Believe it or not, no one may be more excited that Art After Dark is back in person than the Bakersfield Museum of Art staff themselves.
"We're so excited to be able to open our doors to this event that we love so much," said Rachel Magnus, museum curator.
Like so many events last year, the museum's premier after-hours art experience was put on hold, with some alternative events such as a podcast for the "The Bakersfield Sound: Roll Out the Red Carpet" exhibition in lieu of a concert and a small altares de familia event in place of the annual masquerade.
But with public gatherings back on the schedule, the museum can return to form, kicking off its sixth season of Art After Dark on Thursday.
Magnus said that although previous Art After Dark events have focused more on one exhibit, this one will be different.
"Because we haven't done one in so long, we'll pull inspiration from everything (on display). The intention is to attract a diverse audience, with something for everyone."
That includes highlighting the most recent opening, the temporary exhibition of work from 2021 graduates from Cal State Bakersfield's Department of Art and Art History.
On display through Saturday, the collection features eclectic works from 28 students. As an added component for Art After Dark, Magnus invited the artists to record a statement to accompany their piece.
Guests can scan a QR code by the works of artists who participated and it will bring up the 1- to 5-minute recording about the piece.
In addition to the recordings, many of the young artists will be attending the event, which will be preceded by a private reception for graduates, their guests and CSUB art faculty. Magnus said she anticipates they will be glad to discuss their work in person with attendees.
While most Art After Dark activities are taking place in the Tejon Sculpture Garden outside, attendees will be allowed inside in limited numbers (per current guidelines) to view the current exhibitions, which include "The Bakersfield Sound: Roll Out the Red Carpet," "Color + Figure: Paintings by Linda Christensen" and "Uncommon Perspective: Paintings by Art Sherwyn."
Putting the "sound" in that tribute to local country music history is Vince Galindo, who will perform at the event.
The country singer-songwriter, who performs locally as a solo act and with his band, Country Deluxe, took part in the podcast recorded last summer about the Bakersfield Sound exhibition with hosts Magnus and David Anderson and guests Jim Shaw, director of the Buck Owens Private Foundation; singer Jennifer Keel Faughn; and Robert Price, local journalist and author of "The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music."
"Vince has that connection to the Bakersfield Sound in the music and the style that he plays," Magnus said. "So much of Art After Dark is promoting other local creatives, whether they are restaurants making great cocktails or breweries. This event hits a few of those marks."
Speaking of cocktails, Nuestro Mexico will serve up two drinks highlighting brands from Wolf Spirits Distillery, as well as mocktails. Based in Eugene, Ore., the distillery was co-founded by local farmer Brian Kirchenmann, who is sponsoring this event along with Moneywise Wealth Management.
Kirchenmann first came on board with sponsoring spirits for Art After Dark in 2019, providing Tom of Finland Organic Vodka, which Wolf Spirits imports from the Nordic country, for its Pride event.
"If you have someone like Rachel, who is doing a phenomenal job (promoting the arts). I don't think we have enough people doing that in this town," Kirschenmann said.
"I'm a big proponent of supporting the arts in town that I happen to be in the spirits business goes hand in hand."
Wolf Spirits' Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka, which Kirschenmann said is smooth enough to sip, will be featured as will the distillery's latest import Bosscal Mezcal, which is made in Durango, Mexico.
Along with the cocktails (and mocktails), 2nd Phase Brewing will be serving two beers — R(oil)dale light ale and Black Out LIVE! hazy pale ale — and its Bako Roots hard seltzer, which has a peach sweet tea flavor.
Guests can also take part in a hands-on art project focused on form and repetition inspired by BMoA Permanent Collection sculptures "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by Frank Turner and "Birds In Flight" by James Lanier.
For more on the event, visit bmoa.org/artafterdark.