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Escape everyday worries with art shows downtown

As we're all still processing life in a pandemic, leave it to the artists to create something beautiful as a result. The Bakersfield Art Association is featuring two artists who offer creative respites from the current day to day.

Julie Fleming, whose new work is on display at the Bakersfield Art Association's Art Center, said that creative pursuits are a refreshing escape.

"Any work of art, be it music, painting, or dance has a way of calming us and freeing us from life's trials even if just for a moment," she wrote in an email.

"Pandemic Paintings" is a collection of abstract paintings that vary from other work she has shown locally at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and Metro Galleries. Fleming is literally at home with the style, which she explores in her personal work, she said.

"Abstract work tends to center me for some reason," she wrote. "One would assume the opposite but I find it very freeing and relaxing. I like the challenge of balancing the weight of the colors and objects as well as the space they fill.

"This is just the first time I have had the courage to put them out there for the public to judge."

She names two pieces in the show — the watercolor "Splintered" and the bright blue acrylic piece "Tik Tok" — as her favorites.

"Both pieces draw me in and intrigue me."

She hopes audiences have a lot to take away from the collection.

"Each viewer will be impacted differently by the pieces, which is the beauty of abstract. I hope they make them smile and question at the same time."

"Pandemic Paintings" is on display at the art center, 1607 19th St.

The work can also be viewed on the BAA Facebook page ( and Instagram page (@bakersfieldartassociation). More information is also available on the BAA website (

Also on display this month is the collection "Let's Fly Away" by Norma Eaton at Dagny's Coffee Co.

Eaton said creating art during the confinement of the past year was saving her sanity. In gathering her work for the upcoming show, she realized how drawn she was to depicting birds.

Norma Eaton is the featured artist at Dagny‘s for February 2021.

During the past year of covid confinement, Norma Eaton found that creating art was saving her sanity. When she collected what she had for this show, titled "Let's Fly Away", she was surprised to see how many pieces were about birds.

"I wondered if I wasn't subconsciously working out a desire to 'fly away' from the confinement," Eaton said in the BAA newsletter.

Eaton describes her work as painted paper collage, accomplished by cutting shapes from paper painted with various colors and textures that is then glued to a surface.

Her work is on display at Dagny's, 1600 20th St., as well as the BAA's social media.

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