ARTMIX, the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s spring fundraiser, was just weeks away when the shutdown hit California. Even as restrictions eased in Kern County, it seemed unlikely that a large gathering would be possible, so museum staff did what they do best: Get creative.
The off-the-wall art sale, which is the hallmark of the event, is going online, starting Thursday and running through July 11. Along with a monthlong opportunity to purchase small works from local and regional artists, this ARTMIX will also partner with restaurants and businesses that were already in talks to participate in the fundraiser.
"We were in the final stretch of it before we closed March 17," Amy Smith, BMoA's executive director, said of preparing for the annual event originally planned for April 2. "We wanted to still be able to showcase the art, which is our mission."
More than 70 artists will be part of the sale featuring more than 130 pieces. The majority are local and some names will be familiar to museumgoers.
Curator Rachel Magnus said the sale will include a serigraph from artist Marion Cunningham, for whom the museum was named when it opened as The Cunningham Gallery. The piece was donated by BMoA board member Laurie Maclin and her husband, Bruce.
"The image is one of Cunningham’s most iconic featuring the San Francisco Cable Car, a city landmark that Cunningham played a vital role in saving during the Save the Cable Car Campaign in the 1940s," Magnus wrote in an email.
Magnus highlighted other contributors including Art Sherwyn, whose work is part of the museum's permanent collection; David Hines, whose work is in the current exhibit "One Night in California"; Natalie Arnoldi, who had a solo exhibit at BMoA last year; Linda Christensen, also featured in "One Night in California" as well as solo exhibit scheduled for 2021; photographer Felix Adamo, former Californian photojournalist who has taken part in multiple past BMoA exhibitions; Santa Barbara-based artist Pamela Panettoni, known for painting Bakersfield landmarks; and Yvonne Cavanagh, who had a BMoA solo exhibition at the museum in 2018.
The sale will also feature work from David Gordon, Marjorie Dow, Mark Engelien, Sara Hahn, Laura Mizrahi, Jorge Guillen, Elleta Abuliel and many more.
Kelly Wonderly is one of the artists who has multiple pieces in the sale.
Her painting "Poolside" was inspired by the work of Bay Area photographer Bob Price.
"I started the painting with no goal in mind other than to try out some new oil paints I had scored at a yard sale," Wonderly wrote in an email. "You never know when 'it' is going to happen. Intent is often a lesson in humility for an artist."
Taken with her other paintings — "Santa Barbara Mission Cemetery Wall," full of "textures, shadows and contrast"; and "Color Wheel," referring to the artist's tool Wonderly used to choose her "next layer of flowers and foliage" — the trio differs in style but is united by a theme.
Wonderly wrote, "As I look at the three paintings here in front of me, the first two seem moody, the floral scene is a little surreal. I think if it should be recognized that beauty isn't just in perfect, cheerful images but can be found in unexpected places."
The artist said she has tried to make good use of her time during the pandemic, both on her work and with her grandsons, who have completed science kits and made a geodesic dome out of cardboard for an upcoming family "open house."
"I actually enjoy almost any kind of 'making' so it's been a blast," she wrote.
Along with checking out other artists' work in the sale, Wonderly will be supporting some of the restaurants partnering with the museum for the event.
“We love these partnerships,” Smith said of working with the restaurants and businesses during the next few weeks. “Each one will have special selections or their regular menu. Restaurants will be highlighted one at a time. Dessert will be all month long.
“Each participating restaurant will be donating a portion back to the museum. It really depends on where they are financially.”
From Thursday through Sunday, order from Moo Creamery, from meals to family specials and ice cream and cocktails, and a portion of proceeds from the purchase will be donated. Check out Moo's Instagram page (@moocreamery) for the latest offers and dine-in, call for takeout or order online at moocreamery.com. If ordering online, mention the museum in the notes section.
From June 17 to 19, The Kitchen will donate a portion from its weekly gourmet meals when people mention the museum or ARTMIX. The menu has not been announced for next week's three-course dinner but The Kitchen will feature produce from Broadfork Acres as part of its ongoing commitment to work with local purveyors.
Dinners ($32 per person) are ordered in advance (by 5 p.m. the day before) and available for pickup or delivery (for an additional fee). Wine pairings are also available for purchase.
Check out The Kitchen's Facebook (facebook.com/thekitchenbakersfield) or Instagram (@thekitchen1317) for more details.
Those with a sweet tooth will have all month to enjoy a treat from LUVSPUN, which specializes in artisanal candy floss that is gluten-free and vegan. Customers can order a pack of four tubs ($25) with flavors rotating each week, announced on LUVSPUN's Instagram (@luvspunfloss).
This week's flavors were mango and pineapple. Previous weeks have included piña colada, strawberry margarita, peach bellini, mimosa, creamsicle, kiwi strawberry and cucumber jalapeño.
Order at luv-spun.com through July 11 and mention BMoA or ARTMIX for the donation to take effect.
Locale Farm to Table and Nuestro Mexico are also confirmed as restaurant partners but their featured dates have not been finalized.
All of the work will be available when the sale goes live and Smith said it's possible that more art would be made available if the current pieces all sell.
She said, "After we finish the happy dance — because when we were doing this as an off-the-wall sale not everything would sell — a lot of these artists will be willing to offer more.
" ... What a wonderful thing to happen. We could add some more if we need to. By then the museum might be open."
Smith said a museum task force has been hard at work developing their own four-phase reopening plan, which was updated with state guidelines announced last week. A tentative reopening date is set for July 1, with a sculpture garden tour in the works for June 20.
Rotary clubs, which use the museum as a meeting venue, along with other groups, are also anxious to get the green light. But Smith said they're making sure to have all "their ducks in a row" before reopening.
"I want to make sure we consider not only the safety of our visitors but the safety of our staff."
The online art sale launches at 8 a.m. Thursday on bmoa.org/artmix and will continue through July 11. Partnerships with restaurants and businesses will be announced on the museum's website and social media (facebook.com/thebmoa and @thebmoa on Instagram).