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March’s Second Saturday

Maverique Style House mural

March’s Second Saturday saw new art exhibits throughout Midtown and Downtown Sacramento. Next month Folsom will start their Second Saturday for 2013 and join Roseville’s Third Saturday as alternative venues in Sacramento.

On a warm evening 20th Street between J and K had some activity, mainly anchored by patrons at LowBrau.

Kennedy Gallery made a move to the corner of L and 20th Streets some time in the last couple of months and that was my first stop of the evening

Midtown Second Saturday

Scheduled showings at the Kennedy Gallery Art Center included an "Abstractions Show" featuring the work of Michael Kennedy, Maleheh Bartolomeo and others.

On the bottom floor the work of John Huerta was on exhibit. Huerta’s art centers on Dia de los Muertos art. When I met Huerta he was excited about a project he had recently been commissioned for.

Some John Huerta art work in front of the Kennedy Gallery

Huerta shared some good news about Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Día de los Muertos.

Huerta made some friends at Sacramento’s Día de los Muertos and through those new acquaintances he was asked to become involved in LA’s Día de los Muertos in Hollywood. 

John Huerta’s art

Huerta spoke about how he became involved saying, “My friend Sylvia said she knew, through a good friend, one of the main organizers of the event. They want to see about me doing a poster to advertise the festival. So it’s a big honor and I’ll pretty much need to go over the details.”

Asking if he had anything in mind regarding the poster Huerta answered, “I’m going to think about it and see what kind of ideas, once I discuss it with her, come up and then I’ll go from there. I’m not sure when the event takes place if it will be on October 26 or November 1st and 2nd. In a couple of months we’ll find out more about the details. So I’m really excited about it.”

Midtown Second Saturday at 20th and K Streets

One of my favorite stops on the Second Saturday venue has been the Viewpoint Photography Art Center on J Street. 

The “Anasazi Project” was on exhibition at the main Viewpoint gallery. The work of husband-and-wife photographers Don Kirby and Joan Gentry was featured.

The Anasazi Project was a long-term photo exploration of Anasazi dwellings in the Four Corners region. The project resulted in a book published by Nazraeli Press in 2012. The magnificent photographs adorned the walls of Viewpoint’s main hall.

In the Step Up Gallery at Viewpoint the work of Jorge Santana was on exhibit. The exhibit "Cuba Today: Street Photography" was a much smaller exhibit and artist Santana was on-hand to talk to visitors. The photos shown were taken during a travel-study trip to Cuba in March of 2012.

Jorge Santana photo exhibit

Santana is a professor at Sac State and several of his students and friends joined Santana for an inside look at communist Cuba. Most of the photos were taken in the Cuban capital of Havana.

Having worked up a little thirst I made my way to Spanglish Arte to enjoy some sangria and view the artwork of artist Raul Mejia.

When I arrived the Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization had several youngsters dancing for a small crowd. Five dancers took turns entertaining the crowd in the front of Spanglish Arte. These dancers also danced on the back patio.

Folklórico Aztlan de Sacramento

Folklórico Aztlan de Sacramento
Folklórico Aztlan de Sacramento

Mejia’s art occupied the back patio along with a dj and a table that sold cupcakes for the event. The cupcake table was occupied by a student from Sac State representing the M.E.C.H.A. Club.

MECHA table at Spanglish Arte

I met Mejia by the front entrance of Spanglish Arte and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his exhibit.

Not having met Mejia before I asked him to give me a little background about himself. Mejia answered, “My name is Raul Mejia. I’m 33 years old, I’m a hardworking father, artists, student, musician employee etc., etc. I’m a man with of many skills and I still have a lot to learn, yeah so, I’m a student of life.”

Folklórico Aztlán de Sacramento
Folklórico Aztlán de Sacramento

When asked to describe the art he had hanging in the back patio Mejia answered, “Things fluctuate for me a lot of the time. I have a lot of fun with my art where I don’t necessarily have subjects. It’s more along the line of abstract or wild things but specifically for those pieces. They’re obviously catrinas but they’re done in a certain way and a certain style which is different from the typical catrinas which are very well done and executed. My style is a very simplistic style, where I keep the most needed line work without going above and beyond to where you beat it to death. I would call it a simply complex style.

Raúl Mejia’s art
Raúl Mejia’s art
Raúl Mejia’s art

Asked when he became interested in art Mejia replied, “Oh wow let’ see. Since I was a child I recall drawing everything from tigers to wolves to Ninja Turtles. It’s been in my life, my whole life.”

As an artist Mejia had a hard time saying who he would consider an artistic influence. After thinking about it he said, “Wow that’s always been kind of a tough one only because there’s many artists that I appreciate and like but there isn’t an exact artist that I completely emulate or find to be brilliant I find many of them to be amazing. I would say someone like Picasso with his simplified line works that he did and his cubism. I would say that a lot of that is like coming to fruition in my work, you know, a lot of the simplified lines.

Spanglish Arte’s owner Mari Arreola with artis Raul Mejia

As we were ending our conversation Mejia shared information about a new project. “I’m actually working out a new art show. I’m doing a collaborative with her (pointing to mutual friend Donelle O’Brien). We’re going to do a collaborative. It’s going to be called ‘Pushing Daisies.’ It’s kind of a feeling of death and also rebirth and we’re going to do it for an April or a spring show. It’s going to be very metaphorical."

As the evening drew to a close for March’s Second Saturday Art Walk visitors to Spanglish Arte slowly made their way out and I followed.

Last stop of the evening took me to Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen to listen to some music.

Entertainment at Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen

April’s Second Saturday usually brings more people to Midtown and Downtown. Sacramento News & Review, Sacramento Press, Sacramento 365 and other sites have helpful information on venues and artist exhibits. 

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