Expedition 34: Art, mostly

I started at the Richmond Art Center. It’s part of the Richmond Civic Center which was planned in part by Richard Neutra and later designed anew by Timothy Pflueger (Pacific Telephone building, Castro Theater, Pacfic Stock Exchange, 450 Sutter Street, with its majestic gilded lobby). The civic center is more Bauhaus than ornate and I love it. 

I peeked into various classrooms and took in several exhibits. It’s free to visit and I recommend it. The Center used to host a raku festival that my taiko group performed for. I don’t see any recent mentions of it though. 

Nearby is NIAD (Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development), an art center for developmentally disabled folks. It has a workshop, a store and an exhibit area. When I arrived, an art session was just ending and the place was full of enthusiastic artists. 

My favorite thing about “naive” art is just that; it’s never ironic or clever or tongue in cheek. It’s straightforward and honest and real. When it’s whimsical it’s enchanting. Who wouldn’t want a chair whose right arm (a little hard to see in the photo) can go around you while you sit with your affectionate plaid friend? 

Next I went to the Mom and Pop Art Shop in Point Richmond. There was some cool stuff and local art and jewelry mixed in (uneasily, I felt) with commercial items. I did like the paintings of local sights though. 

I hiked over the hill to get a photo at the Lookout Spot (so marked on Google maps). Then I visited the Wave Garden with its curvy paths and cool metal details which also overlooks San Pablo Bay. The garden is private but open to the public 24/7. There are no benches to hang out and enjoy the view but it’s definitely worth a visit. 

On the way back to my car, I found the cute little History Association building built in 1903 to supply the area with coal, wood, hay, and grain. It’s so tiny I don’t think there’s much to see inside but I enjoyed seeing the building. 

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