Every September, the only thing hotter than the forecast is the downtown arts scene. The ninth First Friday of the year is always billed as the biggest draw, with hundreds filling the downtown arts district for a number of art exhibits and activities.
A major draw for the night is Latination, an annual juried exhibition honoring Latino culture at Metro Galleries. This is the ninth year for the popular display featuring a wide array of styles and themed pieces.
More than 50 works will be on display, including paintings, drawings and mixed-media pieces like “Cuando Conseguimos La Silla en la Mesa? (When Do We Get Our Chair at the Table?)” by Los Angeles artist Sean Yang.
Nine new artists will be featured this year, along with a number of returning artists including Alberto Herrera, Jorge Guillen, Jesus Fidel, Victor Gonzales and Jose Lemus. While most participants are from Bakersfield, there are some from Los Angeles, Fresno, the Bay Area and Taos, New Mexico.
Metro owner Don Martin said he did not give artists a theme, as he has done in some previous years, but that the show overall is more political this year.
Thirty-five judges, a mix from the community including Mayor Karen Goh, Ward 2 City Councilman Andrae Gonzales and assorted TV news personalities, evaluated the work Tuesday. Winners will be announced Friday around 7 p.m. with cash prizes for first and second place, best of show and the Betty Leonor Award, given in honor of the artist whose sensual portraits left an indelible mark on the show. (Leonor passed away at age 44 in 2015 from liver cancer.)
Also included in the exhibition are works from Bakersfield High School art students, curated by instructor Vicki Smart (who is also curator of the Younger Gallery downtown). Those pieces, created at the beginning of this school year, were not judged but will be on display in the gallery's mezzanine.
The reception, running from 5 to 9 p.m. at the gallery, 1604 19th St., will include food from El Pueblo, which will also sell margaritas. (Although only Martin is served one in an oversized glass with straws to share.) Music is provided courtesy of Mento Buru.
And if you can't make it out this Friday, take heart. For the first time ever, Latination will remain on display for a second month, with a second reception Oct. 6.
Much like Latination being a key exhibition for Metro, so too is the September show at the Bakersfield Art Association's Art Center. On display Friday is the BAA group show highlighting the work from the association's 2018 calendar.
With the theme “Kern County at its Best," the 14-month calendar features work from 15 BAA members: Rhonda Martin, Randall Bergquist, Jim Bates, Laurie Dodge Paci, Shirley Rowles, Karen King, Patti Doolittle, Coral Poole-Clark, Marsha Black, Floyd Dillon, Charlotte White, Martin Varga, Kathy Schilling, Laura Valenzuela and Iva Fendrick.
The calendar serves as a major annual fundraiser for the association. It will be on sale for $15 at the reception running from 6 to 8 p.m. at the art center, 1607 19th St.
The art association will also host two shows at Dagny's Coffee Co. Iva Fendrick is the featured artist with her show “People, Places and Things" on display in the coffeehouse's front room. The display will feature a breadth of her work, including portraits, landscapes and still life — in a variety of media — as well as excerpts from Fendrick's 50-plus sketch books.
“I almost always carry a sketch book, while waiting in line, at a doctor’s office or attending one of my husband’s many musical performances," she said in the BAA's newsletter. "I draw, usually with a pen, that way I can’t erase.”
Also on display in the shop's annex is the ongoing group show “Falling” including work by Marsha Black, Cheri Sperl, Martin Varga, Annai Smith, Norma Neil, Stella Mullins, Norma Eaton, Randall Bergquist and Clark Long.
The reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dagny's, 1600 20th St. The band Moon Spirits will perform starting at 6.
Younger Gallery will host a closing reception for its exhibition, "Synchronicity X3: Louie Chavez, Alberto Herrera, Nano Rubio." The dynamic show can serve as a complement to Latination, as it features works of intense colors paying tribute to the artists' ethnicity.
Herrera's work is also on display at the Metro show and Rubio has paintings exhibiting internationally, in Germany (HilbertRaum Gallery in Berlin) and Australia (the upcoming exhibition "Satellite I" in Brisbane).
The reception is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the gallery, 1430 Truxtun Ave., Suite 105.
The Bakersfield Museum of Art (1930 R St.) is moving its free yoga session to with Samsara Wellness Center from the sculpture garden to the cooler gallery. Attendees can unwind from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Those who just want to chill at the museum can do so for free until 8 p.m.
The "Art to the Rescue" show at Rags to Rescue (234 H St.) highlights the work of German pop artist Gabriele Muller. Her paintings of animals and other subjects that struck her fancy are available for sale, with proceeds going to aid H.A.L.T. Rescue, which helps local animals in need. The reception runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
New downtown events venue The Belle Rae will put its best foot forward for its First Friday reception. The 18th Street shop will host a pop-up shop with local online retailer Suede & Stone, serve appetizers from Chef's Choice Noodle Bar and pour complimentary wine. Singer-songwriter Crimson Skye will perform at the event, running from 6 to 9 p.m. at 2104 18th St.
Those looking for music can head to Mi Peru (1310 19th St.), which is hosting a Noche de Sabor. DJ Kosmo will spin tunes at the restaurant, playing the best salsa, merengue, cumbia and bachata. The fun, featuring $3 Bud Lights and $20 rainbow buckets, kicks off at 9 p.m.
Other musical options are The Mark Restaurant (1623 19th St.), which will have a performance by The Aviators starting at 8 p.m., and Sandrini's Public House (1918 Eye St.), hosting "El Oficial Latination 9 Pachanga con Mento Buru y Senor Phate" when the ska band heads around the corner from Metro to rock the bar starting at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $5. Three Bad Jacks will perform at Riley's Tavern (1523 19th St.) starting at 8 p.m.
The Padre Hotel (1702 18th St.) has two shows on tap: Dueling pianos will musically compete starting at 9 p.m. at the Padre Hotel's Prairie Fire bar. And the hotel's Prospect Lounge will host the Latin Divas Show with La Marcha and Power House singer Sonia Lupian. DJ Jaimito will bring the jams between sets. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door.