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From the murals of downtown to the cute shops of Clovis, ArtHop has become a city-wide activity of culture. But, with over 50 galleries and studios scattered across the 559, it can be hard for someone who has never participated in ArtHop to know how and where to get started.
If you want some answers to your burning ArtHop questions, here’s your starting place. Your next Thursday night adventure awaits!
What is ArtHop?
ArtHop is a monthly opportunity to meet and greet artists, check out art galleries and studios, and enjoy receptions and live music. Basically, this is a great chance to see new art and enjoy Fresno’s vibrant artistic community. As an additional bonus, an art gallery reception usually has hors d’oeuvres and wine, and who doesn’t like snacks and wine?
If you’re just starting out, consider checking out this map and brochure created by the Fresno Arts Council. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are actually two ArtHop nights a month.
The first Thursday of the month is jam-packed with downtown and Tower District ArtHop locations. And the third Thursday of the month is for metropolitan and outlying areas, and includes locations such as Clovis Community College, the Betty Rodriguez Library, and Earth Arts Studio by Margaret Hudson.
These are all worth checking out. However, I humbly suggest that a walking tour of the first Thursday venues is a good place for a beginner to start.
How much does ArtHop cost?
ArtHop is a free event. However, it’s always smart to bring with you quarters for parking meters, and dollars for food trucks. Of course, if you don’t, you’ll still be able to see awesome art, but you’ll miss out on deliciousness like Tako BBQ.
Also, keep in mind that stores and businesses such as Root General Store, Ampersand Ice Cream and Tree of Life Café & Bakery host artists during ArtHop, and you might want to buy some cool/delicious stuff while you’re there.
Can you buy art?
Sure. Often, art will have a label with a price tag if it’s for sale at a gallery. However, even if you don’t see a price tag, you can ask the artist or gallery owner if the piece is for sale. (Even if the piece isn’t for sale, it’s still a compliment to the artist that you wish to purchase it.)
Where do you go?
To get started, check the Fresno ArtHop Guide Facebook page to see what shows are happening for the month. For example, April’s ArtHop at Chris Sorensen Studio will feature The Green Show, which is a collection of work made from recycled/repurposed materials. That one sounds pretty good.
While it’s nice to check in advance to see if there’s something you really want to visit, flying by the seat of your pants can be fun, too, especially if you find a cluster of locations within walking distance.
If you head to M Street, it’s usually pretty easy to find street parking, and there’s a cluster of art spaces worth checking out. The M Street Art Complex often has artist demonstrations, and is a combination of artist studios and galleries. If you want to check out one of the country’s oldest cooperative galleries, visit Gallery 25, which has been around since 1974. Finally, next door is the Fresno State Graduate Arts Studios, which showcases work from Fresno State faculty and graduate students.
From M Street, if you walk down Tuolumne towards Fulton Street, you’ll find Jewel FM Art Gallery. This spot is always hopping with live music. In addition to great art, you can also take a little peek at their broadcast studios.
Across the street is Frank’s Place at Warnors, and on Tuolumne is Root General Store. Additionally, pop-up shops and food trucks are often in the area, as well.
Earlier this week, I wrote about Broadway Studios, which is located right behind Jewel FM Art Gallery, on Broadway and Tuolumne. If you’re in the area, you must check out Broadway Studios, which is covered in murals on the outside and filled with artists and their work on the inside.
That’s a whole lot of art within walking distance – definitely enough for a pretty successful first ArtHop, I’d say.
Finally, people have their own favorite way to end an ArtHop night. Some might go to Full Circle Brewing Co. or to the Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. beer garden and eat tacos from the taco trucks, while some might head to Ampersand for a scoop of art and ice cream.
Bottom line? There’s no wrong way to do it! ArtHop is a great way to get your culture on (and maybe grab a few tacos while you’re at it).
ArtHop in a nutshell
To sum up, here’s how to do ArtHop:
- Decide if you’ll attend the first or third Thursday of the month (or both!).
- Check the Fresno Arts Council brochure for participating locations, then check your chosen locations’ websites/Facebook pages for info on what they have planned for the next ArtHop.
- Alternatively, you can scroll the Fresno ArtHop Facebook page for posts on events and shows. Also, The Fresno Bee is great about featuring notable ArtHop shows, so check that site, too.
- Bring change for parking meters if you’re going to be downtown.
- Pick a site to start, show up sometime after 5 p.m., and have fun!