Downtown Pomona’s monthly Art Walk transforms the streets of the historic city into an artsy outdoor night festival. It takes place at the center of downtown at the Shaun Diamond Plaza at West 2nd Street and Thomas Street with art galleries sprawling across 2nd to 3rd streets.
The air is crisp, but the warm streetlights and outdoor music create an inviting ambience that doesn’t stop crowds of families, couples, and college students from art hopping and market walking.
With over 18 galleries that participate in the city’s monthly art walk that occurs on the second Saturday of every month, one gallery in particular stands out because its artists are a little younger than the rest.
The School of Arts & Enterprise gallery is located just after the train tracks, and inside is filled with art pieces made by junior high and high school students.
“For me it’s more of a hobby, but for my peers it’s more of a lifestyle,” said Jennifer Morales, a 12th grade digital arts major student at the School of Arts & Enterprise. “During our art classes we get assigned different themes that get to be on display in the gallery. One in particular was drawing our faces morphed.”
The School of Arts & Enterprise is a public charter school that goes from sixth to 12th grade, offering an education in dance, digital arts, music, theater arts and visual arts.
While walking from gallery to gallery, the sound of loud music can be heard coming from the popular Glass House music venue.
The clean streets and eclectic mom and pop-owned record shops, market stands, bookstores and bars make you feel like you are walking through a trendy revitalized city that causes you to forget about the high crime and lifeless downtown that once existed.
While walking through the popular “Da Center of Arts” gallery, one art viewer mentioned how the gallery used to be a furniture store where she and her husband bought their couch over 25 years ago.
Da Center of Arts gallery featured a variety of different art ranging from textured paintings to drawings and life-sized sculptures.
One unique piece that stood out was a painting of a woman standing with her arms raised. In front of the painting was a chain that hung from the ceiling holding up two buckets.
The bucket on the left was filled with cash; the bucket on the right was filled with red hearts, and this piece was titled “The Weighed Choice” by Jill Carol and Marcella Swett.
Da Center of Arts wasn’t only for art viewing but also creating.
The gallery provided crayons and colored pencils for attendees to draw and color on the surface of the vertical white tables in the center of the room. Many parents participated with their children.
Aside from the art inside the art galleries, there was a different kind of art for sale outside. Handmade goods from honey to candles, CBD dog treats, and hand-knitted hats and scarves filled the center of Shaun Diamond Plaza.
“I’ve been making candles for 30 years. I just do this on the side, but I’m retiring soon from my full-time job in Human Resources at the Department of Corrections and will do my candle business full time,” said Stephanie Ford, owner of Earth Friendly Botanicals.
Ford said it takes up to two weeks for her hand-poured soy candles to be ready for sale. First, she mixes the ingredients, then she has to let the candles cure for up to two weeks in a 72-degree room to produce optimal binding.
Juan Aguilar of Flores Honey has over 300 beehives where he and his wife create handmade organic, homegrown honey with flavors like boysenberry, alfalfa and wildflower being the most popular.
“As of right now we sell our honey at two farmers markets every week,” Aguilar said. “The bee population is less than half of what it used to be 60 years ago. It’s important to protect our bees.”
Attendees can listen to some good music, drink some delicious coffee, buy some handmade candles and honey, and support local artists and vendors at next month’s Art Walk on March 9.
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