By Coco Chica, Feb. 2, 2021
As the world spins out of control with curfews, lockdowns and outbreaks, businesses, galleries and museums were forced to find ways to creatively operate under challenging circumstances. This is exactly what Downtown Pomona accomplished this past year. The City of Pomona received the LUX Global Excellence Award as the Best Arts Event Destination in California this year.
The award, presented by LUX Magazine, is composed of critical and analytical comments from the public and industry experts toward some of the world’s most luxurious markets, businesses and service providers.
The nominations and winners were selected through a public voting system, which opened at the end of August 2020and concluded in January. The award announcement was made public on Jan. 20 through the Downtown Pomona Instagram account.
“Our mission is to create a vibrant community where businesses thrive and residents flock to our monthly art walk, restaurants, a stroll along our wide sidewalks, shopping or even just a simple walk for a cup of coffee,” said Marco Argote, creative director at Downtown Pomona Owners Association and the mastermind behind the plan of action that led to the award.
Innovation and creativity were the focus of the planning process conducted by his team to ensure that downtown Pomona’s art scene continued to strive during the pandemic. Events like “31 Flavors,” an outdoor art gallery, and the drive-thru holiday parade were a few ways to showcase the town’s creativity.
According to Argote, the positive response from the public of the COVID-friendly events led his team of creatives to continue to develop new and safe methods to allow residents to enjoy what downtown has to offer.
The award would not have been possible without the contribution and efforts of the galleries, restaurants and museums that add their personal touch of color to the City of Pomona. Geo Esparza, owner and curator at The Alley Gallery, believes the award is only the beginning for the community and its artistic capabilities.
“We really wanted to bring art accessibility to people of color and underrated areas where we can give the people of Pomona a platform for them to express themselves,” Esparza said. “We’re making this world more beautiful a wall at a time and, this way, we can involve the community into making their city a more beautiful place.”
Esparza and his team hope to offer the community — especially youth — the opportunity to express themselves through the various platforms downtown has to offer. The Alley Gallery will resume its popular exhibition, “31 Flavors,” in a drive-thru format in February where it will feature new artists weekly.
“This award has made us see how far the hard work we put into giving back to the community can lead to,” said Galo Galvan, manager at The Fox Theater in Pomona.
Although its shows are currently canceled, the theater has found ways to adapt outdoors with live exhibitions and virtual shows — offering a glimpse of entertainment and hope during these difficult times while creating an atmosphere that brings the community together.
“We’re working closely with the CDC and the county Department of Public Health to have artists perform once again in a safe environment and give the community something to look forward to,” Galvan said. If the theater’s plans proceed accordingly, live performances could return as early as April 14 with superstar DJ Madeon scheduled to perform.
For more information on Downtown Pomona and its upcoming events, visit http://www.downtownpomona.org.
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