By Melissa Benton
By Melissa Benton
Crisp and uplifting jazz from Jim Palmer and the Jazz Norwegians fills the local bustling coffee shop, Back to the Grind.
Many sit around, enjoying the music and the local art surrounding them. It’s the first Thursday of the month in Riverside, meaning the night belongs to the Riverside Arts Walk.
The Arts Walk is a monthly gathering of 20 locations that open their doors for local artists to display their work. It consists of not only paintings and photography, but also music, poetry and activities.
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum had a wondrous display of quilts. The stories are the true culture with these beautiful quilts. Two quilts in particular, made by Margaret Wood, show the lives of her mother and father. They are proudly displayed side by side, and each one tells a unique story of life.
Another quilt on display was the Todd Family quilt, which told the story of a forbidden marriage between an African American man and a Caucasian woman in 1874. Each square after that was added on later, and shows the heritage of the family.
At the Division 9 Gallery South, Oscar Magallanes and Carlos Castro displayed their pieces of art. Magallanes had done all of his work on wood with spray paint. He said he had been doing wood work for the past 3 years, and found it to be a medium he enjoyed working with. This was not his first time in the Riverside Arts Walk, but he happily came back when his friend at the gallery asked him to display his work. Carlos Castro held the back of the gallery with his work.
His paintings were also on wood. Castro’s pieces all showed women, with their skeleton visible beneath their skin. He said it had been inspired by the Day of the Dead, but also showing the beauty of life with death.
At the California Riverside Ballet, the evening finished with a special performance of “Moon Dance” choreographed by Damien Diaz.
Diaz has been with the company for five years and has been dancing for 22 years. He has performed around the world, but enjoys his time at the California Riverside Ballet. “Moon Dance” was not only performed by Diaz, but also Alexandra Espana, Elisse Garcia, Kelly Callanan and Gianna Renella. The beautiful and unique dance was admired and applauded by the audience that saw it.
The community of Riverside has opened its arms to the Arts Walk and supported all the work done. Many of those participating feel the event is an excellent way to get the community involved and get children excited about the arts. “The Riverside Arts Walk is growing, it keeps getting better, it opens the door and gives inspiration to artists,” Castro said.
The Riverside Arts Walk is truly a celebration of life and art. Many artists love to be a part of this community event and see people of all ages out enjoying the same thing. The culture is powerful and the diversity is abundant. The Riverside Arts Walk is the first Thursday of the month from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Riverside.