Solano Art Walk Follow-Up

On June 12, 2013 by rarw

IMG_2153    Berkeley is well known for being an artsy town.  Lots of artists live in the city borders, and everyone here looks like a walking art piece.  Furthermore, Berkeleyites love filling their homes with blown glass, one of a kind paintings, and custom made furniture.  So all of this leaves a very large question unanswered: why doesn’t Berkeley have an art walk?  Tons of cities no one would think of as artistic have managed to scrape them together: Anaheim, home to Disneyland, San Jose in the heart of Silicone Valley—the list goes on and on!  So where is Berkeley’s?  There were rumblings in the past that 4th street, home to bourgeois shopping might try to put one together, but let’s be honest: there’s hardly two galleries to rub together down there.  The ACCI gallery on Shattuck was rumored to be the IMG_2156banner gallery of an effort to get together an art walk in that neighborhood, but one has yet to appear.  Into this story walked Solano Avenue in North Berkeley: known for its peace and quiet-loving neighbors, small local shops, and venerable history, set among some of the oldest landmarks of the city.  Solano Avenue has one notable downside when putting together an art walk: it’s over a mile long.  However, the upside is there are 7 galleries or places that show art.  That’s a good start for an art walk.

IMG_2163 Having visited the Solano Art Walk on Saturday, I have to say it seemed promising.  Although the upper and lower Solano clusters were a little light on people when I showed up around 8, admittedly towards the end of the walk, the middle area was still going strong.  This is the area that contains Art Thou Gallery, Nielsen Arts

, Sacred Rose Tattoo, Gathering Tribes and Cafeina.  The walk is the brainchild of Tom Taylor who owns Art Thou, and Patrick Mercer, owner of Nielsen Arts & Framing.  To hear the interview with them before the art walk, click here.  Walking between these venues, the crowd was noticeably spilling outside onto the sidewalk, and the Jazz Band at Art Thou, booked by Patrick, gave the corneIMG_2157r a classy feel.  The art was also of a good quality, with some interesting offerings.  Maybe a but out of the price range of the younger crowd at the openings, but perhaps the right thing for some of the older, more wealthy art patrons in Berkeley.

Overall, the next art walk planned for October may very well be even more successful.  My only concern is that people may forget about this event by the time October rolls around, but hopefully more places will join in the event, and create more of a buzz around it.  An exact date hasn’t been set yet, but Berkeley is already eagerly awaiting the next Solano Art Walk.

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