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Downtown Fresno is sprinkled with public art. From statues to murals, there’s something to see around every corner—and from local artists to a sculpture by Renoir, there’s variety for everyone. With so much public art to see, it can be hard to know where to get started.
Luckily, we have a Girl Scout to guide us.
Miranda Deis is the creator of MAD’s Downtown Art Guide (found here), and she conducts tours throughout the year. Although she goes by MADCOOKIEBOSS on Instagram, she is clearly much more than just cookies. Ahead of her next scheduled tour, I got the chance to ask Miranda a few questions about how she got started in her mission to get Fresnans interested in public art.
FresYes: What inspired you to give art tours?
Miranda Deis: After moving to the Cultural Arts District I realized most people that live in Fresno are unaware of the public art in downtown Fresno… especially kids. I decided to make MAD’s Downtown Art Guide For Kids for my Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the second highest award you can earn as a Girl Scout. You have to complete a Take Action project to better your community.
FresYes: How can people sign up for a tour?
MD: I have a Facebook page and all of my public tours are listed as events there. You can also print a copy of my self-guided tour, which is a two-mile round trip walking tour. I try to give public tours once a month, and my next tour will be on Saturday, March 10, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. We always meet in front of the Yokuts Indian sculpture on Fulton Street just north of Inyo. You can also schedule private tours for groups by calling (559) 577-9829, or direct message me on Instagram.
FresYes: How much are your guided tours?
MD: All tours are on a donation basis. I want to make sure everyone can attend regardless of their ability to pay.
FresYes: What is your favorite art piece on your tour?
MD: I love all of the pieces, but if I have to pick one it would be The Visit. I love that you can literally visit with the ladies.
FresYes: Do you have any advice for people who want to get to know downtown art more?
FresYes: What do you want to accomplish with these guided art tours?
MD: I have many things I want to accomplish but, most importantly, I want to get more people to visit downtown—that is why I made my guide for kids. They have to be accompanied by at least one adult, hopefully changing two different generations’ perspectives of downtown Fresno. Also, I have heard that a lot of schools are cutting the arts, so I want to inspire kids to learn about many different types of art outside of the classroom.
FresYes: What’s your favorite part about giving the tours?
MD: I love meeting so many different types of people on my tours and being able to teach people (kids and kids at heart) new things about downtown Fresno and its art.
If you’re in the mood to explore all of the culture downtown Fresno has to offer, a good place to start is with a tour by Miranda. And as a bonus, she might even sell you some Thin Mints while you’re at it.
Photos courtesy of Miranda Deis.