Seekers of new and artistic experiences will find plenty of them at the first Downtown Art Walk of 2024, happening from 4 to 9 PM on Saturday, Jan. 13. As you walk historic Pine Avenue and The Promenade, and journey over to the East Village Arts District, you’ll experience first-hand why Downtown continues to be such a welcoming place for artists of all disciplines, and for those who appreciate them!
To give you an idea of the kind of art-filled evening you can expect, here’s a brief run-down of our experience at the previous Art Walk back in October.
We went into art mode the moment we parked our car and were greeted by the mysterious sounds of Long Beach-based musician Martin Espino, who was in the Art Walk’s Mosaic Hub coaxing otherworldly tones from his collection of primitive wind instruments.
When Espino finished his set, DLBA CEO Austin Metoyer stepped to the mic, thanked the crowd for showing up, and extolled the virtues of the Downtown arts tradition. Nearby, Oshea and Melanie Luja attracted Art Walk attendees with their inspiring paintings and books. “We’re culture architects,” said Oshea. “We love to love the people through art.”
We walked south on the Promenade and happened upon the vibrant, art-filled booth of LaJon Miller, who created the beautiful mural in Waite Court alley between 3rd and Broadway. Heading toward the East Village, distant music beckoned us, where the head-nod beats of DJ Research in the East Village Arts Park and an electrified jazz fusion set from the Curtis Crump Quartet in the courtyard of the Onni Apartments delighted attendees.
After stopping at the Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA) Downtown to check out some large-scale impressionistic paintings of Downtown by Carl Aldana, we encountered the emotional high point of the day; “Long Beach Rising,” a pop-up exhibition in its last day at the DreamKreator Studio Annex on 4th Street. There, visitors got to see once again the murals that covered Downtown storefronts during the intense COVID months of 2020.
“This exhibit has evoked strong emotions in the diverse audience it has had,” said Greg Johnson, Board President of the Arts Council for Long Beach. “People have broken down in tears. It’s important work because it is Long Beach history.”
We brought our Art Walk excursion full circle at the Mosaic Hub, just in time to catch a blazing set by alternative hip-hop artist (and 30-year Downtown resident) Anthony Cruz. Accompanied by the AMAZING vocalist and Long Beach resident Brandi Price and her husband on drums, Cruz was right at home making the Downtown crowd happy.
“I love the energy and vibe of Downtown,” Cruz told us.”The energy here is what made my sound.”
Attendees can look forward to the following exhibitions during the Jan. 13 Art Walk, among many more activations! Check out the Art Walk webpage here for more info.
The Acres of Books building at 240 Long Beach Blvd. will be the launch site of “Counter:image,” an exhibition produced by Studio One Eleven which explores diverse perspectives through the lenses of multidisciplinary contemporary artists.
Long Beach Museum of Art Downtown at 356 E 3rd St. will be presenting “Living Spaces,” an exhibition of paintings by Long Beach artist Tidawhitney Lek. Her first solo museum exhibition transcends boundaries, intertwining family, culture, and history in a powerful narrative.
The Hellada Art Center at 117 Linden Ave. will be hosting a reception from noon to 9 PM for resident artists Mark Morale and Steve Stein, whose works will be on display during the Art Walk. Morale’s paintings study the beauty and complexity of aquatic life; Stein expresses himself through several mediums, including photography, ceramics, and computer-generated designs.