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“Enriching People’s Lives with the Arts!”

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Another op’nin another show!

Like the opening of a new show, anticipation of each New Year brings a revue of the cast members we communicate with about the arts in Fresno. Daily we learn about new projects, performances, books, and art shows; opportunities for poetry readings, and proposed new murals.  Nothing stops the curtain from rising for cast that makes up our arts community.

We look forward to a change in Municipal and County government players, with hope for new opportunities.  As an arts community it is incumbent on all of us to reach out to these new elected officials and share with them the important role the arts play in the economic vitality and overall quality of life in Fresno County.  Let them know that Fresno residents want and need their partnership and support for the arts.

At the State and Federal level the script has opportunities and some uncertainty.  This year the California Arts Council has received increased funding of an additional 6 million dollars from the Legislature and is offering 14 unique grant programs more than ever before. Contact FAC so we can help you apply for these new programs. What we don’t know, is how this might be impacted by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is unclear whether our new federal administration will continue the same level of support we have currently, which could impact what we receive from the state.

Here at the Arts Council the stage is set for a celebration of ArtHop coming of age.  For 21 years the arts community, particularly galleries, have flourished and presented their best on the first and third Thursday of the month, giving us cause for festivities.  As a result of tremendous work, the creation of new partnerships, and the generosity of many of you, we have strengthened our programs, and will continue to seek new ways to remain front and center in support of the arts.

So like in show biz, “The overture is about to start, You cross your fingers and hold your heart, It’s curtain time and away we go Another op’nin, just another show!”

Revel in the Arts!,


Board Retreat 2016

Arthop is 21

In 2017ArtHop is celebrating its 21st anniversary! The beloved art and culture event takes place year-round in Fresno every first and third Thursday of the month. Grown from humble beginnings, the program now includes over sixty participating galleries, studios, artist receptions and other creative venues. The event supports professional, student and amateur artists, local businesses, and community groups.

With constantly rotating exhibits and venues, there is always something new to experience at ArtHop—from the popular November Nudes show at Sorensen Studio, to modern music from Violin on Fire, or a street circus behind JewelFM. The program also builds awareness for causes such as breast cancer, mental health and organ donor appreciation, with venues creating shows centered around these issues. Many community groups and schools have participated, including the Social Vocational Services program at Tower Arts, United Cerebral Palsy artists, Roosevelt School of the Arts, Big Picture Middle School, FUSD at M St., CSU Fresno and Fresno City College.

The program was formally established in 1996 in a collaboration between the FAC, it’s former director Kathy Lustig, and local artists Frank Arnold, Robert Ogata, David and Sharon Alexander and Jane Whitehurst, who is credited with coming up with the name ArtHop. Arnold and Whitehurst were inspired by a visit to Portland, where they took part in a similar open gallery event. They contacted the FAC to start a program in Fresno, and the rest is history. “I started visiting some of the studios and making phone calls, asking artists if they would participate. I think we started out with 16 galleries initially. It was pretty grassroots,” says Lustig. “At first it was kind of slow, but it just gradually built and it got to the point where artists were calling us, saying, ‘hey, we want to be part of ArtHop,’ rather than us having to go out and solicit people. And it kind of took off.”

Program coordinator Julian Ramos attributes ArtHop’s success to inclusivity. “Shows and exhibits change every month and there’s always new pieces being created and displayed. Each venue has it’s own way of putting on an ArtHop. There are venues that appeal to every demographic, and yet they’re so close to one another that it creates this beautiful overlapping of generation, economics , and culture.”

“I think that what I feel really good about is that several of the initial artists who were in ArtHop are still in ArtHop. I’m thinking that ArtHop helped those people to  grow their art spaces, and if it didn’t grow them, it kept them going,” said Lustig.

“I think it’s raised the awareness of people in the community. I’ve seen lots of young people going to ArtHop—that’s what we wanted. We wanted people to know that there are really good artists here and that you can go and see them. So I feel really good that it’s grown to what it is.”

Happy anniversary, ArtHop!

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In Memoriam

Hal Tokmakian

We miss our good friend, and board member, but bask in the afterglow, from his gregarious personality, great stories, love of life, and continuous support of the arts.

Seeking Artist Submissions: “Arts Alive in Agriculture” Exhibition


The Fresno Arts Council is seeking submissions for their fourth annual Arts Alive in Agriculture show, which will be held April 6, 2017. Works on display will demonstrate appreciation and respect for the Central Valley’s abundant agricultural industry, which plays a critical role in providing produce for millions of people across the nation. “Regardless of any sort of acknowledgment, growers work hard each and every day to yield good crops, and provide for so many Americans. Their dedication to their craft is truly admirable, and it is time to illustrate that through the arts,” said Executive Director Lilia Chavez.

The goal of the exhibition is to highlight both the challenge and the charm that the industry represents: from the strenuous hours and struggles of local growers and workers, to the beauty of the agricultural landscape. Artists are encouraged to demonstrate what makes the Central Valley unique—often called the most fruitful region in the world, the Valley is known for it’s endless expanses of vineyards, furrows and orchards.

The exhibition will feature mixed-media works in painting, sculpture, photography and found objects in three categories: “The Human Component of Agriculture,” “Technology and Machinery of Agriculture,” and, “Agricultural Landscapes.” The show will not only acknowledge the importance of agriculture in the region, but will celebrate the distinct voices and perspectives of local artists. “The individuality and personalization of our local artists establish the element of familiarity, which is essential to illustrating the role that agriculture plays in our community,” said Chavez.

Artists must submit their work by February 24, 2017 to be considered for this juried exhibition. Cash prizes will be awarded, all accepted entries will be showcased at Fresno City Hall for one month. More information and artwork guidelines can be found at

“The local flare of our artists allows for the demonstration of a variety of perspectives that nourish Fresno’s growing art scene, much like growers nourish their crops. It is tremendously important that we are able to convey such personality in the artwork of this year’s exhibition. We look forward to receiving your submissions!” said Chavez.