diane Blair, right, an authority on first ladies.

CELEBRATION: It’s Gallery 25′s 40th birthday. The downtown cooperative gallery, founded by Joyce Aiken, has been a mainstay of Fresno’s arts scene. A members’ exhibit through April 27 celebrates the anniversary, featuring artists working in a variety of genres including paintings, drawings, photography, digital imagery and mixed media.



TATTOO CENTRAL: The Arthouse features “Poke and Ink,” a tattoo art show featuring Valley tattoo artists. Tattoo parlors include Resistance, Redwave, Liquid Fetish, Skin Decor, Black Ink, Tower Tattoo, High Class Tattoo and more. Live music will include Santa Mira, Tyrannosaurus Zebra, and Basura.



LIGHT SHOW: Spectrum Art Gallery features two photography exhibitions that focus on form, color and light: Sally Stallings’ “Everyday, the Light” and Virginia Wilson’s “Against the Sky.” Stallings writes:

My pieces for this show deal with everyday light and subtleties one sees around their home, through sheer curtains, on white dishes etc. It is about quiet light and how I view my surroundings. I will also be including a few of my early subtle prism drawings all about light.

Stallings-The Window Upstairs



Responses to "ArtHop picks"

Stephen says:

I applaud these first ladies of America.

I applaud the City of Fresno’s decision to honor them.

I was excited to see some people on a docent-led tour of these photos.

But I looked at these paintings sans docent, and I gotta tellya, I didn’t recognize many of them from these poor paintings. This ‘famed’ portrait artist should be ‘infamous’ instead. It’s the kind of work I think folks in Washington DC would think “Yeh – Fresno is a good place for those – maybe no one will see them there.”

I’d be curious to read and hear your impressions, Donald. Or anyone else’s.

Francine Farber says:

First of all, it wasn’t the City of Fresno that decided to honor the First Ladies. It was the League of Women Voters of Fresno in conjunction with the Fresno County Office of Education. ]

Second, the portrait artist painted the First Ladies from each one’s official Library of Congress photo, which in itself was a copy of an original painting. Whether the artist “prettied” up the paintings beyond what the photos showed is a possibility but we don’t know that. All the paintings were done by Lawrence Williams (now deceased) except for Michelle Obama, whose portrait was painted by Fresno artist Ma Ly.

Third, Washington D.C. had nothing to do with sending the paintings to Fresno. The set was purchased by the late Joe Levy of Gottschalks and was donated to the Fresno County Office of Eucation.

Having said that, it was exciting to see nearly several hundred people attend the opening reception last night and tour the exhibit. Without exception the comments were positive. People loved seeing the First Ladies all together and are hoping we can find a permanent home for them. The only other two sets in existence are in museums out of state.

Donald Munro says:

Stephen, I didn’t have a strong reaction to the paintings either positively or negatively. To me, they are traditional portraits, and simply that.

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