Downtown Martinez Art Beat places local culture on display

The Blond Room Salon’s Art Beat debut featuring artist Hazel Jean. (DANNY YOEONO / Martinez Tribune)
The Blond Room Salon’s Art Beat debut featuring artist Hazel Jean. (DANNY YOEONO / Martinez Tribune)
Special to the Tribune

Typically walking down the streets of downtown Martinez, you never know what kinds of interesting things you may find. Goers of last weekend’s Annual “Bay Area Craft Beer Festival” were pleasantly surprised to walk the streets and find Downtown Martinez’s Art Beat, a showcase of varying art forms ranging from paintings, live music and sculptures, all displayed in various studios and shops around the downtown area. The Art Beat takes place every third Saturday of the month.

Walking into ARTU4iA, 725 Ward St. #C, you were instantly stunned by the art pieces displayed on every corner of the room. Just looking around, one would never have guessed the amount of concentrated artistic minds that Martinez’s community contains. Many goers were enthusiastic and genuinely interested in every piece on display, as well as the meanings behind them. Many conversed about the pieces; some people seemed familiar, but many new faces showed up and fit right in with the crowd. The Craft Beer Festival complimented the Art Beat quite nicely, it turns out. It brought many people into attendance who otherwise may not have known of the Art Beat.

Upon passing Barrelista on Main Street, a crowd formed to enjoy the acoustic music being performed inside the coffee shop. The energy was relaxed; many simply sat down just to enjoy the music and atmosphere. It was easy to feel very “vibed out” when watching the musicians, Kyle Logan and company, perform their music, which unexpectedly also included a violin, making the performance that much more interesting to witness.

About a block away, on 624 Ferry Street at the Union Hall, one would walk through a door that you normally wouldn’t bat an eye at. Once walking in, you could witness a stunning display of art, mostly containing mirror/acrylic pieces by Allan Diosana, a local artist and Diablo Valley College (DVC) student. Almost all of his pieces contained a subject of nature inside a simple shape with a galactic background. One of his most popular pieces, “Youth Division,” one of Allan’s more personal pieces, had a fair amount of bidders wanting to bring this piece of art home with them. According to Allan, this was his last time participating in the Art Beat. He hopes that he will be able to move onto larger galleries, and hopes that one day he can open up a gallery of his own.

While admiring the artwork, a loud commotion could be heard coming from the back courtyard. Upon stumbling back there, Emilia Simmons sang alongside local band “Exit Nine.” A rather large crowd for such a small courtyard, the onlookers seemed mesmerized as Emilia continued to sing a couple more songs before stepping down, giving way for Exit Nine to perform their own original songs, as well as covers by artists such as “Arctic Monkeys” and “The Pixies.” The crowd seemed very familiar with the songs being played, and even sang along.

Jonathan Wright, owner of the Union Hall and a member of the Martinez Unified School District, uses the space he owns in order to encourage students to participate in the arts and gives them a venue to showcase their talents. Most of the artwork this month at the Union Hall was done by DVC students, while all the performances were by Alhambra High School (AHS) students, but Jonathan hopes that next month’s Art Beat will contain artwork almost entirely from AHS.

Galleries were also presented in shops such as States Coffee, Luigi’s Deli, Citrus Salon and The Blond Room, which featured many more talented artists. Every month, the Art Beat grows in both the number of participating artists and the number of people attending the galleries. It not only gives local artists the opportunity to display their work, but it also brings the community together to experience the unique culture that is Martinez. There are few communities that are as unique and close as ours.

The Downtown Martinez Art Beat, every third Saturday of the month. Be sure to stop by the next one and experience the artistic side to our community and meet great people!

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