by Kathy Eide Casas
This is one of many Earth Day related articles up in this issue! You can check out all of our going green articles here.
If you’re looking for the best way to celebrate all things earthy, look no further than the Earth Day Celebration at Central Fresno’s Radio Park, located at First and Clinton Avenues. Saturday, April 22, will bring a full day of ecological fun and education for all!
Radio Park will be filled with an array of day-long festivities featuring Kids’ Activities, a Commuter Bike Show, Live Entertainment, Local Food Vendors, “Green” Vendors, Educational Exhibits, and Tree Plantings. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day! This April 22 event is part of the Earth Day Fresno organization whose mission is, “To inspire people to make changes in their daily lives to help restore the ecological health of our San Joaquin Valley and the world.” Participants will be doing all that and more on Earth Day 2017.
The Earth Day Celebration will also include the Fresno Art Museum’s ‘FAMily Day,’ a day filled with earth-friendly themed projects, music, entertainment, and lots and lots of art! The fun starts at 11 a.m. and runs all day, until 4 p.m. The Fresno Art Museum (FAM) is located just steps from Radio Park. This FAMily Day event at the FAM is FREE!
The Museum hosts three FAMily Days throughout the year, and all are dedicated to community-building cultural events that are fun, educational, and designed to be enjoyed by the whole family. In fact, these FAMily Days were developed by the Museum to provide an opportunity for families to experience and learn more about the arts and culture with the goal of providing enriching experiences that inspire, engage, awaken artistic interest, and educate. FAMily Days are free events and occur in the spring, late summer, and during the Holidays.
The enthusiasm that Susan Yost-Filgate, the Education and Public Relations Director for the Fresno Art Museum, displayed when describing this year’s Earth Day FAMily Day was immediately contagious! Susan said, “This is such a special day for all of us at the museum and for the community as well.” She went on to describe a favorite activity that takes place on Earth Day, “One of the most popular projects in the museum is where kids and families use recycled material to create art! These are…really cool, really fun projects!” One special project is the City Development, where the entire city is built from unused promotional event postcards and other recyclables. This ‘city’ is complete with buildings, signs, cars, and streets! Susan emphasized, “It’s really something to see and is a perfect combination of imagination, creativity, and collaboration.”
FAMily Day at the FAM will also feature a group of musicians that will be performing “Trashique Music” from the renowned Trashique Fashion show, where all the clothing on the runway is made from recycled materials.
Earth Day Museum goers will also be treated to the current FAM exhibitions. The following exhibits will offer a unique an interesting perspective and are described by FAM below:
Hung Liu’s Scales of History Exhibit is part of the Fresno Art Museum’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist of 2016. Born in Changchun, China, in 1948 and raised during the Maoist regime, Hung Liu studied mural painting at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing before immigrating to the United States in 1984 to attend the University of California, San Diego. According to FAM, “Her paintings utilize prostitutes, refugees, street performers, soldiers, laborers, and prisoners as subjects, reinventing the moments captured through a lens while simultaneously acknowledging the passing of time and breathing new life into faded memories. Much of the meaning of Liu’s painting comes from the way the washes and drips dissolve the documentary images, suggesting the passage of memory into history.”
The Art of the Word 2 Exhibition features excerpted writings from children’s books by United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Carnegie Medalist Gary Soto and some of the illustrations their words inspired. Yost-Filgate explained that this exhibit was created to, “Focus on kids so they can really relate to those illustrations in children’s books. Having them appear in the museum is exciting for all of us.”
The exhibiting artists illustrated the words of either Herrera or Soto, creating pictures to enhance the stories by the respective writer. The artists include Joe Cepeda (Big Bushy Mustache by Gary Soto), Raúl Colón (Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera), Elizabeth Gómez (The Upside Down Boy: El niño de Cabeza by Juan Felipe Herrera), Susan Guevara (Chato’s Kitchen, Chato and the Party Animals, and Chato Goes Cruisin’ by Gary Soto), and Ed Martinez (Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto).
Head to Toe Wearable Art features artwork that uses the human body as part of the final piece. Featuring artists from across the United States and unique creations in a variety of mediums including metallurgy, millinery, painting, woodcarving, and weaving, this exhibition explores the complex relationship of wearable art with the fashion world, the art world, and the world of craft. Wearable art acts as a method of self-expression, innovation, and is a reflection of the millennia-old human tendency to create and wear beautiful things.
Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964 is a powerful exhibition created by McLane High School’s award-winning ArtVenture Academy students in 2014/2015, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. This thought-provoking and technically masterful exhibition includes nine large-scale (4′ x 8’) woodblock prints depicting historical events from the Civil War to the 1960s, an unfinished woodblock plate, a three-dimensional bus with African American historical figures and scenes symbolizing the “Freedom Riders.”
The project served as a vehicle by which students explored how young people can unite in the face of injustice to create transformative change in themselves and their communities. While embracing a diverse student population, the project gave voice specifically to the African American population through the lens of the Civil Rights movement.