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Bakersfield Museum of Art

Day Trippin' with Mel

Seems to be the rainy season lately in our area, which means 'tis the season to do indoor things. So, one cloudy, cold, and wet day recently friend Leila and I decided to go down the hill to check out the current displays at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

It was well worth the trip as the exhibitions there are unique and varied, and thought-provoking. By the way, the drive down there was especially gorgeous with all the hills turning a vibrant green, thanks to all the rain, and it was sunny in the city.

The current offering at the Museum features three distinct exhibits in addition to the on-going Cunningham displays. They include Forms of Influence by David Ligare, Modern Women/Modern Vision, and Free Fall by Rochelle Botello.

Modern Women/Modern Vision features over 100 mostly black and white photographs by several different well-known female photographers with a wide range of subject matters; the display runs through May 4. Forms of Influence – featuring the many beautiful and detailed oil paintings of Ligare, also runs through May 4. Botello's Free Fall is a bright and colorful study in both free-standing and wall art, made mostly with paper, carboard, wood, glue, tape, and paint, and is up through September 7.

In addition to the standing art shows, the Museum offers a variety of special events and classes. One such event coming up is a photography panel, moderated by local photography professor Kristopher Stallworth, on Saturday, March 9 (1:00 pm to 2:00 pm), with talk inspired by the Modern Women/Modern Vision displays.

You can also meet the artist David Ligare on Saturday, April 20 (1:00 pm to 2:00 pm). Both events are free to members, $20 each for non-members ($10 for seniors and students).

Mel Makaw.

Wild Child, a Free Fall work of wall art by Rochelle Botello (paper, cardboard, wood and tape).

Located in the southwest corner of Central Park, between 19th and 21st on R Street – which is complete with picnic tables, restrooms and a community center, but separate from the museum – the Museum of Art also has its own peaceful and private garden in back, perfect for walking, reflecting, or for renting and celebrating such human milestones as birthdays and weddings. All along the paved pathway are flowers, bushes, fountains, trees and specially selected large outdoor sculptures.

The Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Sundays and Mondays and most major holidays). General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up and students, and children 5 and under are free. Memberships are also available (various levels and costs) and members can have unlimited access to the galleries' exhibitions free of charge, plus a number of other perks.

The Bakersfield Museum of Art is probably not on your regular beaten path whenever you're down that way, but it's easy enough to find and it's right in the revitalized Mill Creek area, now called the Bakersfield Arts District (also near some pretty fine antique stores and yummy eateries). To get there, take Highway 58 West to Bakersfield. Exit onto Union Avenue and head north (right) to 19th Street. Left (west) on 19th Street and then a right (north) on R will get you right to the entrance (the entrance is at 20th and R).

Note: When we were there, there was a lot of maintenance going on around Union at 19th, so we just went on to 21st and turned left, or west, which makes the park and Museum to your left when you get to R Street.

The museum and grounds are wheelchair accessible. No food or drink is allowed inside the galleries; no backpacks or large bags are allowed in the galleries either (you can check them in at the front desk).

© 2024 Mel Makaw. Mel is a local writer and photographer and avid day-tripper; she welcomes your comments, questions, and suggestions at [email protected]/.

Mel Makaw.

David Ligare's Forms of Influence.