By Nicolas Miranda

Did you know that in our very own town of Pomona, local galleries showcase the work of artists?

About four miles away from campus, the city of Pomona holds its Artwalk and Market Night every second Saturday of the month, from 6 to 10 p.m.

It is located at the heart of Downtown Pomona, in the Arts Colony near the Pomona Station.

The local galleries, artists and vendors invite the public to come and gather to enjoy the variety of food, and experience the art on display since they change it every month.

I had the chance to appreciate some of the artwork this past Saturday, Oct. 13, to give a glimpse into what Downtown Pomona has to offer.

The first gallery that I chose to go was the Metro Gallery, which houses the work of RT Pece.

The exhibition, “Name These Paintings,” asks the audience to bestow a name to his artwork formulated from their own interpretation.

These painting are fashioned in a simplistic design element with concentration in color. The cartoonish feel to them left me with a nostalgic feeling that had me pause and enjoy the artwork for a while.

The muted yet intense colors really added to that dimension too.

The Metro Gallery also had free wine to go along with the exhibition, probably to evoke a playful interaction with the artwork.

The overall experience at this gallery was very enjoyable and justice was done in allowing the audience to connect with the paintings of RT Pece.

Before heading to the next gallery, I took a quick meal stop.

The local market stands had a variety to offer, which focused on a variety of local Hispanic foods, most notably Mexican and Salvadoran.

There were pupusas, tacos, elotes, tostilocos and much more to choose from. But if you aren’t up for these, the local bars and restaurants are open late for the night, from pizza and wings at Pizza Beer and Wings to Vietnamese cuisine at Pho Vina.

For this night I chose a delicious bacon-wrapped hot dog with grilled onions and peppers, and an agua fresca de jamaica, for just a few bucks.

The next gallery I went to was Gallery 57 Underground, which held the work of a variety of artists. The paintings of Adam Bellhouse and Jason LaMotte were overwhelmingly impressive. Bellhouse’s black-and-white stills invoke a mysterious illusion that feels both abstract and representational at the same time and very much organic as if it were to be in motion.

LaMotte created large canvas paintings that seem chaotic but tell a compelling visual story. Within the size of these paintings, small details compose the narrative, grabbing the viewer into a seemingly endless trance.

My next stop was at the dA Center for the Arts, that featured a current exhibit: “d’Aztlan: Aztlanization — Past, Present and Future.”

The displayed paintings capture the socio-ideological expressions that many Mexican Americans or Chicano/a/es feel as having two identities, and the aspirations of their communities maneuvering their place on this side of the border.

It is such an admirable exhibition that visually expresses the cultural aspect of many residents of Pomona.

Downtown Pomona holds Artwalk and Market Night every second Saturday of the month. (Courtesy of Nicolas Miranda)

Luckily, as I was attending the exhibit, an Aztec traditional dance group was to perform their piece.

They filled the room with their presence, and rhythmically petrified me in their intense choreography.

Dressed with huge feathers of saturated colors, beautiful intricate Aztec designs, and snail-percussion attire, the performers gave a show that connected us to both Mexico and Aztlán.

The Artwalk and Market Night had so much to offer, and even though I couldn’t participate in everything, it did leave me with a remarkable experience filled with exploration.

The work of RT Pece and the exhibition of d’Aztlan were the most intimate, as they tied to my childhood and identity; with simplicity of colors and subjects, and of the Mexican migrant experience respectively.

And it is something that I feel is thematic of the Artwalk and Market Night: to experience something, be it different or familiar.

The Second Saturday Artwalk and Market Night takes place in the Arts Colony in Downtown Pomona, at 191 W. 4th St. It is held every second Saturday of the month, throughout the whole year.

The Riverside Line going to the Pomona Station can leave you directly there, or from campus one can take the Foothill 480 bus heading east, a 15 to 20-minute ride.

Nicolas Miranda is a student at Cal Poly Pomona. He is a contributor to Harvest International.

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