Despite Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing Wednesday that Kern County is one of 19 in California that's being ordered to stop indoor activities in restaurants, movie theaters, zoos, family entertainment centers and museums, there is still a bastion for visual arts.

Although the Bakersfield Museum of Art had to close only hours after reopening, the much-smaller Bakersfield Art Association Art Center remains open with limited hours and an emphasis on social distancing.

"We will continue to be open," said Bakersfield Art Association President Iva Fendrick. "It is definitely a day-by-day situation."

The BAA, which displays work from a plethora of community artists, reopened on June 15 after being closed since mid-March, Fendrick said. The nonprofit art gallery at 1607 19th St. will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Visitors can expect hand sanitizer at the ready, plastic shields at the cash register, maximum occupancy is down to 12 people inside at a time and masks are a must.

"We are trying to be cautious," Fendrick said. "We will see how things go by August."

The featured art show this month is "Call of the Mountains," a group show by several local artists create mountainous landscapes inspired by California terrain.

Also this month, the BAA is showcasing the work of Robert Ross in a display at Dagny's Coffee Co., which is open for takeout and outdoor dining. The local painter, who studied with artists Clayton Rippey, Dalene Osterkamp, Al Naso and Harry Wilson at Bakersfield College, was an art teacher at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools for 15 years.

For those still waiting before venturing out into public, BAA will offer online shopping for featured works of art. Fendrick said that since many of its usual visitors are at greater risk if they contract COVID-19, the association started selling pieces online. The pieces available can be viewed at the gallery and online at or

Bowen West can be reached at 661-395-7660.

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