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April showers us with art this First Friday

As we continue in a less-restrictive tier, this month’s First Friday is closer to what we have come to expect with art to see and things to do.

Although the Bakersfield Art Association Art Center will not be holding a reception for its show, it will be open during the day on Friday, giving visitors a chance to see Jim Bates' exhibition "Europe in Ink.”

The show is a reflection of his art drawn from travels throughout Europe. Having drawn in ink since college, it is a medium he returns to especially while traveling.

Bates chose a variety of architectural scenes, each with special meaning to him, including the Arch of Constantine in Rome, a bridge in Venice, the Spanish Steps in Rome and the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge in France.

“I enjoy the challenge of representing these majestic and historical locations in black and white,” Bates said in the BAA newsletter. "Some are well-known and others are personal locations that he has had the privilege of witnessing and hopefully his drawings capture the historical nature of these locations. Each drawing has a special meaning to him and he hopes that you enjoy these images as much as he enjoyed drawing them."

"Europe in Ink" will remain on display through April at the BAA Art Center, 1607 19th St., which is open until 4 p.m. Friday. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 

Over at Dagny's Coffee Co., “A Little Bit of Everything," an exhibition of Mike Montalvo's work, is on display.

The show lives up to its name, an eclectic mix of subjects, including celebrities such as beloved local musicians Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles and a tribute to Kobe Bryant.

Montalvo has been an artist since he was 5, taking his uncle's artwork home to try and reproduce it, according to the BAA newsletter. Later focusing on his education, he earned his degree in English literature, while also taking as many different art courses as he could afford while in school. That varied education is reflected in his work, which includes different techniques and styles.

He believes art exists to bring forth some kind of emotional response from the viewer. He has done paintings which caused the customer to cry. Some of his pieces have offended onlookers. He feels it is his job as an artist to bring out these feelings. “If someone looks at my work and loves it that’s great but if they hate it or are offended by it, that’s OK too. They don't have to look at it. But at least I have caused them to feel something.”

An emotional response is something Montalvo seeks with his work, whether it be positive or negative. He has made a customer cry with emotion and has also offended viewers of other work. 

"If someone looks at my work and loves it that’s great but if they hate it or are offended by it, that’s OK too," he said in the newsletter. "They don't have to look at it. But at least I have caused them to feel something.”

“A Little Bit of Everything" can be viewed at the coffeehouse, 1600 20th St.

Both the aforementioned shows will also be shared on the BAA Facebook page (

Bakersfield Museum of Art

This caps an exciting week for the Bakersfield Museum of Art, which reopened to the public on Tuesday.

The public was excited to return, with guests lined up before opening on Tuesday, staff said. 

Admission is free for First Friday, with hours extended until 8 p.m. The evening also features a free yoga and meditation class in the BMoA Tejon Sculpture Garden from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Space is limited to 40 participants. (Visit for more details.)

All three of the current exhibitions have been a draw this week, with country music fans enjoying the detailed work and vivid color of musicians' stage costumes featured in "The Bakersfield Sound: Roll Out the Red Carpet" while others also drawn to colorful work enjoying the familiar neighborhood scenes created for "Uncommon Perspective: Paintings by Art Sherwyn."

Visitors seeking tranquility have taken in the meditative quality of Linda Christensen's work in "Color + Figure: Paintings by Linda Christensen," which is displayed in a gallery that invites guests to sit and consider the work.

Museum programs continue into April, with Saturday Studio classes online for artists age 6 to 16 on the challenge of color-coordinating. On Second Saturday, April 10, the museum will release the latest episode of its podcast featuring a conversation with exhibiting artist Linda Christensen. Those who want to visit in person are also encouraging to make a day of it and bring a picnic to enjoy in the sculpture garden.

And the 19th BMoA Visual Arts Festival opens to the public online on April 16 featuring works from California artists that expresses the artist's interdependence on and connection to society.

Curator Rachel Magnus said she is thrilled to have the public returning to enjoy what the BMoA team has prepared.

"We're most excited to see museum visitors considering, enjoying, and being inspired by the work we endeavor to provide to our community," she wrote in an email. "We consider ourselves caretakers of these important objects. They truly come to life, though, when we can share them with others."

The museum is located at 1930 R St. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (with hours extended until 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month).

For more information, visit

First Friday fish fry

For the last Friday of Lent, the American Legion Post 26 is hosting a fish fry.

For $10, diners can choose from Southern fried fish or beer-battered fish and chips, served with coleslaw. The cantina will be open, selling beers for $3.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the hall, 2020 H St.

Reservations are requested by noon Friday by calling 324-9453.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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