The Hub of Bakersfield has certainly been busy the past few weeks. It has artists hard at work in Old Town Kern, just named other artists selected for another project and announced an upcoming virtual historical happy hour.
History and a happy hour may not seem like a likely duo but it is when it concerns a passion project from the organization focused on revitalizing the city's urban core.
Currently the fate of the Southern Pacific Depot at Baker and Sumner streets in Old Town Kern seems up in the air. Owner Union Pacific, which is completing a more modern headquarters a quarter-mile down Sumner, appears poised to demolish the longstanding cluster of buildings.
Ward 2 Councilman Andrae Gonzales, who also serves as The Hub's chairman, has been leading the charge to preserve the depot.
Dating back to 1889, the station served as the first stop for many who immigrated to Kern County including Basque sheepherders and workers, who left a delicious local legacy still evident in our beloved Basque restaurants.
A Zoom happy hour set for Wednesday may help rally the community thanks to special guest Jean-Guy T. Dube. The architectural historian and award-winning draftsman will be able to offer further insight into the station's rich history and its design.
Cocktails are optional for enjoying the discussion at home — but might we suggest a locomojito? — that will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Find the link to the Zoom meeting at The Hub's website thehubofbakersfield.org (under "News").
The local nonprofit also announced this week the selection of artists who have been selected for its latest Cash for the Arts program.
Announced in February, the effort is focused on adding more art to Old Town Kern, east Bakersfield and Homaker Park, a neighborhood between Chester and Union avenues extending north from 34th Street.
Ten creatives will each beautify a utility box at one of the following intersections: Beale Avenue and East 19th Street, Monterey Street and Beale Avenue, Flower Street and Beale Avenue, Niles and Baker, Baker and Sumner streets, Bernard Street and Union Avenue, 34th Street and Memorial Hospital Drive, San Dimas and 34th Street, Q and 34th streets, and Jewett Avenue and 34th Street.
Each will receive $500 as well as $100 for paint and other supplies for their work, which is slated to be completed by April 16.
And speaking of artists, four local creatives are hard at work on "Paint the Void," another Hub project in Old Town Kern.
Jennifer Williams-Cordova, Nanette Bonilla, Mario Gonzalez and Juliana Gonzalez, who creates under the handle Createasea, are each responsible for a section of boarded-up windows along Baker Street that they are marking with own artistic stamp.